INTRODUCTION — Since we’re all still waiting for the release of the biggest RFP of the year, this week’s INSIGHTs newsletter will discuss how you can accelerate development of your proposal, build your proposal library and train your staff for future GWACs, IDIQs and Task Orders. As always, send us your feedback and let us know if these ideas are helpful to you.
CIO-SP4 CURRENT STATUS — To no ones surprise, NITAAC extended the “expected” release date of CIO-SP4 — again. Now we’re left hoping that April 29 will be the day. Is it coincidence that the monthly CIO-SP3 Program Managers call is that same day? In next week’s newsletter we’ll either have a Final RFP to discuss, or another status update from our friends in Bethesda. Is someone taking bets on the release date?
GETTING A HEAD START — It’s often a dicey proposition when you’re left waiting for a big RFP to drop. Do I get started pre-RFP? How can I make the best use of my downtime between bids? Is any of my pre-RFP effort going to be wasted by the release of the Final? We all ask these questions.
The good news with CIO-SP4 is that unlike many bids, so much of the material you need to pull together is applicable to other GWACs (like the upcoming Polaris) as well as other single-award proposals. If you have available time and resources prior to release of the Final RFP, consider diving into these topics and taking advantage of the accelerators that are available to help you save time and money and increase your quality and Pwin%.
CORPORATE EXPERIENCE — In discussions with industry, NITAAC has made it clear that vendors will need to substantiate points claimed on the self-scoring sheet. You can do this by submitting FPDS reports, subcontracts and pages from the SOW that highlight the relevant performance. Start this process now. As we’ve discussed in previous issues of INSIGHTs, you might have 100 pieces of content to manage for this section alone. Get organized now and you’ll recover time to allocate toward reviews and compliance.
GOOD NEWS. All (or most) of your work collecting and substantiating corporate experience for CIO-SP4 will crosswalk to GSA Polaris as well as contribute to your proposal library. Polaris will require FDPS reports and copies of SOWs to substantiate points. Your proposal library also needs care and feeding. Building a detailed library of your corporate experience is always a valuable exercise that will pay off on future bids.
LABOR CATEGORY PRICING — NITAAC will be evaluating your Price Volume for reasonableness and balance. Your rates need to be competitive, not unrealistically high or low and demonstrate price realism and the ability to attract and retain a high-quality workforce. Offerors are also required to propose rates for ALL labor categories; 137 LCATS both contractor-site and government-site. This is a lot of work; even if you’re experienced bidding on large GWACs.
Our recommended approach to building your Cost Volume is to do both a top-down analysis of SP3 rates and a bottom-up build of direct salary rates from multiple sources. With this dual-approach, you’ll be armed with sufficient data to ensure your rates are competitive, realistic and have sufficient indirect cost and margin built-in to allow you to hire top talent and win task orders.
ACCELERATING PRICE VOLUME DEVELOPMENT. My team has performed this analysis and created an Accelerator that will help you complete your cost volume with confidence. Our CIO-SP4 Pricing Volume Accelerator contains 10 years of CIO-SP3 labor rate data from large businesses and small businesses as well as salary surveys from BLS, Salary.com and MODIS for all labor categories. Our accelerator worksheets show you both the bottom-up and top-down view, give you the tools to build competitive labor rates, model your indirect pools and and analyze FBLRs against large business and small business SP3 rates by year.
This product is an exceptional deliverable and will save your pricing team days of research and analysis work. Even if you’ve got your own pool of labor rate data for all 137 labor categories, this accelerator package will help you review your data with an independent 3rd party market view.
TECHNICAL AND MANAGEMENT SECTIONS — If you made it to the end of the Draft RFP, you will have noticed Section M.6 which specifically discourages the use of what NITAAC calls “commercially available proposal templates” – an interesting phrase to be sure.
If you don’t have available staff to write and review these sections and don’t want to hire external consultants, what options do you have?
How can you practically accelerate development of your narrative sections without violating this clause and submitting a proposal that reads like another vendor also wrote the same content?
How can you train new staff to write compelling and efficient management and technical sections?
Where can you find products that can stock your proposal library with solid content?
Where can you find standards-based discussions of current technologies and methodologies along with instructions and guides for completing these sections?
ACCELERATING DEVELOPMENT FOR MANAGEMENT AND TECHNICAL. In an attempt to answer these questions and provide a scalable, cost-effective solution to these proposal requests, my team developed Solution Accelerators for the Management Section and the Task Area 1 Technical Section. We haven’t written these sections for you; we haven’t included our own branding and colors in the documents; we haven’t locked the documents down or provided them in PDF format.
Both of these Accelerators are complete document packages with instructions, guides and content that give you and your proposal teams the tools you need to rapidly complete these sections in a manner that will be both compelling and compliant to the CIO-SP4 RFP instructions and won’t violate Section M.6.
This is the first series of Accelerators we hope to introduce to the GovCon market this year to help clients maximize their B&P budgets, train their staff and win more business without buying hundreds of consulting hours for these large procurements.
FedPipeline UPDATE — We’re closing in on a launch date for beta testing of our FedPipeline application. I’ll be discussing many of the new features in future issues of INSIGHTs. The short story is that we’ve ingested 55 million rows of procurement data from SAM.gov, beta.SAM.gov, and USAspending.gov and created a lightning fast application to not only search the data (lots of apps do this) but show you the data in context of the markets that you’re serving.
How do your customers put money on contract for the NAICS/PSC markets you’re in?
Who are the major SB and OTSB vendors in your markets?
What opportunities are on the street that match the contracts that you or your friends in industry have?
How can you quickly verify the contracts your prospective teaming partners have in each market?
What Small Business set-asides are expiring or are held by vendors who no longer qualify to bid them in re-competition?
These are just a few of the questions that FedPipeline can answer. We’re excited to bring this tool to market and provide our small business friends with insight into procurement data at a cost-effective price point from a firm with deep experience capturing GovCon contracts.
beta.FedPipeline.com — Let us know if you’d like to be part of the FedPipeline beta program; just shoot us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll get you early access to the application. You can also help us build a GovCon procurement search and reporting tool that delivers answers, insights and actionable data that will help you qualify pipeline opportunities; find partners and competitors and build a clear view of your markets from both industry and government perspectives.
I hope you enjoy these newsletters. Send me your thoughts, feedback and ideas for future issues and let us know how we can help you with Capture and Proposal support in both DOD and Civilian agencies.
In the words of King Solomon, “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
Wishing you all the best!