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GOVCON Research Tools Review (Podcast Transcript)

GOVCON Research Tools Review (Podcast Transcript)

gov sales government contacts sales to us government Aug 29, 2022

                         [01:14] Richard C. Howard: Hey, guys. Richard here with Richard C. Howard and associates.Thank you for listening to the government sales Momentum podcast. If that's what you're doing. If you're watching one of our videos on our website or on YouTube, again, thanks for downloading this and watching it. Today's episode, I am going to review some of the applications I use online to identify opportunities, FBI information on past sales, on past contracts, from looking for company information or just general spending for the government. Some of the top tools that I use every single day. Now some of these are free and some of these are paid for. And so this will be a good way for whether you're new or you've been doing this for a while. If you're trying to make a decision on either purchasing a low tier or high-end tool for finding opportunities, or if you are just new to finding any opportunity or information on any government purchasing, this is going to walk you through some of the things that you can do and some of the sites. The websites you can go to for free and find some of those and I'll give you my personal opinions on them and you can take them or leave them.

                         All right, starting off, I am in the video, you'll be looking at my computer screen right now and I'm on Now, and BetaSAM, they are where the government's going to list most solicitations for any opportunity that they're going to put on contract. You can find RFIs, you can find sources sought. You can find requests for proposals. You can see older requests for proposals. And if you're doing some research, I do think it's a bit clunky. This is where I go to verify opportunities, to be frank with you. So I'm going to use probably one of the tools that I pay for to find opportunities and I'll talk about it a little bit later where you can set up searches and it'll tell you hey, within your North American Industry Classification code or the keyword search that you put in, let's say it's Helpdesk services. I might get an email in the morning saying hey, Help desk opportunity and I'll go to that paid site and it will give me some information and if it's something I want to pursue, I'm always going to come back here to and verify. I consider the store stock for probably 90% of the solicitations that I'm looking at. So actually run by GSA, which everyone's not aware of. It has transitioned from an older platform, Fed BizOps, which some of you may be familiar with if you've been selling to the government for a while.

                         [03:54] Richard C. Howard: A lot of people are not happy with and betaSam. I think really they're working out a lot of the kinks. They have a lot of updates, at least in my perspective. They've had a few updates here over the past couple of years and it seems like every time they do that it just makes it a little bit harder to use initially. So you can find a lot of information in here, you can find information on companies, you can find information on upcoming opportunities, you can see all their solicitations, however a little bit clunky. So for me, I use it as a verification tool more than the tool I'm going to use to actually find opportunities. Now some other sites that I really love, this is actually one of my favorite sites and it is Now in USA, there are a lot of ways to search for past spending and what I love to do is I like to get a good idea of before I start any project with a client or I recommend any company actually go out and start selling to the government. I always say the first question is does the government buy what you sell? And this is the site that I use to answer that question. It's free site It's a government site. 

                         [05:02] Richard C. Howard: Again, it's only going to be as good as the information coming in here. Populating it. So I do want everyone to understand that I don't have the inside scoop on the analytics and the way that the software is put together for or But I do think there's some lag time, that's just my opinion. I think that both of these lag a little bit software wise. Now I know that reporting of spending lags because I was on that side of it in the government putting companies on contract. So I know you've got tons of agencies and offices that are putting companies on contract. They have to report all of that and that just trickles in over the years. So you could look up, hey, how much did the Air Force spent on radar projects over the past year? And that number could change. Or just Air Force spending in general, how much would the Air Force spend last year in 2020? And the time of recording now is July 2021. So I guarantee if you look at Air Force spending in 2020, which you'd think is all of those numbers have been reported, but if you look at that number today and I look at it next week, it's going to change, not dramatically, but this is more of a big picture tool, right? So I can look past three years, I can go back to 2018, I can search by keyword, I can search by NAE code if I want to. I'll just put in the keyword up here. I'll put in radar. Again, this is going to be extremely broad, probably pulling any solicitation that has radar and the keywords that it's tracking. But I can go in here and look at spending over time. So for instance, 2021, it's now showing 3.8 billion has been spent. I can look at geography. I can see kind of where in the country is doing the spending and it looks like Texas and Massachusetts according to this chart, which actually makes a lot of sense. But then here's what I really like is it will broadly give you the agencies that are spending. So probably no surprise. It's telling me the Department of Defense has spent most of that money since 2018 and it's telling me 29.5 billion at the time of this recording. So if you were a radar company and wondering if the government makes purchases in that type of technology, the clear answer is yes, there's a lot more detail that you need to know. But the clear broad answer is, broadly speaking, yes.

