Helping businesses find, win and perform on government contracts • maineptac.org
Security Updates Coming for SAM.gov & Login.gov
Bryan Wallace, Senior Procurement Counselor

New security enhancements called “Identity Proofing”, are coming for entity administrators. The new features will be voluntary (and recommended) beginning May 24, 2021, and will become mandatory in fiscal year 2022. The identity proofing process will collect, validate, and verify information about a person.

Identity proofing is an added layer of security that protects you, your entity, and the government. Your entity registration contains sensitive information and verifying the identity of entity administrators will help ensure that entity data remains in the right hands. Early adopters of this voluntary feature will have the opportunity to provide feedback about the process.

Managed and run by login.gov, entity administrators will be asked to upload a photograph of their state-issued photo identification, provide their social security number, and provide a valid phone number. More details about how the process works and how data is secured can be found at, Login Security.

If May 24 sounds familiar, it is the same day that the current SAM.gov will merge with beta.SAM.gov, and the “beta” cease to exist. At that time all capabilities will be through SAM.gov.
What are Teaming Agreements and Why Are They Beneficial?
Miranda Pelkey, Procurement Counselor

For many small business owners who are interested in breaking into the government sector, teaming agreements can offer a competitive edge they might not possess on their own. There are multiple forms of teaming agreements that are utilized in government contracting, most notably; Prime/Subcontracting teams, Joint Venture teams, and Mentor-Protégé teams. Contractor teaming arrangements may be desirable from both a government and industry standpoint in order to enable the companies involved to complement each other’s unique capabilities.

Teaming agreements can also offer the government the best combination of performance, cost and delivery for the product or service being provided. Contractor team arrangements may be particularly appropriate in complex research and development acquisitions but may be useful in production acquisitions as well.

Each type of teaming agreement offers its own benefits and it is important to identify which type of team would be most beneficial for your business. Therefore, market research is a must prior to embarking on a teaming venture. Here at PTAC, our counselors can not only assist you in learning about the differences in teaming agreements but can help you with the research you need to gain insight into whether a teaming option will be beneficial for your business.
Using Beta.Sam.Gov
Morgan Rocheleau, Procurement Counselor
 
As the federal government continues to migrate the over 10 different government sites and resources to the beta.sam.gov website, don’t shy away from using it. This all-encompassing site has a lot to offer and is the most up-to-date location to get information about federal acquisition. Many of the features that the site currently has can be extremely helpful in growing your business’s place in the government marketplace.
Many of you might have used the site already to review or search for solicitations and the site is really great for that role, but there is much more that can be found there. Maybe you are looking to find subcontracting opportunities or teaming partners, you can use the search feature to identify contract awardees and gain those companies contact information. Maybe you are looking for federal assistance during these trying times, the “assistance listing” section has all the information on financial and non-financial assistance programs available. One of the more powerful tools on the website is the “Data Bank” as the site now has all the federal purchasing information from recent history available. You can access lots of information to do market research on the products or services you offer. This section offers what is called “Ad-Hoc Report” functionality, which is very powerful as it allows you to develop an understanding and network of who you can sell your products/service to in the federal marketplace.
The site offers many other features along with a wonderful “Learning Center” that can help you begin to better use the resources and tools available on the website, but your PTAC counselor would be happy to help you better utilize this website as well.
Find It, Win It, Keep It
Michael Ludwig, Business Development Specialist
 
Here’s some tips for doing business in the government marketplace. Your Maine PTAC Counselor can assist and our no-fee webinars provide much more detail.

FIND IT: Prepare, prepare, prepare. Determine what size job or contract works best for your business and if you want to search locally, nationally or regionally. The subcontracting market is huge and may be a better fit than dealing directly with the government. Consider your training, expertise and capacity. Become familiar with the best tools for your searches (Bid Match, SAM, DUNS, VSS, etc.). Get to know your competition and their strengths and weaknesses. Determine your ability to meet any requirements for equipment, payroll, IT Systems, insurance, etc.

Ask questions and get to know the decision makers. Networking is a powerful tool. Attend trade shows as well as networking, industry day and matchmaking events hosted by Maine PTAC. Get to know who the purchasing officers are and contact them directly. Let them know who you are and that you are reliable, capable and professional. Stay focused on what fits your business and respond promptly to any Requests for Information (RFI’s).

WIN IT: Now that you’ve identified an opportunity that’s right for your business, you have just one chance to submit your proposal. Allow time for delivery as there are no exceptions, even when your internet goes down just as you’re ready to hit the submit button.

Pay attention to suggestions, contractual requirements and formatting requirements. Include all required representations and certifications. A lack of past performance can be overcome as explained in most requests. Some allow for using relevant experience of your personnel or your success on a non-government project. Provide the detail precisely requested for price and cost – no less, no more.

Any attempts to negotiate typically means they like your proposal but not your price (if you get this far you are in pretty good shape). Be prepared to clarify, make adjustments or defend your numbers. Try to consider both sides. Finally, be patient and wait-out the awards process.

KEEP IT: Be responsive and acknowledge the reward promptly. Suggest a kick-off meeting to meet your customers and their incumbents. Establish the primary contacts, clarify the requirements and clear up any misconceptions. Allow enough time to obtain security credentials for building or facility access. Plan for the necessary hours, shifts, days, holidays, and locations. Know what's required for deliverables, when and in what format. It will be imperative to transfer inventories and work-in-progress accurately to maintain contract compliance. Review your performance regularly and seek feedback.

We offer webinars that dig into these topics, and your PTAC Counselor is available to help you with every step. Be persistent, adapt and make this part of your process.
Maine PTAC 40 Harlow Street, Bangor, Maine 04401 maineptac@emdc.org