New Service Promises Help Winning Government Contracts

Onvia on Tuesday launched On Demand Reports: Winning Proposals, a new service for companies selling to the public sector.

The service provides access to detailed materials associated with a given solicitation, including all submitted proposals, the awarded bid, the final contract, and the agency’s scoring criteria.

Onvia “helps clients succeed in pursuing government contracts,” said Ben Vaught, director of Onvia for Government.

“We equip them with data and tools that cover the processes of searching and screening leads, then qualifying and pursuing opportunities, including integration to their systems and workflows,” he told CRM Buyer. “We also prepare them to plan ahead for future contracts and gain full visibility of market trends, agency profiles, buyer contacts, competitors and channel activity.”

The service “is beyond what’s readily available on the Web or without contacting a government agency directly,” Vaught said.

Clients using Onvia’s full range of products and services “have generated millions of dollars in new revenue and have achieved growth of 30 percent, 70 percent, and up to five to 10 times acceleration in sales to the public sector,” he noted.

The Winning Proposals service comes at two levels, priced at US$800 and $1,200 per RFP (request for proposal).

Service Highlights

Onvia’s Winning Proposals service performs the following actions:

  • Identifies agency contacts and best practices to ensure the highest potential for success;
  • Identifies relevant agency policies, initiates RFPs under the agency’s defined procedures;
  • Initiates FOIA requests to the targeted agency;
  • Follows up by phone and email in order to obtain the proposal materials and related documents;
  • Determines and properly describes materials needed to fulfill the request;
  • Drafts and submits appeals for redactions or denials;
  • conducts follow-up requests via email and phone; and
  • Collects and delivers materials related to the specific solicitation.

The process begins when a client contacts Onvia for a quote, Vaught said. The time frame depends on the individual government agency.

Companies can get this information on their own under the Freedom of Information Act, but the FOIA process can take five to 10 hours of work and average $400 per hour in legal fees. When Onvia initiates the FOIA request, it maintains clients’ anonymity, preventing any negative association among agency buyers.

Potential Client Gains

The Winning Proposals service makes it easier for companies to gain the following advantages:

  • Learn how competitors positioned themselves in the bidding process;
  • Learn what the grading scale of the agency they are approaching was for the bidding process;
  • Remain anonymous throughout the process, thus avoiding blowback; and
  • Revamp their strategy for the next round.

Onvia requests final documents after a contract award has been announced, Vaught said.

“The process of participation in government bids and RFPs is laden with complexity,” said Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“Many of the larger contractors have departments that can process winning bid information and dive into the scoring methodology, but for most small to mid-size companies, the process is a mystery to be unraveled,” she told CMR Buyer.

“This offering by Onvia will help SMBs compete and save them costs, resources, and time,” Zhou said.

Who Will Benefit

Onvia covers business to government (B2G) commerce activity “in more than 250 market segments rolled up into 12 main industry verticals,” Vaught said.

These include technology and telecom, architecture and engineering, construction, professional business services, transportation, education and healthcare.

Users are in sales, marketing, business development, and IT/business intelligence, Vaught said. They range from deal desk teams to executives and senior directors.

The B2G market spends about $2 trillion each year on contracts, he noted. Of that amount, $1.5 trillion comes from state, local and education government agencies, often referred to as “SLED.”

Another $500 billion comes from federal government agencies.

“The opportunity is tremendous, but the market’s fragmented and complex,” Vaught observed. “The most successful companies take a proactive approach to planning ahead, screening leads, pursuing opportunities, and fast-tracking processes.

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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