Tuesday, September 23, 2014

B2G Content Helps Companies Stand Out

Why do you need content as part of your B2G marketing?

Because you need to stand out!

Regardless of whether you sell to the government or to government contractors, you need to stand above your competition to make the short list of preferred vendors. If there is little or nothing that differentiates you from the competition, you will be lost in a very big crowd, overlooked and left behind.

Many contractors often don't know where or how to differentiate and stand out. One of the most effective ways is to determine what your main product or service is (where you make the most money), study what is going on around that, and start commenting- producing content- on that topic. If you have other differentiators (unique processes,, stellar past performance, leading experts on staff, etc), you can leverage those as well.

The fastest growing companies in the government market are producing and sharing content on a regular schedule. 

Good content will help your company before, during and after the sames process. A Forester Research study found that 67% of the buying decision is made before a customer reached out to a vendor. You need to be a part of the research that buyer is doing.

A recent study by Market Connections, Inc found that Feds use content from trusted sources to follow hot topics and trends, get education and training, and to determine current best practices. Feds tend to prefer the contractors that share good content.

Smaller government contractors often feel at a disadvantage when it comes to generating content, not quite understanding where or how to start.

One way to start is to look at faster growing companies, a company like immixGroup (www.immixGroup.com) and see what kind of content they are sharing. immixGroup offers a variety of content: webinars, live events, white papers, blogs, enewsletters and more.

How You Can Start to Stand Out

Where to do start is the next question. LinkedIn groups are a great place to follow, comment on or start conversations, and to do research on what people are talking about. Trade publications and top blogs discuss pressing issues. 

Faster growing companies know what the issues are and share more pertinent content with customers and prospects. They provide the content as white papers, blogs, case studies, webinars, videos, enewsletters and more.

Successful contractors target their content to specific audiences in the decision making process: end-users, influencers, procurement and others. Each piece of content is germane to someone in the buying process, but the content itself is not "salesy" - it is educational. It points the customer toward a solution to a problem.

Here are some guidelines:

- you must be an active student of your market niche and understand the issues that concern the buyers and influencers;

- your content must have a strong point of view and offer possible solutions;

- your content needs to be delivered in multiple formats: blogs, white papers, webinars, case studies, enewsletters, etc. Select the format that allows you to deliver the content in the way(s) that your audience prefers;

- occasionally you will need to get the word out on a breaking story, and you'll need to get it out quickly. The best method for this is a blog;

- you need to develop relationships with market influencers and subject matter experts, those recognized by the market as thought leaders. There are ways to leverage their content to help your sales;

- you need to be very focused on a single topics when preparing most content. Don't migrate away from your main point;

- have key staff members review the content before sharing.

If you are interested in growing your business, regardless of whether you sell to the government or to the contracting community, you need to start develooping and sharing pertinent content.

Want to get started?  Attend-

What:   B2G Content Marketing Workshop

When:  8:00 am- noon, June 10, 2015

Where: Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship in Columbia, MD

Why: Because your company needs to develop effective but inexpensive content to drive traffic to your web site, build your network of legitimate prospects and generate quality leads.

How: register here - 


Saturday, September 20, 2014

LinkedIn Black Belt Workshop returns to Columbia MD Jan 15

If you are on LinkedIn, you are already marketing yourself and your company. The question is- are you engaging in good marketing or bad marketing?  

Regardless if you are a novice or experienced on LinkedIn, if you are tired of generic social media advice and want real-world, front-line tactics that work- attend this session.

October 16, 8:30- 11:30 am.

Three+ hours of information you can use immediately

LinkedIn has over 350 million members, over one-third in the U.S., and over 3 million members in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

- 7 million+ LinkedIn company profiles 
- 2,080,000+ groups on LinkedIn 
- 187 million monthly unique visitors in 2013
- 47 billion page views in 2013
- 5.7 billion searches on LinkedIn in 2012

Faster growing companies know how to use LinkedIn and other social media- you need to know more than they do!

Attend the LinkedIn Black Belt Workshop and you will learn how to

-      Design a strategy that fits your business goals
-      Develop deeper relationships with current clients
-      Develop relationships with prospects
-      Create a powerful LinkedIn profile that attracts targeted prospects and encourages people to connect with you
-      Find and connect with those who can help your business grow- prospects, partners, media and more
-      Select the groups that will pay dividends
-      Find and develop content to share in those groups
-      Get more recommendations and endorsements
-      Get on the radar of decision-makers who buy what you sell
-      Develop and defend a “subject matter expert” platform
-      Create a company profile that attracts business prospects
-      Start your own group
-      Gain visibility and credibility in your market niche
-      Q and A and much more!

