When it comes to doing business with the government, a procurement lobbyist can be your best friend and ally.
Generally speaking, there are four types of government relations lobbying: legislative, executive, agency and procurement. As their names indicate, the type of lobbying depends on which portion of government is lobbied. The first three are easy to define:
- Legislative lobbying refers to the attempts made to influence lawmakers, such as members of the state House and Senate or city council members.
- Executive lobbying focuses on the heads of those branches, such as the state governor or a mayor of a major city.
- Agency lobbying refers to the efforts made to influence the decision-makers within specific departments, such as the departments of Education, Economic Development or Agriculture.
Procurement lobbying, on the other hand, may not be quite as easily understood. Not only does a Procurement lobbyist focus on influencing policy leaders of governmental bodies and agencies, a procurement lobbyist also positions clients as worthy vendors of government goods or services. This means working with and communicating appropriate information to, not only, executive-level government decision makers, but also purchasing agents and office managers. A good Procurement lobbyist helps advance both the agencies’ initiatives and clients’ interests by providing solid and timely resources. This is all done while navigating complex governmental purchasing processes and multiple methods of procurement.
Why Do You Need a Procurement Lobbyist?
Procurement lobbyists not only identify opportunities for their business clients, they take a pro-active approach to creating opportunities, as well. By suggesting innovative strategies and services from the private sector for government use and benefit, a lobbyist is beneficial in assisting governing bodies to discover significant cost savings and reduced overhead. In return, this procurement lobbying and representation to the government can provide a tremendous ROI for the vendors looking to land government contracts.
Procurement consultants must take into account several factors. The relationships they have built with decision makers depend on the procurement lobbyist finding qualified and cost-effective vendors for a particular job. Over the last decade, government spending has been under increasing scrutiny, meaning even the brand of toilet paper an agency uses could be grounds for public complaints.
Successful procurement lobbyists help their clients understand and adapt to this push for transparency and cost awareness in order to win a bid or contract that is truly in the public’s best interest. Whether this is simply making a valuable connection or helping the supplier to bid appropriately and competitively during a bidding process, a procurement lobbyist can provide many advantages.
There is also a unique component of large businesses working with small diverse, disadvantaged, women and minority owned businesses. In government, spreading the wealth and offering opportunities to all kinds of businesses is increasingly important. A procurement lobbyist can assist small, medium and fortune 500 organizations by pairing capabilities in a way that can be appealing to the procurement reviewers.
Why Procurement Lobbyists Are Different
Although procurement lobbying is less easily defined as other types of lobbying, practitioners must follow many of the same stringent rules and regulations. Just like other types of lobbyists, for example, procurement lobbyists in PA are required to register with the PA Department of State, as well as some cities and municipalities including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Procurement lobbyists also must adhere to an additional set of stringent rules and regulations. For example, Pennsylvania is one of 26 states that have enacted special regulations for vendor lobbyists. Procurement lobbyists not only have to be mindful of these proprietary rules, they must also be mindful of pay-to-play, ethics and transparency laws, as well. Procurement lobbyists also manage, educate and assist their clients’ awareness of changing regulations.
Navigating the bureaucracy of state government can be overwhelming, so if you’re planning to compete or bid for a government-related project or contract, make sure to hire a knowledgeable and experienced procurement lobbyist. You will find it to be well worth the investment as you expand and grow business through the many and varied avenues within government.