How Suppliers Can Help Government Buyers Become Subject Matter Experts

Aug 16, 2019
Bidsync Industry Blog

No one knows your business better than you do. Not even public sector procurement officials charged with buying goods or services like yours. They are buying on behalf of many internal customers, and on any given day they can be asked to source everything from PC monitors to park benches to parking lot structures. Though government procurement officials spend hours diligently conducting market research before issuing a solicitation or awarding a single contract, most never become subject matter experts on every purchase they make. They typically rely on their more technically-versed customers to guide them in the right direction, requesting a list of clearly-defined specifications to help them write RFPs and evaluate proposals.  Especially for the more specialized purchases.  

However, that is starting to change. As Tucson, Arizona’s director of procurement Marcheta Gillespie once noted in American City & County Magazine:  

“More and more, I find our client departments are relying upon us to be more ‘experts’ than ‘generalists’ in the more complex procurements. So, we must rise to that challenge and prepare our staff for those opportunities.”  

In other words, procurement officials are going to need industry “experts” to help them become technical experts themselves. That’s where suppliers can step up and show added value. Here’s how:  

One more thing: Don’t forget to articulate your expertise in your proposal. This is your opportunity to show that you know what you’re doing and, more importantly, that you know how to solve the customer’s problems. “Sell” your ability to deliver the outcomes that the customer desires. This will especially bode well with agencies that use “best value” evaluation factors more so than “lowest price” criteria.