The course fee is $195.00 and includes refreshments and the 100 page workbook.

January 15, 8:30- 11:30 am. You must register by noon on 1/14/14.

This session will be in at The Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045 (in the Latimer Room).

Marketing guru Kevin Young says:

Mark Amtower is a "mile wide and a mile deep" with his experience and expertise of "All Things LinkedIn" ...He has transformed from one of the first key LinkedIn adopters 10 years ago to one of the world's leading subject matter experts today in leveraging the capabilities and technologies of LinkedIn -- now the world's most important social media platform for businesses of all sizes and scopes … Mark's seminars on LinkedIn are entertaining, insightful and -- most important -- a key value differentiator for any business in any industry.

Questions? Call 301 854 9493  or email


The New Rules of Selling Products to the Government -Wed, March 25, 2015

Selling anything to the federal government has become more complex and more difficult in the era of reverse auctions, LPTA and FSSI.

The New Rules of Selling Products to the Government  will cut through the clutter and give you both the information you need and tactics you can use.

There is limited seating so reserve your seat TODAY by emailing Mark Amtower @ mark@FederalDirect.net.

Wed, March 25, 2015, 8:00 AM-4:00 PM - Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship in Columbia MD.

Featuring two industry icons, Larry Allen of Allen Federal - for 19 years president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, and Mark Amtower, founder of Amtower & Company and the Government Market Master Forum, this session will address 

- the new rules of product procurement, including the rollout of FSSI and how to be part of a winning team

- when (if ever) to use reverse auctions

- low-price, technically acceptable (LPTA) and how to influence the TA part of the equation

- preparing for when FSSI comes to your Schedule

- Simplified Acquisitions

- when, why and how to partner with a reseller

- what your web site really needs to attract federal buyers and get them to buy

- the best lead(list) sources

- SmartPay charge card update

- event and conference selection criteria

- association and special interest group involvement

- how to leverage social media for lead generation (including blogs, videos and podcasts)

- leveraging LinkedIn for account development

and much more.

Together Larry and Mark will provide information you can use - no platitudes, just information you can use to grow your business.

VP Sales, VP Marketing, VP Communications, VP BD, Sales managers

Speaker Information

Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal, former president of the Coalition for Government Procurement and widely recognized as a leading expert on government procurement, GSA issues and the government market. Larry is a member of the SEWP advisory panel (NASA SEWP V).

Mark Amtower, founding partner, Amtower & Company, founder & director, Government Market Master Forum. Amtower has advised hundreds of companies selling products to the government since starting Amtower & Company in 1985. Collectively his clients have made tens of billions of dollars.

March 25, 2015- 8:00 AM-4:00 PM - Teqcorner in McLean, VA

Seats are $595 until COB March 6; after that they go up to $695. Lunch, snacks and beverages will be provided. All attenders receive the 100+ page workbook.

We only have room for 30 attendees- so register today to guarantee your seat!

Advanced registration is required - Call 301 854 9493  or email

Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014- B2G Content Boot Camp

"Content" is a major buzzword these days, yet some do not distinguish between real content and sales material.

Whether you sell to the government, or to government contractors, good content, delivered to the right audience on a regular basis, helps you build a brand for your company and become top of mind. Being top of mind develops more qualified leads.

Small and medium size companies are struggling to stand out in the government market, to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Good content- content that delivers valuable information to potential customers, that is developed for and delivered to targeted audiences, can help you stand out to those you need to influence. 

Developing and sharing content does not have to bust your budget!

Content created properly and delivered through the right venues can

-          Help you persuade buyers and influencers
-          Make your company an information source for a particular product/service offering (yes, even products)
-          Develop the “top of mind” status that attracts both buyers and potential partners
-          Make your company a preferred source
-          And much more!

Content can take many forms, among them

-          Webinars and live events
-          Podcasts
-          Web radio
-          Media appearances
-          Video
-          Blogs
-          White papers
-          Ebooks
-          E-zines
-          Custom publications
-          And more.

