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First Annual MyGovWatch Buyer Survey Results May Surprise You


Koprince Law LLC

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This post was written by our friend and colleague, Nick Bernardo, president of MyGovWatch, a
bid notification and intelligence website offering a free trial to government contractors in more
than 200 industries.


Over the years, MyGovWatch has accumulated tens of thousands of buyer email addresses,
from Federal government buyers in the DC Beltway all the way down to the tiniest school
districts in the remote American hinterlands. In January, we decided to conduct our first-ever
survey among buyers to create a dataset to help our users and the govcon community, at large,
to better understand how buyers view certain aspects of the source selection process. (You can
download a copy by visiting this page and filling out the form.)


In broad strokes, the MyGovWatch survey was intended to shed light on the significance of
name recognition and incumbency during source selection in absolute terms. Will buyers still
pick you if they never heard of you before the bid process, or if you’re not an incumbent? To
what extent should you let these drive bid/no bid decisions? For example, we asked buyers:
How often are you involved in purchasing decisions where you had no awareness of the
company selected until the bid process started? (The data around these questions may shock
you!)


This is the crux of the MyGovWatch survey, with fascinating data points that have already
surprised a few who have accessed the full report as described below. (This post is intended as
a primer, offering a sneak preview of sorts by providing data in a couple of key areas while
letting people know how to get access to the full survey report in one of three ways.)


For our purposes here, the MyGovWatch survey asked buyers two things designed to let them
speak to the govcon community. These two questions encouraged respondents to give
suppliers advice and to disclose areas of emergent and hard-to-fill needs for which it’s not
always easy to find qualified suppliers. It’s important to note here the MyGovWatch survey
respondents were not solely Federal buyers; they comprised of state and local folks also.
The first of these questions was: What advice would you offer as a seasoned purchasing
professional to companies that would like to do business with government agencies?


The MyGovWatch survey asked this as an open-ended question by design, not wanting to limit
what might come back. What came back was varied. When studied closely and after removing
vague or ambiguous comments, the rest generally fell into seven categories, as follows.


Understand the Procurement & RFX Process

A clear majority of respondents (62.3%) gave simple advice: invest time in understanding the
buyer’s procurement rules and the RFX process (where “RFX” can mean RFP, RFQ, ITB, etc.).
Don’t simply show up for the bid process without any knowledge of how the process works or
what rules the buyer must follow. More than anything else, buyer frustration with the supplier
community around this idea appears to color much of how buyers perceive specific suppliers,
invariably leading to lower evaluation scores within an RFX process if the buyer views the
supplier’s understanding of procurement rules and processes as inadequate. This advice
therefore tops the list of what buyers encourage suppliers to know more about to foster greater
success.


Bid on Relevant RFXs
An astonishing 21% of respondents, or more than one in five, gave suppliers the straightforward
advice of simply identifying and bidding on relevant RFX opportunities. They did this in various
ways, mentioning identifying bids and knowing when and where bids are posted. One simply
commented suppliers should, “register on all government platforms,” not realizing that suppliers
would need to identify and monitor thousands of individual websites daily and weekly to do the
job a platform like MyGovWatch does for users – sending relevant RFX opportunities to each
user’s inbox daily.


Network with Government Buyers
A cohort of 11.5% of respondents gave suppliers the sage advice of networking with
government buyers as a means of growth in govcon. This tried-and-true approach undoubtedly
yields personal contact with buyers in way that fosters not only recognition of your company’s
name in any resulting RFX process, but also the inside scoop on what pain points motivate
buyers in a way that’s not always discernible in a statement of work. It’s no surprise many
respondents mentioned this piece of advice; however, it may surprise some that respondents
were nearly twice as likely to mention simply bidding on relevant RFXs than they were to
mention traditional networking with decision makers, who often have neither the time nor the
interest in networking with as many suppliers who would like to do the same if given the chance.


Everything Else
Between 1%-5% of respondents mentioned one or more of the following steps suppliers should
take to experience greater success in govcon markets.

 Price RFXs Competitively: Respondents pointed out suppliers should do more
research around pricing for their products or services in govcon markets to have greater
success. (Incidentally, you can obtain competitor and contract pricing information
through open records requests after RFX awards, whether on your own or through tools
available on MyGovWatch, to research pricing.)
 Publish Good Marketing Materials: A gaggle of respondents said suppliers could have
better success with better marketing materials, mentioning anything from websites to
capability statements, from proposal documents to handouts, as an additional focus
area.
 Research Competitors: A bunch of respondents said suppliers should spend more time
investigating who they are competing with (which can also be learned by completing
open records requests for copies of RFX winning proposals as described above, mainly
in state and local markets.)
 Take Advantage of Government Procurement Resources: A handful of respondents
encouraged suppliers to take advantage of resources government agencies themselves
offer to support supplier success. Notably, many Federal respondents mentioned APEX
Accelerator resources, which are geared toward small businesses pursuing Federal
buyers.
The second open-ended question the MyGovWatch survey asked buyers was: What are any
emerging or growing areas of need where it is difficult for purchasing professionals to identify
and contract with qualified vendors?
Many had nothing to offer related to this particular question and left it blank. However, among
those who did answer, buyers overwhelmingly mentioned technology in its myriad forms, mainly
citing ongoing needs for developers and software. One buyer wrote, “While it is not an emerging
or growing area of need, we’re finding it to be increasingly more difficult to hire software
specialists at competitive prices. Industry is starting to price out the government in a lot of
software-related fields.” There were a number of other notable fields where government buyers
feel they are underserved. To read about those, we encourage you to get access to the
MyGovWatch survey report in full.


How to Access the Full MyGovWatch Survey Report
Interested govcon suppliers may obtain a copy of survey results in one of three ways.

  1. MyGovWatch Trial: Start a free, 14-day trial at MyGovWatch and request a copy via
    chat on the website post sign up. You can get a copy by visiting this location and filling out
    the form. (Current MyGovWatch users need only request a copy via chat or to
    support@mygovwatch.com to obtain one.)
  2. SmallGovCon: If you are a subscriber to the email newsletter at www.smallgovcon.com,
    forward a copy of a recent issue to support@mygovwatch.com and you will receive a
    copy by reply.
  3. RSM Federal Book Pre-Release: Sign up to hear about the release of Michael
    Lejeune’s upcoming book, which will feature a chapter exploring survey results to
    include critical analysis, at this location, then email us from the same address to
    support@mygovwatch.com with subject line GovCon Survey Results Request.
    Media requests for a copy of the survey results should go to media@mygovwatch.com.
The post First Annual MyGovWatch Buyer Survey Results May Surprise You first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog.

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