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Two Cents on B2G Relationships: Brains are more important than good looks.

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Sunday, May 01, 2011
In this era of agencies doing more with less resulting in omnibus contracts and longer periods of performance, it's vital for companies to bring the substance rather than the superficial when competing for a spot on a winning team.

For anyone that's been around the industry for at least a year, this is not breaking news. This has been building for at least ten years but the reality of the situation seems to have caught many off guard. Shrinking budgets and greatly reduced numbers in the acquisition workforce make it tough for agencies to process and award requirements and even tougher to manage them after award. Companies caught dozing during their 'agency watch' will find themselves literally shut out of substantive opportunities for five years, possibly longer.

The need for companies to be smarter and have increased visibility with the customer is paramount, to say the least. Anyone believing their 'looks' (socioeconomic status and/or PR hype) will carry them onto a team often finds out in the end they were terribly mistaken. I learned years ago (and repeat it daily) that knowing your customer's customer is one way of being more appealing to prospective teaming partners. Let's face it, if all things are considered equal between two companies seeking a spot on a team and the primary difference is the relevant domain knowledge one has, who would you choose? Especially when it's viewed as likely playing a role in crafting a winning response, it's pretty much a no-brainer. This tends to be the case no matter if the company leading the effort is a small business, mid-sized or large business.

Having a related product, service or solution is typically a small piece of the teaming puzzle. Come to the table armed with a small business status and no customer knowledge or relationships will most often put you in the category of having little relevance and no value to offer.

Catching the attention and interest of a viable company in pursuit mode requires more than having a witty username on Twitter or retired government officials on your board. The ability to tell them something about the target customer related to culture, challenges, preferences, long range goals or similar, and being able to back up that information, demonstrates at a minimum you've been engaged in due diligence and could be a valued addition to their capture effort.

- The Chief Visionary

The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

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