You don’t need all of these, but you need to develop a platform that regularly delivers content to a defined audience if you wish to stand out and grow your business. 

And you don't need a big budget to develop a good content program.

The B2G Content Boot Camp will address these issues and more, including how to choose the format(s) best suited for you, how to create good content, then find the right venues to share it. The Boot Camp will include real-world examples and step-by-step processes to get started.

The B2G Content Boot Camp will feature expert advice on white papers, blogging, webinars, podcasts and more- each there to walk you through each step of content selection, creation and deployment. We will discuss developing content, finding other content to share, leveraging the content of partners and content delivery. Real-world examples and hands-on exercises throughout.

Among our experts:

-          Tom Temin, an industry icon, the Morning Drive co-host on Federal News Radio and formerGovernment Computer News editor. Tom is a white paper expert and ghost writer.
-          Mark Amtower, government marketing expert, author and blogger, radio host, columnist and LinkedIn guru.
-          Elizabeth Harr, "Visible Expert" and professional services marketing guru, Partner at Hinge Marketing.

We will accept only 30 attenders for the inaugural B2G Content Boot Camp.

VP Sales, VP Marketing, VP Communications, VP BD

This will be an all-day session at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045

Early Bird pricing is $595 for the day until Friday, November 21. then the price goes up to $695 – so reserve your seat today. Seats are selling now and we can only accept the first 30.

Registration fee includes a 100+ page workbook, beverages, snacks and pizza for a working lunch.

Contact me now to reserve your seat. markamtower@gmail.com or 301 854 9493

Details:  B2G Content Boot Camp,  

8:00am-4:30pm, Wednesday, December 3, 2014

at The Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045 (in the Latimer Room) 

Speakers: Mark Amtower, Elizabeth Harr, Tom Temin

We will cover

1) The case for content marketing

a. What content marketing Is Not

b. Content marketing Is

- educational

- cost efficient

- search engine friendly

c. Growth and profitability 

d. Why is content necessary for B2G? 

- visibility

- credibility

- winning business

e. How and when should content be used for B2G?

- primes and subs

- agency personnel

2) Strategy

a. Overview

b. Differentiation

c. Positioning

d. Key Messages

e. Goals

f. Research

- Link to sales goals

- audience interests, pain points

- FedBizOpps

g. Content strategy – themes and topics 

h. Content strategy – resources needed 

i. Content strategy – channels and frequency 

j. Content strategy - distribution considerations

k. Social listening – monitor for trending topics germane to what you do

- Respond to emerging or breaking news

3) Creating content

a. Content audit - What can be repurposed?

b. Content platforms

i. Deeper dive with examples (content calendar)

ii. Flow content (blogs, articles, short videos)

iii. Premium content (registration required for webinars, e-books)

c. Monitoring the competition’s content

d. the role of graphics/visuals 

4) Promoting content

a. Staff engagement

b. Social media

c. Guest blogging

d. Traditional PR and getting media coverage

5) Nurture and convert 

a. Offer strategy for other content

b. email marketing

6) Metrics

a. Timeline

b. Google Analytics

c. Shares and downloads

d. Leads and contracts

7) Finding outside help 

a. How do you find and select outside services

Friday, August 1, 2014

LinkedIn for Government Contractors - Feb 11, 2015

"The LinkedIn class was excellent and I learned a great deal." Federal marketing manager, SAS Institute

Are you a business leader, sales manager or small business owner who wants your sales, marketing and BD staff to-

• Grow their professional network of customer, prospects, and partners

• Connect with more decision makers through introductions and referrals

• Increase their visibility and value by sharing valuable information


Then LinkedIn for Government Contractors is what you need (and seating is limited)!

Who should attend? Everyone!

Email or call to register or to get more information. mark@federaldirect.net  301 854 9493
If you’re still on the social media sidelines, it is time to get into the game!

Who is on LinkedIn?

ALL Federal agencies;
ALL major government contractors;
ALL the people you need to know!

Do you need to grow and better manage a network of clients, prospects, partners, media and others in your market?

Do you need to generate qualified leads, do some great marketing and get some PR for your company without breaking the bank?

Rather than spend thousands on lead generation, marketing and PR with minimal results, why not invest a little time learning how to use the biggest and most valuable business network in the universe – LinkedIn!

This workshop is for those who sell to the government AND those who sell to government contractors.

