Innovation and Government Contracts: How to Marry the Unlikely Pair

Innovation and Government Contracts- How to Marry the Unlikely Pair

By John DiPisa, Founder and CEO, Bid Desk Analytics –

Trying to sell new technology to schools and government offices is a little like trying to convince your 90-year-old grandmother to buy an annuity that matures in 20 years. It’s a tough pitch. You have to create a need where none seems to exist.

Take for example the innovative Beyond Ink pen, which is also a battery charger, USB drive and stylus. I have no connection to Beyond Ink, but I have worked with pen manufacturers for more than three decades and know that there are contract opportunities to supply millions of writing instruments to schools and state and local government offices every year.

What are the chances that a company like Beyond Ink could land one of those contracts?

Overcoming Contract Language Hurdles

Even without reviewing current bid opportunities, I can say with 99 percent certainty that the language in those contracts does not seek RFPs for a pen that is also a phone charger and a memory stick and a tool to use with touchscreen devices. The wording tends to be either generic (i.e, a pen with black ink) or name-brand specific (i.e., “BIC Round Stic Ballpoint Pens, Medium Point, 1.0 mm, Translucent Barrel, Black Ink.”).

Bid on a state, county or local public-funded contract without addressing its line-item specifications and your bid will be ignored. In the first example above, a bid for a blue, purple or green ink pen would be discarded. In the second, only BIC and its distributors have a shot at winning a contract.

How then do innovative or competing companies break into the lucrative game of government contracts?

Strategic Planning + Smart Analytics = Winning Bids

Back when schools, police departments, government offices (and, well everyone really) relied on film-loading cameras to take photos, Bid Desk Analytics was approached by a manufacturer of digital cameras. The company faced the same handicap then as Beyond Ink and other technology companies might today.

In order to give them a shot at winning contracts, we created a need where none seemed to exist. You can get the details in this case study.

So how did we do it?

At Bid Desk, we know 12 to 18 months in advance when an existing government contract will expire. We know the language used in the existing contract (and likely to be repeated in upcoming bid requests), and we know the winning price point.

In addition, we know how to make a bid request favorable to a client, whether it produces a school, office or janitorial product no one has heard about or a product similar to one named in a bid.

While we can’t help you sell your grandmother an annuity (and, really, should you?), if you want to win a share of the $1.5 billion public-funded contracts awarded annually to school and office suppliers, we have the data, analytics, strategies and best practices to optimize your opportunities.

Contact us to learn more.

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