Proposer/Industry Days & Q&A

Why you should care about Proposer Days & Q&A

As we said in the RFP/RFQ class once the RFP/RFQ is live generally speaking you can not talk to the government, but for most RFPs/RFQs of any size there will be an opportunity to have structured, public communications with the government through Q&A and Proposer days. And this gives you the opportunity to:
1) See who else is at the proposer day to gauge the competition and scout for potential partners
2) Advertise your interest & capabilities to potential primes
3) Get insight into other companies’ bid strategy by seeing what they ask about
4) Take a final bite at influencing the government through your questions

How to find Q&A & proposer days

  • Proposer day: In the RFP there will be a section with information about the date, times and RSVP procedures for the proposer day
  • Q&A: In the RFP they should provide instructions for submitting questions. If you submit a question the answer will be published so all other prospective proposers will see your question and the government’s answer.

What you can ask in Q&A:

  • Theoretically you can ask anything. However, 99% of questions relate to ambiguous or conflicting pieces of the RFP. Most typically:
    • The evaluation criteria
    • The requirements for proposers
    • The work to be done
    • Other purchase process questions

How proposer days operate:

  • Content: There is no required format for a proposer day. However, typically it is an in=person event that is shared on a video-conference for remote vendors
  • Agenda:
    • The first half is typically a presentation from the contracting officer and sometimes the program officer where they effectively read their sections of the RFP
    • The second half is a forum to ask questions, which frequently devolves into vendors pitching themselves as a teammate to the room
    • Occasionally the government will organize breakouts for themselves and for prime contractors to meet one-on-one with Small Businesses

Getting the most out of Q&A in Proposer Days

  • Attend: Even if you aren’t sure whether you will respond to the RFP we recommend attending the proposer day. It’s a great way to meet potential teammates and to develop a richer understanding of the ecosystem around your customer. These events are free so RSVP so at the very least listen in
  • Participate: Some people think that by asking a question they are helping their competitors. If you work for one of the Mega primes you are probably correct, but if you work at a sub $100 million a year company then you are almost certainly wrong. Serious competitors already war-gamed out other approaches to the solution so you have much more to gain by improving your clarity and ability to communicate your plan then you have to lose by slightly tipping your hand

Rants and Reflections

My unscripted thoughts after coaching hundreds of small government contractors over the last 10 years

Other resources (Individual contract checks)

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List of further reading

Video Transcript(s):

Odds are that your first contract will be as a sub to another small business, so you need to find small businesses you could work with, and start building relationships with them.

And, FedScout makes this easy. Click on the partner button below and FedScout will show you all the small businesses in your industry that have won work at one of your selected sub-agencies.

And if you’ve uploaded your linkedin connections we'll do our best to identify people you know at each small business.

And like with customers, select the companies and the people that you want to target and we’ll add them to your relationship manager.