You must register in advance to attend.

"Mark Amtower is a "mile wide and a mile deep" with his experience and expertise of "All Things LinkedIn" ...He has transformed from one of the first key LinkedIn adopters 10 years ago to one of the world's leading subject matter experts today in leveraging the capabilities and technologies of LinkedIn -- now the world's most important social media platform for businesses of all sizes and scopes … Mark's seminars on LinkedIn are entertaining, insightful and -- most important -- a key value differentiator for any business in any industry." Kevin P Young, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, FiberTek

This workshop is updated 4/x a year to stay current with the changes occurring on LinkedIn. Attend the LinkedIn for Government Contractors and you will learn how to

-       Design a LinkedIn strategy that fits your business goals

-       Create a powerful LinkedIn profile that attracts targeted prospects and encourages people to connect with you

-       Drive traffic to your company profile  

-       Find and connect with those who can help your business grow- prospects, partners, media and more

-       Select the groups that will pay major dividends for you

-       Find and develop content to share in those groups

-       Get more recommendations and endorsements

-       Get on the radar of decision-makers who buy what you sell

-       Develop and defend a “subject matter expert” platform

-       Create a company profile that attracts the right people

-       Start your own group

-       Stand out in your market niche

-       Q&A  and much more!

From the Association of Proposal Management Professionals National Capitol Chapter web site:

"His 2013 presentation before the APMP NCA Chapter, How Proposal and Capture Professionals Can Leverage LinkedIn, was our most popular event of the year."

Due to the constant changes on LinkedIn, the workbook and slides are updated before EVERY Session.

The investment is $295. You can register on GovEvents, but we'll contact you for payment.

The Government Market Master Forum offers continuing professional education for for professionals in the government contracting (GovCon) market. We offer course for sales, marketing and business development professionals a C-levels and small to mid-size contractors.

Our LinkedIn training is the best in the government market and it is a game-changer for those who attend our public sessions and for those that choose to bring our training in-house.

February 11, 2014 8:30am-noon: LinkedIn for Government Contractors - Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045

This workshop is updated 4/x a year to stay current with the changes occurring on LinkedIn. 

Due to the constant changes on LinkedIn, the workbook and slides are updated before EVERY Session.

Seating is limited at each venue. Seats are $295 per person. Group rates available.

Email or call to register or to get more information. mark@federaldirect.net  301 854 9493

You must register in advance.

Who should attend? Everyone!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Social Adopter, Adapter or A-Lister: where do you fit?

Six degrees of separation is rapidly shrinking.

Only twenty years ago, the launch of Netscape Navigator democratized the world wide web, which was often referred to as the "information super-highway". Navigator was a free browser that allowed anyone with an internet connection to look for anything that was available on the web. Admittedly, back then it was a lot less than today.

Service providers then started offering low-cost access to the new online communication tool - email. 

Younger people loved this stuff, especially college students who saw their peers developing and deploying these things. Now those students are professionals and executives themselves.

For those who were around back then, you may recall the resistance of company management to take this seriously, using this tool for business: email was going to be the biggest time waster ever, along with the "information super-highway", which was full of useless stuff. 

Only a very few B2G industry executives had the foresight to understand the value that would come to our market. Dendy Young, then CEO of Falcon MicroSystems, built the first e-commerce web site in the government market. He was also an advocate of email, stating in a keynote at one of my mid-1990s conferences that one day email would be an integral part of the government procurement process.

In Dendy Young we have the first B2G example of the internet trifecta: adopter, adapter then A-Lister. 

He adopted early, possibly in part because of Falcon's relationship to Apple, which meant Dendy more than most in DC had exposure to Silicon Valley.

He then adapted quickly, putting Falcon on the leading B2G edge of e-commerce.

He is an A-Lister because of his continuous appetite for learning and sharing information. 

Still, while Dendy forged ahead, most doubted. And waited. Email and company web sites did not catch on until later in the 1990s as a real business tool and it changed the way we do business. 

Then we faced the "irrational exuberance" of the dot-bomb era.

Eleven years ago social networks started popping up in a significant way, In May 2003 LinkedIn launched; in February 2004 Facebook followed. Others have come and gone.

LinkedIn, always my focus point, has 300 million members, over one-third in the US and about 2.5 million in the DC area.

