Federal Business Development – Capabilities Statement Edition

Just this week, I had three small businesses send me unsolicited emails marketing their firm’s respective services. All three emails also had a Capabilities Statement attached for reference.

As a current federal buyer and having consulted with many small businesses over the years in federal business development, allow me to provide some useful advice on marketing to the federal government.

I do not believe cold calling is useful, nor are unsolicited emails. It is nothing more than spam.

What is the value proposition?

Why am I talking to you or wanting to open your email?

Who are you again?

Nobody has time for this. I actually equate this to current spammers who call randomly and leave voicemails in Mandarin.

I would prefer the “warm call”, predicated on an existing relationship or interaction. Afterall, this is a relationship-based buying opportunity. You are not going to get anywhere just responding to everything on FedBizOpps. Spam emails don’t work either.

We met at a conference, workshop, or event. We discussed your current needs or issues, and how our services can solve your problem. I was referred to you by X, [who just happens to be a person I trust] who suggested I contact you…

Value proposition. Now I have a reason to continue this discussion.

Now the Capability Statement. All three Capability Statements I received where five pages.

It is great your firm has one, but I am not going to hunt for what you do in five pages.

One page only please. There are plenty of small business offices across the federal government that provide great advice on what a Capability Statement should look like, and what it should contain. My agency, the Department of Homeland Security has this information, as does Health and Human Services.

The important part of this Capability Statement is the value proposition. This should come from differentiators.

Why is your firm different than others?

What is it about your firm that would make me want to reach out to you?

Answer the main question; “So What?”

Make me want to talk to you and remind we why I should. There is just not enough time otherwise, especially in the busy fourth quarter of the fiscal year.

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