Planning your bid team

The goal:

  • Understand what combination of companies you could collaborate with to give yourself the best ratio of:
    • Chances of winning
    • Maximizing work share (revenue) for yourself
  • Understand who should be the prime and which companies should be the subs
  • Get to a decision fast because the best companies get locked into bid teams early

What you are looking for in team mates

  1. Customer relationships: The professional and personal customer connections a potential teammate has. A rough hierarchy of relationship value:
    1. Relationships with the contracting or program officers on this acquisition
    2. Relationships with customer leadership
    3. Relationships with other stakeholders at the customer
  2. Customer knowledge: The depth and breath of experience at the customer. This could be experience working for the customer, or as a contractor to that customer.
  3. Certifications, qualifications & set-asides: Government solicitations frequently require that the prime have a set-aside or an accredited accounting system or a security clearance or a certain number of employees with a particular credential. If you don’t meet those requirements you will have to find someone who does
  4. Past performance: Most solicitations require examples of past similar projects. Depending on the volume and specificity of this requirement you may need to find someone with very niche experiences.
    1. Note: At the end of each contract the contractor should receive an evaluation from the government. The strength of this evaluation is an important factor in who to choose
  5. Alignment to evaluation criteria: If the government plans to select the cheapest bid team you don’t want to partner with a premium company.
  6. Technical capabilities: Companies with specific capabilities that you need to meet the work in the solicitation

Finding the right companies

  1. Make a list of all the hard criteria you can’t meet (e.g. certifications or past performance)
  2. Make a list of soft factors that would help you win (e.g. relationships, capabilities that would differentiate your bid team)
  3. Search for companies on tools like FedScout and
  4. Leverage your network

How your pool of potential partners changes

  1. When you identify a potential sales opportunity you should start building a list of potential teammates
  2. By the time the RFI comes out you generally want to have your team roughed out and have gotten tentative commitments from the other companies
  3. When the RFP comes out, ideally, you are just checking for major changes to the statement of work and hard evaluation criteria so that you can finalize your team
  4. If there were unexpected changes to the RFP you may need to make tweaks to the team
  5. The key is that you do NOT want to start building your team when the RFI comes out, and certainly not when the RFP comes out.