There is absolutely no doubt that the migration to social networking platforms rivals any of the great human or animal migrations in history. Each hour, tens of thousands of business people and others are joining LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and other social networking platforms. Adoption of these platforms is ubiquitous.

But what happens then?

For many, little or nothing. Newton's First Law kicks in - a body at rest tends to stay at rest...

Why does little or nothing happen?

It is in part a herd mentality, and in part an assumption that your mere presence on a social networking platform will cause something to occur. 

During the past decade, as social networks have grown exponentially, the resistance to joining them has disappeared, but the actual use of them for business purposes for most companies still lags behind.

Research shows that companies that leverage social networks grow faster than those that don't; companies that develop social media strategies grow faster than those without a strategy; and that companies that train their personnel how to use social networks win more business as a result. Each of these three steps moves a company closer to those it needs to reach: buyers and influencers.

Six degrees of separation is shrinking as I write. Virtually everyone is now connected to at least one social network, probably more, so reaching out to anyone has become easier.

For those leveraging social media as a business tool and doing a good job of it, the results are palpable. For those waiting on the sidelines, well, keep waiting or give me a call. I train companies like yours.

I am not certain what the next big tech shift will be, but it will not replace social networks. 

Maybe it's time to call Dendy...

*I do coach companies and individuals on all aspects of LinkedIn. Drop me a line for details- mark@federaldirect.net 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Gatekeeper or Guide? The Role of Executive Assistants

Executive assistants (EAs) are often viewed as obstacles, gatekeepers whose sole job is to keep you from getting through to the executive who can lead you to untold riches.

I have known many EAs over the years and these people can be your best friend and guide when you treat them with the respect they deserve. Treat them poorly at your own risk.

Having said that, I started to do some research on EAs and found that JD Kathuria of WashingtonExec had already laid the groundwork by starting a WashingtonExec Assistant group on LinkedIn. He put me in touch with them and the following is advice, directly from them, no editing, the straight, unadulterated advice. Only the names are changed to protect the...

Pay Attention to it.

Having come from a sales background, I am sensitive to the role of telemarketers and salespeople and I actually do try to help.  I try to learn more about what it is that the person is trying to sell or what their goal is so that I can point them in the right direction.  By the same token, coming from a sales background, I’m also a little peeved that I’m doing the salesperson’s footwork for them.  Because that’s not how I did business back in the day.  Back in the day, I took the time to qualify all of my leads and targets and did extensive investigation to learn exactly who my target was within a company.  

Sales 101 tells you to get to the decision maker.  It is completely inaccurate to assume that the CEO is the decision maker.  The CEO has direct reports that get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to make most of the decisions salespeople think the CEO makes.  If the CEO sat around mulling over our long distance phone service, leases  on copiers and printers and optimization software, he’d never get anything done.  

In my 25 years of doing this, NEVER has the CEO gone to our SVP of Biz Dev and suggested a personality evaluation tool and training program for our sales people.  Never has he made a suggestion on switching to a new health plan after a call with a telemarketer.  It’s the other way around.  It is the job of his direct reports to be on the lookout for ways to save the company money, to fully investigate a new plan or tool, to meet with the representing company and to then decide if it is something that deems the attention of the CEO. 

So, the answer is, you never start with the CEO.  And trust me, we EAs don’t just shut people down that call the CEO’s office.  At least not initially.  Sometimes, we will actually politely jot a message down and give it to the CEO.  It is always immediately rejected.  It is rejected for the reasons I stated above.  All of what people are trying to sell to a CEO are typically not even within his level of expertise or in the realm of his knowledge.  The quickest way to get your product ignored is to try to show it to someone that doesn’t have the first idea or the time or patience to even realize how the product might help them.  That’s where CIOs, CTOs, CMOs, Chief Talent Officers, CAOs and so on come into play.

But, if you insist on calling the CEO’s office – or even the receptionist’s desk, or anyone for that matter, pretend you are calling your neighbor.  Let’s think about this.  Let’s say you just saw an infomercial on a great grill cleaning product and you wanted to tell your buddy next door about it because the two of you really dig cooking out on the grill and sharing ideas.  When you call next door and the wife answers, would you just dismiss her and say, “Lemme talk to Joe”?  No!  You’d be polite to her and after some cursory niceties, you’d probably then say, “Hey Mary, I just saw this great commercial about a product you just spray on the grill and with two swipes of this nifty sponge, the thing is clean.  I thought Joe would like it and I want to tell him about it.”  Now, that’s assuming you have manners. 

