Businesses large and small tend to rely contract managers to obtain and manage government contracts. The knowledge professionals can gain from training for contract management certification may give them a significant advantage when competing for contract manager jobs.
Skills and Training for Government Contract Managers
When interacting with high-level government procurement officials, certain skills are desirable, including:
- Professional conduct
- Excellent communication
- Understanding of contract, federal and commercial laws
- Effective listening
- Strong interpersonal skills
Government contract managers may find it beneficial to pursue formal contract management certification training because it can open up opportunities for both personal and professional growth. Typically, programs help prepare participants for National Contract Management Association (NCMA) certification – widely recognized as the most respected certification in the industry.
Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM) Training
CFCM contract management training teaches the ins-and-outs of government contract procurement while helping prepare students for contract management certification. Training and certification may help position participants to compete for jobs with high earning potential, because companies looking to secure government contracts typically seek professionals with CFCM designation.
Working With the Government Differs From Other Industries
Government contract management can differ from commercial contract management on a variety of fronts, including:
- Accountable to Taxpayers - Because they are paid for with taxpayer dollars, federal government contracts are highly regulated and tightly controlled. This means a company’s proposal must contain all mandatory elements and be submitted on time. When a company is awarded a coveted government contract, the contract manager must ensure it’s not cancelled due to failure to submit required progress and accounting reports. One way professionals can learn how to stay on top of this process is through contract management certification training.
- Longer Sales Cycles - Government contract managers may understand that the typical government sales process is longer than in the private sector – so professionals typically require perseverance and patience to work through extended timeframes.
- Strict Processes - From initial requests for proposals to follow-up and reporting, the government’s strict processes should be followed without deviation. Certified contract managers should also possess the knowledge to comply with government processes.
- Stiff Competition - It may seem futile to submit a proposal when competing with large, more experienced companies. But proper contract management certification and training can prepare participants to compete for and win government contracts, and become more valuable to their company.
How to Get in With Government Contract Decision-Makers
In most cases, government contract managers have excellent interpersonal skills – and can use them to meet and influence the people who can advance his or her career. Networking is another way to procure more government contracts for an employer, and may help increase the government contract manager's professional value to the company.
Five Steps to a Government Contract:
- Start locally - Make a list of municipal agencies and organizations that might benefit from your company’s goods or services
- Familiarize yourself with the agency’s work - Gather information about the agency’s responsibilities and issues. Determine how your company can assist them in meeting their objectives
- Learn who’s who - Reach out directly to the individual responsible for awarding contracts, and find out how that person prefers to be contacted. Email may be a better option for someone who has an administrator field incoming calls
- Ask for a meeting - Here’s where assertiveness may not be the right option. Generally, it's not a good idea to be pushy and insist on a meeting. Instead, share how you can help the agency, based on your research
- Follow up - After the meeting, send a follow-up letter or email to the prospective client. It may be wise to reiterate the ways your company can help them, with the assurance you can do so, and abide by deadlines
Additional Skills That Can Help Government Contract Managers Succeed
Estimating Bids - There is a fine line between winning a contract and keeping your company profitable. Contract management certification may help demonstrate to an employer that you have gained the knowledge to submit profitable bids.
Negotiating With Government Agencies - At times, government procurement or contract officers award contracts using competitive negotiation. This can put the burden on the contract manager to negotiate successfully.
Contract management certification training usually includes a negotiation component, covering such topics as the role of negotiation and its basic rules.
Access Superior Contract Management Certification Training With Villanova University’s Master Certificate in Government Contract Management
Enhance your skills with Villanova University's Master Certificate in Government Agile Contract Management, which can help prepare professionals for the CFCM certification exam from NCMA. Villanova features 100% online courses and an advanced, video-based e-learning platform. Gain an edge in the competitive world of government contract management with Villanova’s specialized contract management certification training.