Increasingly, I find myself drawn to marketing conversations about “must-win” government contracts. Part of what I love about those exchanges is the underlying belief that a company’s internal marketing team can be an effective partner in capturing new business. Pre-RFP opportunity marketing can strongly influence how government decision makers perceive your company.
Just as your BD/capture team is building customer relationships long before the solicitation is out, it’s crucial for marketing to help build awareness before and after the award. Here are seven things to help you position your organization for key contract wins:
- Align with Your Capture Team. First, marketing should meet with the BD, capture and proposal teams to gather information for your must-win contracts. Review the selection criteria, the schedule, contract locations, key decision makers, anticipated competitors, company differentiators and designated company spokespersons. Make sure you’re all in agreement about key messages and who can articulate those strengths and how to communicate the win themes.
- Set up Google Alerts. Google alerts are an easy, free way to track people, organizations, contracts and topics. At least weekly, monitor your alert results to see when your targeted government agency, contract and decision makers are in the news.
- Survey Your Customer. If you’re the incumbent, be sure to conduct a customer survey to uncover any issues while there’s still time to remedy them. Before the new solicitation is published, you have a window of time to connect with your customer. Schedule a set of phone interviews, if possible, to collect honest feedback from a few contacts to find out what’s working, what’s not and what’s next.
- Prepare and Promote Your Past Performance. Your organization’s previous experience will be important to government customers. Take time now to pull customer success stories from recent proposals and award nominations. Publish case studies on your blog and website. Promote them via social media, industry awards and industry speaking engagements to help associate your organization with core contract capabilities.
- Base Ads. If your must-win contract is run out of one military base, consider marketing locally. Advertising on local radio stations, transit systems or billboards can help you personalize the impressions you want to create in a targeted community. Bonus: if you win the contract and need to hire local personnel, you’ll already have inroads with local advertising outlets for your recruitment marketing.
- Thought Leader Articles and Blogs. Pitch, place and write contributed articles or blogs for online publications. Use an educational approach to showcase your organization’s thought leadership. Address trends or innovations that are important to your contract decision makers. Once published, be sure to post the articles and blogs on your LinkedIn page and promote them using social media.
- Engage on Social Media. To directly engage in the industry conversations surrounding the contract, make sure you’re following the government agency and its key personnel who are active on social media. When appropriate, “like,” share, retweet and comment on posts from the agency and leaders you’re tracking. Be sure to create and share content that’s relevant to the government agency, as well.
With thoughtful pre- and post-RFP campaigns, you can help to position your company as a must-have partner.
Have questions or need support? Please let us know. We’ve assisted many organizations with pre-RFP opportunity marketing and we’re always happy to help!