Manners are important.  But here’s what we EAs get on a regular basis.  Every single time.  Every guy I’ve worked for.  These are the calls I get from strangers:

“Yeah, lemme talk to Fred.”
“Is Fred around?”

Calls from people who know Fred:

“Joan, this is John Smith from ABC Corp.  Fred and I met recently at the Titans breakfast and we both agreed to try to get together for lunch.”

“Joan, this is Chuck Walsh.  Fred and I attended Darden together and I was hoping to get a few minutes to chat with him about…..”

Advice to cold-callers – LISTEN to the name of the person who just answered the phone and use it.  If they didn’t give their name, introduce yourself and then ask their name.  Then state your business.  If you are trying to sell something, understand that you should not be starting with the CEO.  So now you are starting with the EA to the CEO, an incredibly busy person, and you are about to ask them for their help.  Be respectful.  And when I say be respectful, I mean respect the fact that they have been hired in the role they are in because they are smart enough to help the top guy run the company.  So take the time to actually tell them about what it is you are trying to sell!  Callers seem to dismiss the fact that we have brains!  Sell me on your stuff and I’ll know where to point you.  How refreshing to have someone actually say, “Joan, I know starting with your boss isn’t the right starting point but I’m hoping once I tell you about my product that you’ll know who I should speak to.” 

Also, why should it be a one-shot deal?  Whatever happened to relationship building?  There’s a guy, Dave C., who has called the various offices of execs I have worked for my entire career as an EA supporting CEOs.  The guy doesn’t call with that fast, dismissive “I’m more important than you so put me through to your boss” tone.  He’s in wealth management and it just so happens, he dings all the CEOs I’ve worked for.  By the time I got to CEO #3 and he called, I was like, “Dave – it’s Joan.”  It’s been 20 years and I’ll still take Dave’s call and I’ve even arranged for him to meet with one of my CEOs because he and I built a relationship.  Bosses will meet with people their EA asks them to.  I’ve literally said, “As a professional favor, would you meet with this guy?” 

Salespeople think they are supposed to throw the hook in and pull out a fish.  Fishermen know that never happens.  They toss the hook in and they wait.  They toss it again and they wait.  They get a snack and they wait.  They pop open a beer and they wait.  And eventually, they get their fish.  And, sometimes they don’t and they move on to another fishing hole.  How is business any different?

Know this:

If you never introduce yourself to us but you keep calling in hopes of catching our boss, we still remember your voice.

Don’t ask us if we know where our CEO is.  Of course we know.  That’s none of your business.  To this question, you will get the curt answer, “Yes.”  Can I tell you?  “No.”

People who the CEO doesn’t want to speak to act like they know him.  Please don’t be the same and say, “That’s OK, I’ll call him on his cell.”  No you won’t.  I know your voice or I know everyone that calls that has business with him and they never say, “I’ll call him on his cell.”  For what it’s worth, I used to use this one too back in 1991.

The other oldie, “I’m about to run into a meeting myself.  I’ll try him later.” 

Just be honest.  State your name, your company, what your company does, what you’d like the person on the other line to help you with.  It’s that simple.  Don’t lie.  Be honest and respectful.  It is refreshing and you’ll have good results.  If the assistant pointed you in the direction of the CTO and you haven’t gotten anywhere, call that same assistant back and say, “Joan, hello, it’s John Smith again, from ABC Corp.  You might recall we spoke the other day and you were so kind as to direct me to your CTO.  I’m not having any luck connecting.  Do you know of anyone else in his org that might take my call so I can try to tell your company a little bit more about what we offer?”  No, not everyone is helpful but some people are.  From there, you try the same thing with the receptionist, back in the day, I even called the guy in the mailroom!  I got traction!  Different fishing holes!

OK, there you have it.  A tome of information. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

May 5 2014 Deadline: Chief Acquisition Officers Council Opens a procurement Dialogue- Join In!

