Business owners who want to know how to get government contracts wonder what happens after registering at SAM.gov. The easiest answer is… Nothing.
How To Get Government Contracts, Starting with SAM
The System for Award Management, or SAM, is the system for federal government contracts. Any company that does business with the government must be registered at SAM.gov to get the work and get paid.
Once your company is successfully registered in SAM, you may wonder what is next. Not much –except to the extent you are proactive (see below).
SAM.gov registration does not guarantee or even promote contracts for your business. SAM is simply a registration system that puts your company in a database of vendors that federal agencies can use. That database, called the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS), is how you are found for contract opportunities by federal agencies. Other small contractors may learn about you through the DSBS as well, as indicated by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
It is important that the information in your SAM registration is thorough and accurate. That data, part of the SBA system, is the searchable information within the DSBS.
SAM registration, particularly since it results in your DSBS entry, is an essential first step to contracting with the government. However, it takes several more steps to succeed. Most successful government vendors are experts at marketing their company to agencies and understand how to leverage set-aside contracts to benefit their business.
Beyond SAM: How To Get Government Contracts For Small Business
Successful government vendors are skilled marketers who keep their company top of mind with government procurement officers.
When you want to know how to get federal government contracts, SAM registration is simply not enough. Important extra steps are as follows:
#1. Capability Statement
One of the simplest techniques is to send your capability statement to any procurement officer who has made a purchase in your business category. Procurement officers are very busy. Any efforts to make your company easier to find could be greatly rewarded.
#2. Contract Opportunities Search Tool (COST)
Another key next step is utilizing the COST tool, accessible on the official SAM.gov website. You can look up contracts by agency name. You can also search by keyword to bring up contracts that best suit your business service or product. You can filter the results in various ways. You can view these contracts even if you do NOT have an active account. However, your SAM registration will allow you to receive automated updates, put yourself on an Interested Vendors List related to potential contracts, and save your searches.
#4. SBA marketing tools
Use these systems to gather data and sharpen your marketing approach, per the SBA:
- Federal Procurement Data System — Any contracts that are worth $25,000 or more can be viewed here. You can see what contractors are working with which agencies.
- USASpending.gov– This portal ties awarded contracts to federal spending.
- Small business offices – After researching within the above two databases, the SBA says to reach out to the small business office at an agency that looks promising. Generally, there will be specific contracts available for small and disadvantaged businesses within their procurement forecast. You should be able to get that forecast from the small business office.
#5. Database search tool
The other technique common to successful vendors is advanced searching through the government procurement software to look for open contracts. This task can be difficult, with all the information stored in the government systems. Many business owners choose to purchase a cloud-based, enhanced-search tool to navigate the government databases. Select GCR Pro is the tool we offer. By having a great search tool to understand availability, your company can zero in on the best set-aside government contracts.
#6. Racial minorities, women, & the economically disadvantaged
Some government contracts are set aside exclusively for small businesses owned by racial minorities (8a), the economically disadvantaged (8a), women (8a and WOSB, also known as 8m), veterans (VOSB), and service-disabled veterans (SDVOSB). Contracts under these set-asides reduce competition and encourage small businesses. They represent a huge opportunity for businesses just starting with government contracts.
Select GCR is a consulting firm committed to helping small and medium-sized businesses achieve growth through government contracting. We identify the best path to success for each business. We assist in the completion of all necessary registrations and certifications. Our strategic involvement simplifies the overall process and allows business owners to focus on their core business activities.
We proudly maintain a first-time 97% approval rate for certifications and registrations submitted on behalf of our clients. At Select GCR, we go beyond filling out forms – we provide marketing assistance to position you for success. Contact us today to discover how our Government Procurement Advisors (GPAs) can help you.