Are You a Winner?: How to Measure a Win in the World of Government Contracting, Part I

You are a winner. You are driven. And now, you are sitting in front of your company issued laptop preparing to once again write the best government contract bid response ever while juggling a myriad of other tasks your job duties demand. This is the third time in a month you have dropped everything trying to assess what in the world the government truly desires for the bid document, nearly written in hieroglyphics yet it contains key words that have piqued your executive leaders’ interests. The leaders want the revenue for the company. You want your bonus for a job well done which could be reflected by a win. Everyone wants this to be easy. There is no easy in government contracting. A good place to start though, is by understanding what it means to win and having everyone at your company working on government wins on the same page regarding goals and metrics.

So here is the tough truth that needs to be delivered. Unless you have something that the government really wants which nobody else can deliver, you cannot expect a win rate of 100%. Even if you had the golden solution, which is the second cousin twice removed of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, there is still a network of politics and relationships leading to wins for companies not as good as yours. Since we have this hard fact out of the way, let’s talk real numbers.

The conversion rate is a percentage calculated by taking the total number of successful bids divided by the total number submitted and multiplying by 100. It is easy math in concept, but if you are only looking at this number, you are missing out on the bigger picture. It is only the starting point for measuring success.

There are three other things that should be factored into setting up win metrics: contract revenue to goal, level of effort to win, and a strategic match for your company. When balancing the various efforts of your company and revenue growth plans in general, you have to project the total revenue you seek from government contracts. Research is a topic for another day, but you should have someone focused on assessing government budgets and spending trends for current and upcoming years and estimating the total spend that might be a match for what your company does or could do. You will probably not get 100% of it, so an estimated reasonable percentage based on your capacity, competition, and differentiators needs to be established.

As you look at bidding, measure your year to date percent to goal, and make smart decisions about bids, focusing on those that meet your revenue needs and which your solution most closely matches. In Part II of “Are You a Winner?” you will learn more about how to measure the value of your time and whether an opportunity is a match for your company outside of revenue goals.