If your company wants to get serious about increasing government sales and winning bids with the federal government, you’ll want to be familiar with the debriefing process. Debriefing is one of the most important ways you can gather critical intelligence that will help you win contracts. Here are the answers to the most common questions about debriefings for government contracting.
What is a debriefing?
A debriefing gives your company insight into an agency’s decision-making process when it comes to evaluating bid responses. You must request a debriefing within three days after the notice of award date to receive one. Make sure to include pointed, relevant questions about your proposal in your debriefing request. Contracting officers are obligated to answer these questions, which can give you greater insight into their decision-making process.
A debriefing may be given in-person or in writing within five days of your debriefing request. Depending on your contracting officer, your debriefing may meet the minimum requirement or go above and beyond what you requested. The FAR clause governing debriefings (FAR 15.506) states the minimum amount of information you will receive:
- The Government’s evaluation of the significant weaknesses or deficiencies in the offeror’s proposal;
- The overall evaluated cost or price (including unit prices) and technical rating, if applicable, of the successful offeror and the debriefed offeror, and past performance information on the debriefed offeror;
- The overall ranking of all offerors, when any ranking was developed by the agency during the source selection;
- A summary of rationale for award;
- For acquisitions of commercial items, the make and model of the item to be delivered by the successful offeror;
- Reasonable responses to relevant questions about whether source selection procedures contained in the solicitation, applicable regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed.
You may request a post-award debriefing whether you win or lose the bid; however, you may also request a pre-award debriefing within three days after notice of your company’s exclusion from the competition. You will receive less information than in a post-award debrief, but it is still critical information that will help you bolster future bids.
Why are debriefings important?
Debriefings are important not just in gathering intelligence for your government sales team, but they’re also an opportunity to market your company with a targeted agency.
The information gained from a debrief will help your team re-evaluate and understand how to write a bid with the agency in question. You should be prepared to look plainly at the debrief and retool your proposal writing process to better fit an agency’s needs. The debriefing, especially if given in person, is an excellent opportunity to market your company to an agency for future opportunities.
A debrief will also help your company position itself to successfully protest an award decision. The information – comparative rating of your pricing, technical ratings, and past performance with the awardee – will be invaluable when determining how you want to focus your protest.
Should you request a debriefing?
You should always request a debriefing! Debriefings for government contracting are one of the best ways to receive critical intelligence that will bolster your proposal writing process, prepare your team for a successful protest, and make connections with targeted agencies.
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