8 Steps to Winning on GSA Polaris GWAC

capture management gsa gwac idiq proposal management Apr 16, 2021
 

Don't forget to register for our webinar series on how to become a prime on the Polaris GWAC IDIQ. [Register HERE!]

We may still be months out from a final solicitation, but with the Draft GSA Polaris RFP already on the streets, the actions you take now will be the difference between being organized or overwhelmed when it's time to submit. Here are the immediate actions we recommend taking to not only prepare your response but improve your odds of selection and ultimately, set you up for long-term success on the contract. 

 

Step 1: Make sure you don't have any disqualifiers.

This might sound obvious, but before you spend valuable time preparing documents and coordinating your response, make sure you don’t have any (non-negotiable) show stoppers that will disqualify you from competition or make you ineligible for award. Some are obvious (e.g., you're not a small business, or you're an Inverted Domestic Corporation) while others may not be as readily apparent (e.g., you don't have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics). 

 

[Check out our Basic Eligibility Checklist here

 

Step 2: Red Team your viability as a Prime.

It’s like Dr. Malcolm says in Jurassic Park : “[They] were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.” In other words, is POLARIS the right contract vehicle for you? Is it a contract you can realistically manage and that your clients can use? The initial bid is the easy part -- winning work on task orders is going to require additional time, resources, and effort.

 

Step 3: Draft your contract lineup.

Make a list of your contracts that immediately come to mind as aligning to one or more performance areas. Whether it’s one contract or fifteen contracts, it will be faster to start your evaluations with a consolidated list and evaluate each project upfront, rather than chasing projects down one by one once the government finalizes the evaluation criteria.  

 

Step 4: Down-select your projects -- fast!

You don't have infinite time and resources, so you need to figure out your top projects fast. The easy first step is to confirm that every project on your list meets the minimum qualifying criteria. If a project doesn't meet the minimum thresholds for recency, relevance, and magnitude, don't keep it in the list! Down-selecting early allows you to prioritize your efforts and spend the time developing only the eligible projects that have the best chance of yielding you the most points.

 

Step 5: "Rack and Stack" your projects.

This step is all about identifying your strongest chance of winning the most points. Once you have your list of eligible projects, you need to rank them against each other, from strongest to weakest. Factors to consider are overall Performance Area coverage, contract value, complexity, place(s) of performance, contract type, and team size (Tip: Keep the details straight by downloading our Project Evaluation Form here). Even though we don't know the specific point values for each category yet, you can get a good sense of which projects hit most or maybe even all of the scoring criteria.

 

Step 6: Identify your gaps and evaluate your weaknesses.

It’s okay if you don’t have projects to cover every performance area - but you need to know where your capability gaps are. Knowing what you can't cover will help you identify teammates who can strengthen your overall value proposition to the Government, not just duplicate your skills. Does your experience cover every performance area? What about emerging technology?

 

Step 7: Strengthen your bidding position.

This is all about bringing in the right capacity and experience to round out your team. Do you have a trusted teammate with qualifying* experience that can cover down on performance areas where you may not have eligible contracts? Forming a strategic partnership may help increase your appeal as an Offeror in the eyes of the Government -- the more quality services you can provide, the better!  [Tip: Contact us if you need help finding a team!]

 

Step 8: Start preparing your proposal.

Start pulling your contract documentation, like award PWS (not the PWS that was in the solicitation!) and CPARS. Look up your FPDS NG records - is everything accurate? Build that Rolodex! Do you know who the contracting officer is for the projects you’ve selected and do you have current, valid contact information? This is the time to hunt down missing paperwork or update official records -- don't wait until the solicitation is released to take care of these actions!

 

Conclusion

Even the most organized companies can be surprised by the amount of time and effort it takes to prepare a response like this, but the efforts you make to prepare now can pay dividends when the final GSA Polaris RFP is released. Give yourself the best head start possible by thoughtfully evaluating your projects, putting a strategy in place for teaming (if needed), and knowing what administrative requirements lurk in the fine print of the solicitation that might derail an otherwise eligible bid.

 

If you are interested in pursuing the Polaris GWAC IDIQ, here are some recommendations for you:

  1. Download our GSA Polaris eligibility checklist here
  2. Download our GSA Polaris self-assessment and gathering project documentation
  3. Sign up here for our GSA Polaris newsletter and get alerts on the contract as they happen.
  4. Sign up for updates from the GSA Small Business Community of Interest
  5. Verify your WOSB cert is in order or make updates at https://beta.certify.sba.gov

 

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