Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Dan Callahan

For those readers who have an on-going (i.e., contractor) relationship with a federal agency, this is the time of year to be considering what kind of proposal you'd like to give your client in case there is any end-of-fiscal year funding that needs to be spent by September 31st; when I was a quota carrying sales guy, this was the only way I could buy Christmas gifts for my kids, without using the credit cards…(i.e., to close some deals in September).  Here are my initial thoughts on how to go about this, but some of you could improve on this list:


1.      Tie your proposal to an existing vehicle that is easy for the government to issue a P.O. or task order from; too much procurement paperwork on the 29th of September would make your proposal nonviable.

2.      Consider how to provide several options that adjust the price; as you know, the word could come down that "we have about $50K (or $150K or $2M)… left to spend… how much of your serviced or product could I get with this amount of money?"  The determining factor is 'how much money is left over'.


3.      Tie the value of your proposal to the overall mission of the agency (Sales 101) and even better, solve a chronic challenge that they're facing, as an agency.  This should not be fluff or "marketing buzz-word bingo"; really consider how your product or service deeply furthers the mission of the agency and articulate what will happen if they don't accept your proposal; what are the risks by not funding your recommendation and what are the benefits if they do?  I am often amazed at the price of "risk mitigation" for the federal government, especially the IC agencies.


4.      Talk it up with your key contacts over the next several months; Military Intelligence – What is changing?


Did anyone else notice the MG Flynn report, "Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan"?  (see: http://www.cnas.org/node/3924 ).


This may be a foreshadowing of things to come.  The intelligence fusion center is definitely morphing into a broader-based analysis center and will provide more of a internal military news service that helps US and allied combatants to understand the terrain, the culture, the local Afghanistan economy and micro-economies, the local and regional leadership structures, the motivations of the actors and all sorts of other directly impacting variables related to winning the war.  This is a real change and, so far as I can tell, comes out of the progress make in the human terrain disciplines born in the latter half of our Iraq engagement. 


As you read the report, consider how your company can deeply support the general's needs.  Don't restrict your thinking to Afghanistan or to the new Stability Operations Information Centers (SOICs) that are explicitly described in the report.  There may be support back here (i.e., stateside) that impacts the far-forward capabilities and are in-keeping with this important trend.  In my opinion, it's important to at least stay informed on these kind of important changes and even better if you can actively support them.   On behalf of my own clients, you can believe I’m calling into CENTCOM and ISAF HQ.