The government continues to bundle contracts into larger vehicles, making it more essential than ever for businesses to have vetted teammates at the ready. Rarely can a company meet or exceed every requirement of a large multi-award contract on its own. Having a roster of quality teammates can mean the difference between winning regularly and not meeting the requirements to bid.
But teaming can also be a headache without the right process and due diligence. You don’t want to simply choose a teaming partner because your friend owns a company or because you saw a company name pop up on a Google search. Even great companies can make poor teaming partners if they cut corners.
When selecting teammates, focus on the needs of your customer. Look for a teaming partner with the ideal capabilities for your customer, rather than a partner with whom you have a great relationship. Remember, you must convince the government that your team is superior to win the contract, so your first step is to find partners who help you build the best team in the customer’s eyes.
When finalizing your teaming picks, carefully consider what issues should be addressed in your teaming agreement. Here are some of the questions to answer as you evaluate your teammate:
- Does the customer know, like, and prefer this company?
- What are the company’s capabilities as related to the identified gap in the scope of work coverage? How good of a fit is it?
- Does the company have the right expertise, personnel, facilities, equipment, and other necessary components to address this area of experience?
- What is the company’s reputation in the industry?
- What is the company’s small business status and how did they certify it (check the documentation if in doubt)?
- Specifically, does this contractor have a reputation of finishing quality work on schedule and within budget?
- Have you teamed with this company before, and how successful was your teaming arrangement?
- Does the company have any known Organizational Conflicts of Interest (OCI) or appearance of OCI for this procurement? The rules have changed and most OCI issues cannot be mitigated as they were in the past.
- Do they have any red flag issues, such as cure letters or terminations for default?
- Can we get good information on the company’s financial state, assets, and liabilities to assure us that this is a solvent and responsible partner? What does the Dunn & Bradstreet show? How about the company’s annual reports?
- Does the company have solid accounting and administrative mechanisms to be part of this contract?
- Does the company have any past or pending lawsuits against them?
- Is the company on the list of contractors excluded from federal procurement programs?
- Check all the required licenses, bonding and insurance documentation, and other necessary certifications.
- Can you work with this company’s corporate culture? Its management style?
- Can you deal effectively with this company’s designated personnel for this pursuit?
- Does this company play well with others, or does it prefer to do everything their own way?
- Does this company treat teammates well, or are they notorious for dirty tricks such as garnishing or eroding scope or reneging on the terms?
- What resources is this company willing to dedicate to position for and prepare the proposal?
- Would this be a competitor if they weren’t a partner? How dangerous could they be on their own or as part of another team?
- Would they use the knowledge gained on this pursuit against you in the future?
Carefully weigh your answers. The more preparation you do upfront, the better off you will be during the proposal process. If you start the vetting process early enough, you may be able to run your teammate choice by the customer.
OST Global Solutions is a professional business development consulting firm. We support our clients winning work through BD, capture, and proposal consulting. Reach out to us for support to discuss how we can help win your next contract.
OST Global Solutions is a professional business development consulting firm. We provide capture and proposal teams to develop a winning proposal. Or we can provide consultants on a case-by-case basis to fill gaps on your business development team. Our services consist of capture management, proposal management, orals coaching, proposal writing, graphics support, editing, desktop publishing, and cost volume development.
Reach out to us to discuss how we can help you develop a winning proposal.