What Is Business To Government (B2G)?
Business-to-government, also known as B2G, is a business model where a business sells products, services, or information to federal, state, or local government.
There are two other commonly known models. A majority of businesses are focused on selling goods and services to consumers - or individual buyers. This business-to-consumer model is known as B2C. Then there are business that sell to other businesses. This is a business-to-business or B2B model.
B2G is often paired with "marketing" to form B2G marketing. This is another term you will likely see used in the business-to-government model. B2G marketing or "public sector marketing" includes the use of print, digital, event, and other types of marketing to communicate the products and services a business has available for the government.
How and When Does B2G Get Started?
The government normally initiates a B2G relationship by identifying its needs to the public. This is done through its yearly budget, requests for proposals (RFPs), and other types of solicitations.
Typically, a government project is publicized in order to receive bids or proposals from businesses interested in winning the contract. Notices are shared on government websites, procurement portals (such as eVA for the state of Virginia), and at least one news outlet.
They also are available on third party websites which collect government contracting opportunities such as: GSA (General Services Administration), SBA (Small Business Administration), FedBizOpps, Onvia, GovWin (from Deltek), EZGovOpps, Government Bids, and Bloomberg Government.
It is important to note that not all government contracts are publicized. The federal government has different rules for publication of contracting opportunities than states and local government jurisdictions. Some opportunities can be highly classified and not part of a wide-open public bid. At the local level, governments often reach out directly to a select number of companies they know of to collect bids on projects, while in other instances, smaller governments may piggyback off contracts from other governments that are larger, and can secure better bulk pricing for items.
Start B2G Marketing Before Contracts Are Announced
Though a formal process of business-to-government work starts with a contract opportunity, B2G interactions often start before an opportunity in the government formally exists.
Governments and their agencies have constantly evolving needs, as well as projects that are currently under contract. Businesses have opportunities to discuss a government’s needs, as well as share their capabilities. This awareness can help set a government or agency’s course in future budget planning - which leads to the creation of a new contracting opportunity - or it help position a company when bidding on a contract that is going to expire.
Some of the key components to successful initial B2G marketing include: content specific to what government agencies are searching for to solve their problems, attending government events, participating as a sponsor for government or agency activities, and education sessions through Webinars.
In all of the above examples, you are initiating engagement by focusing on education (not sales) around topics that address the government's or agency's needs or a specific problem or challenge they are experiencing. B2G marketing content, including webinars, can be very effective at increasing a contracting officer's awareness of your company and its capabilities.
When Contracts Are Announced - Be Sure You Know The Rules
It is important for all businesses interested in bidding for any kind of government contract that they need to understand how the B2G contracting process works. Many companies base their expectations on their B2C or B2B experience. However, government contracting can be a long process.
Depending on the nature of the contract, a government agency may require a great deal of information, including financial statements and demonstrations of pass performance (showing that you have done similar work previously - even if it was only in the private sector).
What's more, contracts could have small business requirements, set-asides for minority-owned businesses, or specifically favor (in the case of state or local government contracts) businesses based in the same state, county, or city as the government agency.
Therefore, in order to make sure you set the correct expectations, you need to fully understand the requirements within a contract, as well as the rules and processes the government follows. Failure to understand how the process works, or the rules, can result in your proposal being rejected.
Examples of B2G
There are quite a few examples of what a B2G model looks like. We have listed a couple below:
Veterans Affairs Department's $64 billion community care network for professional services, as well as the GSA's Veterans Technology Services government-wide acquisition contract, were two contracting opportunities that were getting talked about in 2017. Both will need substantial participation from private sector businesses to provide services to veterans. In the case of the GSA contract vehicle (VETS), it is composed of service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. This gives a special status to veteran-owned businesses.
IT infrastructure contracts also are very popular, with different agencies looking to make upgrades to ensure their internal systems and networks are meeting agency needs. While larger corporations will bid on these contracts, there could be opportunities set aside for small businesses, meaning there is an opportunity to partner with a larger government contractor. In this case, a business may find it needs both B2G and B2B marketing.
Construction is featured very prominently in federal, state, and local contracts. Government's are constantly building new or updating old facilities. With construction contracts there can be a wide range of sub-contractors or opportunities, including HVAC systems, telecommunications, delivery and maintenance of construction trailers, cement mixing, and more. In some cases, the building may have requirements not seen in commercial buildings, such as the need to have defibrillators on every floor.
Janitorial services are often specific to a facility, and are very common in state and local contracts. For example, a new multi-purpose center in a city or town may initiate a RFP for a qualified contractor to provide janitorial and related services. As mentioned above, there may be requirements on where the business is based that will determine whether or not a contract gets considered. Another factor in local government contracts is whether or not a Pre-Bid Conference is mandatory for all bidders. If it is, and your business misses this event or fails to attend, it could result in your bid being deemed non-responsive and rejected without any consideration.