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Strengthen Your Bid By Selecting the Best Teaming Relationships

August 30, 2023 | Business Development, Government

In government contracting, one’s strength often stems from individual capability and the alliances developed. In bidding scenarios, particularly in defense, construction, and the IT world, teaming relationships can significantly enhance your offer to the government and your pipeline. In contrast, it can also break the chances of securing a contract and possibly ruin your reputation. The key to successful bids often lies in carefully selecting these teaming partnerships. Below, we are going to examine how to ensure you make the best choices when it comes to your teaming partners.

1. Vet Prospective Teaming Partners Thoroughly

The importance of conducting due diligence cannot be overstated. This process goes far beyond just skimming their SAM or DSBS profile:

Review Past Contracts: Examine the types of contracts they’ve won. How many? Have they won “one-off” contracts or multi-period contracts? Who were their customers? Do they have any contract vehicles? A history of successful contracts indicates reliability and competence.

Website Scrutiny: First impressions matter. Their website is a representation of their business. Does it reflect professionalism? Is it updated and informative? Do they have a page indicating their interest in doing business with the Federal government and their company info, such as UEI, CAGE Code, and contract vehicle numbers? Call the phone number on their website. Do you end up with a live person or, at the very least, a road map on how to leave a message with someone who could take a call from a government agency, or do you get trapped in phone tree hell?

Online Reputation: A company’s online presence can reveal much in the digital age. Google them. Are the results largely positive or plagued by controversies? This may sound obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. You should also make sure their SAM profile is active.

Remember, you’re not just seeking a partner; you’re seeking the right partner.

2. Engage in a Conversation

While hard facts are crucial, always appreciate the power of a direct conversation. Allocate at least 30 minutes to:

Discuss Their Work: Does their narrative align with the awards and recognitions they’ve received? Are they genuinely passionate about their work? Do they look like they have solid capabilities, or are they just trying to work as a middleman while having your company do all the heavy lifting?

Envision a Mutual Future: Ask them about their views on a successful teaming partnership. It’s not just about what they bring to the table but also what you do. If both parties don’t offer something valuable to the other, the partnership won’t be seen as advantageous on both sides. Also, loosely discuss your back office strengths and ask them what they do well to support their contracts.

Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. Your intuition, combined with facts, is a powerful tool. Would you be proud to put them in front of YOUR customer?

3. Establish a Robust Teaming Agreement

There needs to be more than just an agreement. It needs to be comprehensive and mutually beneficial:

Go Beyond Basic Commitments: It is common for successful government contractors to use weak teaming agreements as a means to enhance their proposals, but this practice can have negative consequences in the long term.

Define Clear Expectations: Incorporate metrics to ensure that your teaming partner holds up their end of the bargain. This includes how much work you will be given if the contract is awarded to your teaming partner. A vague agreement can lead to ambiguity and disputes later on. These expectations outline who would be responsible for specific back-office tasks. Waiting until the first contract is signed is too late.

Focus on Fairness: Both parties should feel like they are receiving a fair and mutually beneficial deal, which may not always be an equal division of assets. The total value of the deal should feel greater than the sum of its parts.

Finally, teaming relationships require trust, mutual respect, clear communication, and shared goals. By thoroughly vetting your potential partners, engaging in meaningful conversations, and ensuring a solid teaming agreement, you strengthen your bid and lay the foundation for a lasting and prosperous relationship. The most important thing to note is waiting until an RFP is released before performing these initiatives above is too late. Building strong teaming partnerships is one of the many tasks associated with the pre-acquisition activities that will ensure long-term success.


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MYTH: Companies cannot do business with the federal government if they aren’t connected politically to the party in power.

FACT: The federal government’s procurement process is designed to be one of the most objective, transparent processes in the world of business. Contracting officers are forbidden to award federal contracts based on politics. Furthermore, elected officials are forbidden to interfere with the agency’s contracting process.

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