                         Now, I can also go to sub agency in USA spending and it's for instance, telling me, hey, the Navy spends more than the army. So this actually has Navy, army and Air Force in that order for the top three that are spending. So again, that's broad. It's not telling me if we were developing your contract strategy. What we'd want to know is, okay, who within the Navy is actually doing that spending? Is it? The Navy Research lab. Is it another organization within the Navy? Same with the army and the Air force. But broadly speaking, this is a great tool to say or to be able to tell yourself, hey, are they spending money in my category? And who's spending money in my category? So that is Now the next site that I use all the time is Now this Siber program, if you haven't heard of it, you can go check out some of my other videos and podcasts. Small Business Innovative Research Program big Picture is looking at funding small business technologies and helping to develop those so that the government can use them in various situations. Typically it has to have a commercial viability as well as a government viability. There's also the STTR program, which you want to think about the difference as SBIR could apply just to your business. But STTR, you would most likely have to be partnered with a nonprofit in order to go after some of that funding siber. STI, you can find these opportunities on Sam Gov. again. I think there's more information on this website. I think you can get a little bit more clarity. And so I would probably come here first if I was looking just for Sippers. But again, I'm always going to go back to and double check, hey, did the solicitation come out there? Sometimes will have something like an attachment that this doesn't. So there are a lot of different ways to search for opportunities.

                         Another thing is, once I did something, let's stick with radars, right? Let's say I find a Siber in here for radar technology development. Let's say it's a broad topic. I might look at and I also might go to we saw the Navy in USA spending, does a lot of radar spending. Let's say that this was a Navy Silver. I would also go to the Navy website, the sponsoring organization, to see if they have information. So there are a few different places you can go to. And just walking the dog on this. If you were looking for a Department of Defense SBAR or STTR, you might want to check out DSIP, the defense siber innovation portal. Now typically if you are submitting a siber for anything in the DOD, you're going to have to submit it through DCIP. And that might not always be the case, but my experience has been that it does. And what's also nice about DC, it's not just where you submit, but they have a lot of information on here on upcoming SBI's and STD. So I find that going to these different websites is they present the information in different ways and depending on what you're looking for, looking at a couple of them may make it a little bit more clear in your mind. So I always recommend looking at more than one site. You can get lost in something like just banging your head against the wall and then you go to DSIP and hey, like right there. First thing on the website it's telling me that I've got two topics that are open for an upcoming Army SBIR. So again, it flashes that and it's very specific. That's what this site is for, right? So those defense sippers. So this is another great site I highly recommend checking out and kind of working into your opportunity search if Civil and St TRS are for you.

                         Now let's go and talk about some of the paid sites that I use. First one I use is Govtribe. Now if you've done any Google searching for contract vehicles or upcoming opportunities. Govtribe probably has come up at some point and they kind of really in because they give you some freebie information on the first search or two and then they ask you to start paying. Dubtribe is not going to break the bank and Dubtribe does some things extremely well. One of the things they do well is actually I don't use them for opportunity ID, I use them for research. Right. So let's just go keep with the radar topic, right? I just typed in radar in the search block here at the top of Govtribe and it's going to come up with a lot of different things. It's going to come up everything from contract vehicles to awardees to federal grant opportunities. So you can search for opportunities in here. And it does have some different things to choose from. One of the things I like to do here is it's giving me the naked categories, the North American Industry Classification categories, right? So we looked broadly, if you remember, in USA Spending and I could have typed a NAICS code in there as well. But let's say that I picked a Naix code in Govtribes and this one is 33451 one. This is search, Detective. Navigation guidance for nautical systems and instrument manufacturing. Going through the top tab on Govtribe, I can see under this Naix code by year. This is a little bit similar to the way USA Spending presents the money. But what is a little bit different is I can look at IDIQ, okay, what types of IDIQ has this funding under that NAICS code came out on? Is it are any of them once I should be looking into how about GSA schedules. If it's telling me how much money in a naked code is coming out on GSA schedules, that can help me as a business owner make the decision on whether or not I even need a GSA contract. In this case, it's not a huge percentage of the total money spent coming out on GSA. This requires a little bit more research, but that's starting to make me think that I might not need a schedule in order to start selling onto this NAICS code and then it'll give me GWAX and BPAS if there's any listed here. Again, a lot more research needs to be done if you want to dig into that type of thing. But broadly speaking, it can tell me, hey, is GSA used? Are there any other schedules used? Are there any big IDIQs that are being used? How is the money being spent? And then I can come down and I can divide this out even further. I can split it by major agencies. So this is telling me that the Navy has done a lot of spending over the past three years, in fact, the majority of it. But I can also look at let's just go into the Navy here. I'm going to click on that what's nice here. Now it's breaking out the major companies that are actually where this money is being awarded. And I can also look at, hey, how is it competed? And so here it's telling me a lot of this, 53% not competed, 39% full and open competition. And then it'll go down into sub categories, not competed under staff or competed under SAP which is simplified acquisition procedures. What about set aside?

