As the world continues its efforts to overcome the coronavirus (COVID-19), state governments are adapting their contracting practices in subtle but important ways. Fortunately, state-issued Requests for Proposals (RFP) and other bidding opportunities are continuing.
These government contracts represent a valuable opportunity, especially given the high level of uncertainty in private-sector procurement. To maintain your business’s growth potential in the current environment, it is important to know exactly how state government contracts are reacting to the novel coronavirus.
New methods of delivery
For RFPs, the ongoing trend of digitization has turned into a full-fledged transformation. With government employees around the country working from home, offices that previously required in-person and physical materials are adapting rapidly.
This is good news for bid applicants! Physical package requirements can often be quite burdensome, both financially and environmentally. Multiple copies, individually labeled flash drives, and binding covers can add significant resource requirements to every bid. But now, more government contract bids than ever are accepting proposals via email or online portals.
However, while digital delivery methods are often simpler, it is critical you get your submission right. Ensure that you are following all directions when submitting your bid. Check to make sure the file is in the desired format. Ensure the filename is named using the bid-issuer’s desired convention. Verify that you are sending the bid to the correct contact, and if possible, request a confirmation that your proposal was received.
For online submission portals, it is often necessary to create an account before submitting. Make sure you have your organization’s core information readily available. This includes your tax ID number, mailing address, business designation, contact person, and other similar fields.
It’s important that you never wait until the last minute to submit your bid electronically if it can be avoided. Online portals sometimes crash due to increased demand right before a deadline. There may also be issues with your own connectivity, email or password. So, to avoid issues, it’s better to go ahead and send in your proposal as early in advance of the deadline as possible.
Most government procurement bids include some form of pre-proposal conference, question and answers period, or both. Many of them used to happen in-person and were mandatory for interested parties. Given the situation with COVID-19, these opportunities for engagement are all moving online. This allows you to participate in meetings with prospective new clients all around the country.
Additionally, these remote conferences represent an excellent opportunity to refine your understanding of the bid you are pursuing. They are also a great way to begin a relationship with the RFP evaluators, which can further help your proposal stand out. By asking at least one question in advance of your bid submission, you are introducing your business name into the consciousness of the bid offeror early in the process. A thoughtful question asked with an enthusiastic attitude will create a positive impression for your organization. This is your opportunity to convey your firm’s confidence, dedication, and competence, so make sure you are making the most of it!
More addenda than ever
Another significant change we are seeing in state-issued RFPs is an increased number of released addenda. When a bid-issuer needs to update their RFP, it can be because of a new deadline, answers to submitted questions, a refined scope of work, or more. These changes require an addenda to be released, so it is more important than ever to stay connected to the bids your company seeks to win.
If the RFP opportunity is posted on a portal, make sure you are checking that portal frequently for any updates. The same is true for state websites that list open procurement opportunities. It may be necessary to email the RFP’s contact person to express your interest as an applicant. That way, you will be on the list to receive any addenda that are released.
New digital components added to scopes of service
We are seeing significant increases in digital practices when it comes to proposal processes. The work of these state contracts themselves, are increasingly incorporating digital components into the services being contracted. For example, training that previously was scheduled to take place in person, now must be carried out online.
If you want to place your business in the best possible position, you will need to demonstrate your firm’s ability to excel in an increasingly digital environment. Invest in your business’s ability to complete tasks online. Whether it is through cloud-based storage, video-conferencing, interactive presentations, real-time tracking, and more.
In many instances, incorporating digital delivery of your service can be more efficient. Take the time to flesh out these plans fully, and be able to describe them in detail to your potential new government client. Prepare online demonstrations if possible, and make sure your team is fully trained on the digital tools you will be using and promoting.
State government contract opportunities are continuing
Understandably, it is a scary time for many business owners. No sector of the economy will be completely untouched by the coronavirus pandemic. However, here at The Bid Lab we are seeing a consistent stream of new business development opportunities. Especially when it comes to state government bids. Some of these opportunities are in direct response to COVID-19, while others represent services that are essential, regardless of an economic downturn.
In fact, state government contracts may represent your business’s most secure bridge over the current uncertainty, and into the future. At The Bid Lab, we help organizations on both sides of the proposal process manage every step along their bid journeys. If your organization wants to win government bids, but needs support in getting your proposal exactly right, contact us today for a complimentary consultation.