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How to Use to Win Federal Contracts

Have you considered how well your company reads to contracting officers through the federal procurement system? You may be able to quickly improve your chances of winning a federal contract simply by taking a deep-dive and putting some effort into optimizing your company profile on websites like the System for Award Management (SAM).

What is SAM?

SAM or is a federal database of current or potential vendors. Federal agencies use SAM as their primary source of information about contractors during a contract bidding process. Your SAM profile is often a contracting officer’s first impression of your business so be sure to put your best foot forward and keep it current.

Registering for SAM

If you’re considering a response to a federal request for proposal (RFP), registering for SAM and creating a solid profile should be your first step in laying the groundwork for a successful bid. SAM offers a thorough User Guide to help you get started. The entire process can be quite laborious, but is a vital component in submitting federal proposals. Consider these tips to help streamline the process:

  1. Stay Organized—Before you begin, compile the information you will need:

  2. Legal business name and physical address

  3. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)

  4. Banking information including routing number, account number, and account type

  5. Scope Out Your Competition— Run a few searches through records and see who you’re up against. Take note of the keywords, NAICS codes or the capabilities statement that other firms are using and consider what information a contracting officer would find useful and persuasive while reviewing your company profile.

  6. Check it Twice! — Registering for SAM is a cumbersome process, but it should be completed with the utmost attention. Simple mistakes like an incomplete entry may cause contracting officers to skip over potential vendors for exhibiting a lack of attention to detail or a profile may be filtered out automatically for not meeting RFP requirements. Do a thorough double check to ensure your SAM profile is correct and comprehensive!

Keep your SAM profile Up-to-Date!

After you’ve completed the perfect SAM profile for your company, it’s important to keep it updated and never miss a renewal. Your SAM registration must be updated and renewed every six-months to ensure company information is accurate and your “active” status is maintained for consideration on federal contract awards. Profiles with less than 60-days remaining on their registration are significantly less likely to be awarded a federal contract.

Whether you are actively competing for federal contracts or not, Meridian West recommends renewing your SAM registration well before the 60-days remaining mark. Mitigate a delay in renewing your profile by starting the process early to avoid any unseen issues and anticipate sluggish government processing times. Additionally, SAM now requires submitted information to be notarized so be sure to plan ahead to get your documentation submitted on time. You should also expect the renewal process to take more time if you are making any majors changes to your profile such as changing your company address. Read the complete guide to making changes on your SAM profile here.

Preparing a Proposal—Representations and Certifications

Now you’re confident that your SAM profile is comprehensive and accurate. There’s no need to read through the boring representations and certification requirements for the RFP you’re bidding, right? WRONG! Many solicitations contain proposal-specific representations and certifications so it is still important to ensure your SAM profile is in compliance with the requirements listed by any RFP you hope to win.

Pro-Tip: Let Meridian West do the heaving lifting—As part of our strategic cradle-to-grave approach, Meridian West will review your SAM profile for accuracy and confirm compliance with every proposal.

SAM is Changing!

Have you heard the news? is changing! In an effort to streamline the federal award management process, the General Services Administration (GSA) has plans to combine multiple federal systems into one seamless website: Some systems have already been moved to including the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) and that Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS). The systems in progress of moving or planned to move in the future include:

  • SAM

  • Wage Determinations Online (WDOL)

  • FedBizOpps (FBO)

  • Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS)

  • Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS)

  • Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System (ESRS)

  • Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)

  • Contract Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS)

Learn more about the GSA’s process here.

Now Step-up Your Proposal Management Game!

Just as will eventually be a one-stop-shop for all things related to federal procurement, Meridian West is your one-stop-shop for proposal management. Contact us today and learn how your proposal process can benefit from the exhaustive proposal management strategies of Meridian West!

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