8(a) Contracting: Pitch the Right Person
You have your SBA 8(a) certification and now you are eager to begin your business development and sales efforts–where should you begin to prospect for new contract opportunities?
Your goal is to find and gain access to federal employees with budget authority, often referred to as “program managers,” “section managers,” “functional area managers,” or similar titles. These are the individuals who can decide how federal dollars are spent.
You can talk to contract officers when seeking potential project opportunities; however, the main function of these contract officers is to administer contracts–in other words, ro take care of the legal paperwork. Contract officers might have the ear of the program managers, however, contract officers do not control budgets.
You need to determine who controls the budget at your target agency. For example, if you sell information technology services, you probably want to contact the agency’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) to begin. You might have to meet with several individuals at the OCIO before you find the right person who controls the appropriate budget for the type of services you sell.
Focus your sales and business development efforts on specific individuals who have the actual power to ferry contracts your way; this is the most efficient and cost-effective way to find 8(a) contracts.