31 March 2021
Welcome to what I hope is the first installment in a series of newsletters. We hope to inform, educate and provide you with insight, opinions, tools and data that will help you grow your business. Please give us your feedback and topic suggestions as well as the tools and accelerators you need that would save you time and money and increase your PWin%.
In today’s issue of the newsletter, we’re focusing on CIO-SP4 and the issues and questions we’re all discussing leading up to the drop of the final RFP.
PREPARING FOR CIO-SP4 FINAL RFP DROP
1) Answers from NITAAC
In response to questions from a recent industry forum, NITAAC provided the following information; some of it new, much of it confirming what we’ve come to expect.
TECHNICAL. No written technical narratives will be required for Task Areas 2 – 10.
TEAMING. Small Business Offerors CAN use subcontractor past performance for points.
MULTIPLE POSITIONS. Small Businesses can submit offers as a CTA lead AND a CTA member.
CPA AUDITS. CPA’s and 3rd-party firms CAN audit and approve your accounting, estimating and earned-value management systems. Purchasing systems require Government audit and approval.
JV ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS. Only one JV member must have an approved accounting system. This is NOT required for all members of the JV.
CORP EXPERIENCE. Offerors should be prepared to provide documentation for each reference that substantiates the points; contract value and scope.
ELBs. Emerging Large Businesses are competing for contract awards in their own group; NOT against other Large Businesses (OTSB).
2) Existing Questions still exist regarding the specific teaming language and restrictions that will exist in the Final RFP. We fully expect that during their final review of the RFP, the Small Business Administration will ensure that Section L includes language that supports small businesses teaming to increase points through the use of subcontractor past performance.
3) FINAL RFP Release. We’re all still speculating on the exact date of the Final RFP. We’ve heard that it could be out this Friday, April 2. We also know that the SBA is doing their final review which could take 2 weeks or more; pushing the drop date into early to mid-April. How fast do you expect the bureaucratic machine to move? Should we start a betting pool?
4) Hybrid JV-Subk Teaming. Small businesses needing certifications should consider forming a Joint Venture with firm(s) that have the certs. Corporate Experience points can be scored using subcontractor past performance. This arrangement has the best of both worlds; high certification points from the JV members and corporate experience points from a team of subcontractors.
PREPARING FOR CIO-SP4 FINAL RFP DROP
Regardless of the final shape of the RFP, there are several things you can do now:
Complete your Draft Scoring Sheet. Your scoring sheet is your proposal roadmap for proposal development and teaming. If you need a score sheet that auto calculates, send me a note and I’ll share our copy with you.
Outline the Proposal. The Draft RFP contains the details you need to get started with your proposal. Outline each of the seven (7) sections and include the Section L instructions and Section M evaluation factors. Identify your weaknesses and start filling those gaps now. If you need a jump start, take a look at our complete set of outlines in our Proposal Management Package. You can use these to start your outlines, or use them to validate compliance.
Write the Management Section. This is an easy way to get a jump start on your proposal. The management requirements are well defined and probably won’t change very much from what’s written in the Draft RFP. If you need help, check out our Management Section Accelerator; 20+ pages of content + an annotated compliant outline that gives you all the concepts you need to complete this section.
Price Labor Categories. There are 137 labor categories in the Pricing Volume. Start building up those salary rates and look at published CIO-SP3 rates for comparison information. You’ll want to set-aside big blocks of dedicated time to get your labor category pricing as accurate as possible. Our CIO-SP4 Pricing Accelerator contains all 10 years of SP3 labor rate data as well as salary build-ups from multiple government and industry sources. Clients have told us that this package alone has saved them 2 weeks of work.
FINDING TEAMMATES and JV PARTNERS
Several clients have asked us for help finding JV partners, subcontractors and teammates. Our process for GWAC/IDIQ teaming starts with building a 1-2 page sell sheet that consolidates your market position, corporate capabilities, past performance summary and how you’ll market this vehicle and win business as a team leader (or support the winning of business as a subcontractor).
Once you’re armed with that sell sheet, you need to find possible teammates. Once you’ve contacted the companies you know and called all the referrals, how do you find additional companies with the market position and past performance you’re looking for? Our approach is to use FDPS data to find vendors of the right size and socioeconomic category who have prime contracts of the right size. When you let the data speak for itself, you can minimize questions and problems during proposal development.
MINING FPDS FOR ANSWERS. I won’t lie to you, this is not always as easy as it looks. FPDS EZSearch only takes you so far and the new reporting tools on beta.sam.gov are also intimidating. To help clients gain insights out of the millions of rows of available procurement data, my firm is in the process of finalizing a new tool — FedPipeline. More than just another GovWin/Govini/GovTribe, this application will be affordable, easy to use and provide market context for Vendors, Contracts and Opportunities. Stay tuned for more information in a future newsletter and on LinkedIn.
In the meantime, we’ve created a very cool set of Contract Opportunity Reports in Microsoft Excel with Pivot Tables that allow you to filter, sort and mine 5-years of contract data by Department to find teammates and opportunities very quickly. In these reports, you can find partners by type: Small Business, 8a, SDVOSB, WOSB; with minimum contract size at a particular agency, etc. Each row has a link to the contract record on USAspending.gov and Vendor registration pages are linked from our reports to SAM.gov so you can quickly find contact information and company profile data.
We’re very excited about FedPipeline, our Contract Opportunity Reports and the actionable insights they will provide clients large and small. The reports are being offered for sale as a low-cost annual subscription. Your price gets your this month’s report along with a new report each month with updated information. Discounts are offered with the purchase of 5 or more reports and a significant discount is available if you buy the bundle of 18 (15 executive departments + 3 military branches).
I’ve probably broken all the rules regarding readability, newsletter length, number of topics, etc. I hope this piece has been helpful and worth the read. Q1 has started 2021 off with a bang and we don’t see it slowing down until late this year.
Let us know how we can help and best of success with CIO-SP4, Polaris, FirstSource III and all the other contract opportunities you and your firm are pursuing this year.