                         If you're a small business this might be something you're really interested in. For this particular category, not a lot of set aside used. So in fact you got to go down about it says 0% for women owned small business, .2% total small business. So this is a deplorable category if you're looking for a small business set aside. But it can give you that information and it can also tell you things like place of performance. So some great information can come out on govtribe and you'll type in other NAICS codes and you'll see that, hey, maybe in fact I'll go back down here because we saw what the navy set aside but what if we go into the army? So now if I type into the army and now I'm going to do the same thing, I'm going to go, okay, what types of set asides were used? Again, actually pretty reflective of what the navy had. To most of them there's no set aside used. I'm going to try this one more time and see if we can get a better set aside percentage. I'm trying it with the air force, no again but that tells me, hey, under this category you're probably looking at full and open competitions or sole source. You have a lot of larger companies that are competing and that kind of makes sense in the radar technology category. So the final system I'm going to review is GovWin IQ. It's going to be on the higher end price wise and as far as what they can deliver you. And what I love about GovWin IQ is now this is going to give me the levels of detail that I'm really after. So I saw broadly speaking in that radar category I could see that the navy spending a lot of money. I can see big picture, hey, is GSA used? What types of IDIQs and contract vehicles with govwin IQ? I can go in here, look at the same type of NAICS codes. I can look at spending really down into the detail. I can look at buying levels of organizations so I can go navy is it navy research lab which acquisitions offices specifically are making the purchases in there. I can look at what set asides are used. I can look at the names of the contracts that are used. So if there is a contract vehicle that's used over and over again, something that I could compete to be on, I can find that there. If there's category management I can look at those types of tiers I can look at we can segment it to also different locations, right? So if I just want to know, hey, under that radar development in Massachusetts only, who's the big spenders there for that? It might be a totally different answer, right? Instead of the Navy, it might be the Air Force and it might be Lifecycle Management Center c three in NN. Hanscom Air Force Base. It can give me a very detailed account of where that work is coming out of and hey, they use NASA Soup for these three projects. Okay, well that might mean that I want to look at the next on-boarding opportunity for NASA Soup. It gives you a lot more than that. You can set up basically notifications. So you get an email every day under searches that you've plugged in here. This is not the only system that does that. There are plenty of systems that are more affordable. Your PTAC can recommend you some free ones. But I like GovWin because it gives me those layers of information that I'm not going to get in a free service and in a lot of cases the paid services aren't going to give you that either. So again, there are others out here. This is just what I use. So I use all of these free to pay and I have multiple paid ones that I'm using, but these are the top sites that I'm in all the time. Well, that's a lot of information. I hope that helps. Feel free to check out some of the other podcasts also listed that kind of go over some.

                         [18:23] Richard C. Howard: Hope you enjoy the episode. Thank you again. Very much appreciated. If you're interested in selling products and services to the Department of Defense, I have something for you that you're not going to find anywhere else in the world. The team and I created a program that takes everything you need to win defense contracts and put it into one place. Up until now, only large defense companies and a small amount of people in the know have had access to how products and services are really sold to the Department of Defense. I've taken all of that information and put it in a step-by-step training module that shows you how to consistently sell to the US military. You join our membership, not only do you get the model, but you get weekly sessions with former DOD acquisitions officers for training guidance to answer your questions and a community of like minded business owners that want to partner on different opportunities to bid for subcontracting and teaming, or just to discuss general strategy on how to sell to the DoD. You have access to every course I've created, every coaching session I've ever recorded in every interview with an acquisitions professional that I've ever conducted. And we cover topics that range from defense sales planning and competitor analysis to SBIR and STTR foreign military sales. The list goes on. Go to if you are interested and I would love to see you in the membership.

If you enjoyed this episode, you can also check out Federal Sales Mindset where I dispel some myths that are out there and what you need to be looking at in order to properly set yourself up for government sales. Thanks.

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