As stated initially, it was never our intent to re-state the obvious where GSA OASIS is concerned; but to look at the “meta” picture for strategic advantage to our members on their submissions. Within this light, our meta-analysis justifies the following statement:
“The GSA (or should I say GSA Incorporated) is using the OASIS contract vehicle as an interview tool to create a virtual sales team for the vehicle. In essence, your firm is attempting to obtain one of 40 sales representative positions. When looked at from this perspective, it becomes much easier to anticipate and respond competitively to the RFP – as well as strategize on the context of the response.”
Remember, the GSA has a very unique business model within the federal gov’t, very akin to being a for-profit-organization. By virtue of the fees it collects and footprint of agency customers; the agency grades its success on revenue generation and profit just like a privately held firm. Thus, OASIS is essentially a means by which the GSA wishes to primarily win back market-share within DoD, which has eroded over the last 10 years or so.
Thus, if you think of the draft RFP in the context of a for-profit sales plan – it makes the utmost sense.
Now, as you are aware; a sales representative’s role is to contact customers and prospects, explain product benefits and features negotiate prices, and close the sale. After the sale, sales representatives aim to build relationships with customers so that they have the opportunity to secure future sales. In a small business, credibility in sales discussion is established primarily by virtue of industry recognized certifications and licenses.
The above definition being our baseline, the GSA is quite savvy in how it intends to mitigate the inherent risks while incentivizing the end-state sales pool. No cold-calling here; the GSA will use your past performance (and the agencies within which they were performed) as prologue for future sales. The key here is emphasis on Prime vs. Subcontractor performance. The GSA knows very well that it is the Prime that owns the relationship and most likely closed the business in the first place; and thus gives greater weight to it as opposed to the latter.
These are only a few expansions on the key variable measurements employed by GSA, but what should your interpretation of these signals be relative to your ultimate response to the end-state RFP? This shouldn’t be too difficult to discern: Focus on demonstrating your ability to bring categorically defined business to the contract vehicle by virtue of past successes, while highlighting revenue volumes, and service levels that say these agencies want you back.
Also, you will want to informally demonstrate your ability to see the importance of your role as a sales rep for the vehicle on par with winning these contracts for your own firm. Being good at what you do from a technical perspective does not come close to correlating you and your firm’s’ ability as a Sales Representatives – and the GSA knows this all too well from its experience with first generation “GSA Schedules.”
Regardless of what noise may be loudest right now, these guys are looking to increase their customer base and by extension greater revenue to justify investment in standing up this vehicle in the first place. Sounds like a for profit strategy to me; and you know what they say… if it walks like a duck…
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