Follow the Money … is your customer on the Source Selection team?

When preparing for an RFP, why should you be concerned about the makeup of the Source Selection (SS) Team? Simply because two key SS team members, the Source Selection Authority (SSA) and the Technical Lead (TL) will, in most cases, represent your customers or the primary user of your solution. Especially in large scale procurements.

Understanding how these two individuals view their need for the service or product solution you are proposing will give much better insights into how best to position your company for success. Certainly, more so than responding to a Sources Sought announcement or attending an Industry Day.
But, you may say, the FAR prohibits offeror’s from speaking with a source selection team member (their identity is closely held, anyway). And you are correct.
Your challenge, then, is to backward plan and reach out to the customer well in advance of a requirement being formally published. In some cases, this means years of preparation, relationship building, researching, etc.
For those seeking to understand process, the FAR will tell you about the Government’s SS process – a little. And if you are seeking a DoD contract, you can learn much more (and be well up to date) by reading DoD’s latest SS process and guidance. Well worth your time … as it explains the roles/responsibilities of each SS team member. Each SS position has an important role in scoring your proposal.
Customers and/or users are the ones authorizing funds to buy the services or product(s) they need. SSAs are likely senior customer officials seeking to expend their agencies funds effectively, and TLs are usually subject matter experts who likely also developed the requirements and helped define the evaluation criteria.
Knowing what’s motivating their objectives is critical to improving your chances of winning the contract. Start planning early – and get to know your customer’s key influencers and deciders.

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