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What You Can Learn from an Official Government Industry Day

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An Industry Day or Site Visit has been announced – What is it? Who should go? What can you learn?

What is an Industry Day?

Agencies hold an Industry Day to provide information on upcoming procurements, goals, schedules, and to solicit feedback for an upcoming Request For Proposal. Sometimes an Industry Day covers many procurements and can be 2 or more days long. If the event is a specialized small business event, there may be an opportunity to meet small businesses, Government small business personnel, and hold one-on-one meetings. If it is a briefing to industry on upcoming procurements, many presenters detail upcoming procurements. This can be useful for strategic planning and BD Pipeline development.


What is a Site Visit?

At a Site Visit, the Government provides information on one specific procurement, to give potential bidders an opportunity to see the contract-specific facilities and buildings. Sometimes the Government calls a procurement-specific site visit, an Industry Day, so read all announcements carefully.


Who Should Go?

The Capture Manager should always attend the Industry Day/Site Visit. Also, send someone else who is a keen observer – this might be a Proposal Manager, or someone on your team who is a good communicator and understands how to talk with customers and other companies without providing any unintended intel to competitors. Some companies like to send consultants to gather intel at Site Visits, so they can openly talk to everyone without revealing what company they are supporting.


What Can You Learn?

What you can learn depends a lot on the agenda and how the sessions are conducted. The best events include receiving information from the Government AND having sufficient opportunities to provide information and feedback to the Government.

The goals for a Site Visit include learning about:

  • Government personnel

  • Technical contract work

  • Possible Teaming Partners

  • Potential Competitors

Government Personnel - Meet as many Government personnel working on the procurement as possible. If they do not have business cards, get their names, titles or positions and make notes.

Ask questions in person, if possible, but they may request that all questions be written on specific cards and submitted. The Government may answer written questions at the end of the day or may publish the answers to all attendees.

Be appreciative and thank each person who gives a presentation or assists with tours. Be the good guest that customers remember – a good impression with the customer is always helpful when it comes time to take a meeting with them!

Technical Contract Work If offered a tour of facilities, definitely take it, since not all offerors take advantage of this. Some facilities tours might be 30 minutes, or they may load buses and go to multiple facilities for hours! There may be workers at the facilities – respect the Government’s instructions.

If a worker is present and is asked to demonstrate something, it may be fine to ask, “what is this machine called?”. It would not be appropriate to ask the worker who they work for or for their contact information.

Look around, are the workers wearing a specific team or company shirt? What do you see in the facility that is not work related, such as charity event support or activities they participate in as a group.

Competitors – Meet as many industry partners as you can and exchange business cards. Notice which companies are sitting beside each other and talking a lot – they may be teaming partners. Make notes about your observations on behaviors for the Black Hat Review.

Pay attention to comments, even those comments made in the hallway while waiting to go into a room. Some people do not realize that others are listening to what they say. But be aware that some people may intentionally give misleading information.

Potential Teaming Partners – Your team may be set with no need for additional teaming partners. But if you are looking for a partner for a PWS area, you may find them as you meet others and ask about their capabilities. Make note of people who seem to know the Government personnel well and talk with them. Are they supporting this customer on a contract or is this a personal connection?


This is the 9th in a 13-part series focused on learning about Government RFPs and your response to RFPs as a Government Contractor. Be sure and download our complete guide, Government RFPs: What you Need to Know. Check back each week for another installment in the series. Happy Bidding!

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