Offer your thoughts by May 5, 2014  at  http://cxo.dialogue.cao.gov/ 

Direct from the CAOC web site:

The Chief Acquisition Officers Council, in coordination with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, the Chief Information Officers Council, and the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), is conducting a national dialogue to discuss burdens and barriers associated with the federal acquisition process and ways to address them.  This dialogue is part an effort to improve the economy and efficiency of the federal acquisition system by identifying impactful steps that can be taken to make it easier for agencies to do business with the best companies and enter into contracts that allow these companies to provide their best solutions for the taxpayer.
We are anxious to hear from you.  In order to engage in the Open Dialogue, you will need to register as a participant.
To Register, enter your email address in the indicated box on the landing screen.  The Open Dialogue is anonymous, but you must enter your email address to register for the software to enforce its own processing rules.  Your email address is converted to an algorithmically determined identifier by the software and your email address is discarded.
Once you are Logged In or Registered, you may proceed directly to the Tab which best describes your desired action:  Submit a Comment, Browse the Comments (which also allows youto comment on existing Comments or it allows you to vote on Comments for which the moderators have added Voting options.
When you complete your session simply exit the Open Dialogue site.
The following sections will direct you to either the full Federal Register Notice, FAQs that we’ve generated to help you answer questions that might be of interest to you.  The final section is your link to joining the National Dialague.


and here is the Federal Register Notice:

[Notice-GSA-OFPP-2014-01; Docket No. 2014-0002; Sequence 15]
Open Dialogue on Improving Federal Procurement
AGENCY:  Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), General Services Administration (GSA).
ACTION:  Notice.
SUMMARY:  The Chief Acquisition Officers Council (CAOC), in coordination with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council), the Chief Information Officers Council (CIOC), the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), is conducting an open dialogue to discuss improvements to the federal acquisition process.  This dialogue is part an ongoing effort to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the federal acquisition system by identifying impactful steps that can be taken by agencies to improve the way they do business with the best companies and enter into contracts that allow these companies to provide their best solutions for the taxpayer.
DATES:  Effective:  [Insert date of publication in the Federal Register.]
ADDRESSES:  Interested parties may participate in the dialogue through an online platform by reviewing the information and participation dates posted at www.cao.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Mr. Jim Wade, OFPP, 202-395-2181 or jwade@omb.eop.gov; or Mr. Mathew Blum, OFPP, 202-395-4953, or mblum@omb.eop.gov.
The President’s Management Agenda lays the foundation for creating a 21st century government that delivers better results to the American people.  This foundation includes an efficient and effective acquisition system that maximizes the value of every taxpayer dollar.
The federal acquisition system is governed by a myriad of rules, both administrative and statutory, that are designed to help agencies maximize results from their contracts, make sure that contractors are qualified to do business with the federal government, and ensure consistency with key economic and social policies.  Efforts to streamline, modernize, and improve requirements may allow contractors and agencies to execute in a more efficient and effective manner, while still supporting the execution of these policies.
The CAOC, in collaboration with the FAR Council, the CIOC, GSA and OFPP, seeks to conduct an open conversation to identify specific rules and requirements, tools, procedures, and practices that impact the efficiency and effectiveness of federal procurement and ways to improve them.  The CAOC is interested in hearing about proposed improvements that can be accomplished through executive (regulatory, administrative, or management) action, as well as potential legislative proposals where requirements are based in statute.  Dialogue will be encouraged in each of the following areas:
  • Reporting and compliance requirements – e.g., opportunities where collection processes and systems can be reengineered or automated, duplicative reporting can be eliminated, the frequency of reporting can be reduced, and outdated compliance thresholds can be changed.
  • Procurement practices – e.g., opportunities where acquisition strategies can be modernized (to support more efficient and effective acquisition of IT, in particular), where best commercial practices can be utilized, as well as efforts to promote greater consideration of innovative solutions and contracting practices.
  • Participation by small and minority businesses, new entrants, and non-traditional government contractors – e.g., opportunities for improving existing technical or strategic assistance programs, making buying platforms for finding business opportunities and bidding more user friendly, and lowering the cost of doing business.
To facilitate feedback, an online platform is being launched so that interested parties may submit ideas, respond to questions posed by moderators, and comment on other ideas – including those that they think are most promising and impactful.  Information on the platform and the dates for participating in the dialogue are posted at www.cao.gov.

William Clark,
Acting Senior Procurement Executive,
Office of Acquisition Policy,
Office of Government-wide Policy.

Offer your thoughts by May 5, 2014  at  http://cxo.dialogue.cao.gov/