Subscribe to a Service that Provides Timely Business Intelligence
Companies can choose to collect and sort through upcoming government construction projects online or subscribe to a service that collects and organizes the data. Gathering competitive data yourself is time-consuming, and the results are often incomplete or irrelevant. Most business people can't spend hours every day digging for competitive information.
The good news is that some automated business information subscription services can regularly scan government procurement records and deliver new business intelligence customized to your company. The principal of an engineering firm that specializes in corrosion control relies on just such a service. His subscription includes both e-mail notifications about new engineering projects and access to a proprietary database of government procurement information. A search tool helps him uncover specific data through keywords and narrow down searches further with filtering options to access exactly what he needs.
To help him get an idea who his competition might be, he has the ability to download information such as planholder lists. He also relies on the service to pinpoint award data, so he can further investigate the competition. Award data tells him how much business a competitor has already won from an agency he might want to approach. Award data also allows his company to target contractors who may need engineering support. For example, his company may get in touch with the winner of a marine terminal contract in order to identify partnering or subcontracting opportunities.
By regularly and frequently accessing government business opportunities and market information this way, his company has been able to make more informed business decisions and has grown its government business revenue. He points out the value of the subscription service when he says, "We've won a couple of huge contracts this way, but the value is that these contracts are good for years."
Data subscription services make sense for small contractors, too. For a few dollars, on a quarterly basis, a small firm can find out what contracts have been awarded to five key competitors in the past six months.
Better "capture management" is another way that a data subscription can help any company's employees use their time more wisely. Knowing who won specific government contracts helps you avoid deals you didn't really have a chance to win, so you can focus on opportunities that are a good fit for your company.
Tracking your competitors is always worthwhile, though never easy. Doing it consistently takes effort and discipline, while online data services eliminate much of the drudgery and can pay for themselves with one or two contract awards. Think of quality competitive analysis as an investment that pays off in ensuring your business success - especially in uncertain times.
Irvine Alpert is executive vice president at Onvia (www.onvia.com), which helps construction industry businesses achieve a competitive advantage by delivering timely and actionable sales opportunities and information. He is the founder of Onvia Guide and leads business development efforts for the company. Previously, Alpert was CEO of ProjectGuides, a customized information service that delivered leads to the architecture engineering and construction (AEC) community.