Winning Defense Contracts With White Space Analysis

Updated on September 20, 2022

Defense contractors continue to see a robust federal budget. Though federal contract spending in 2021 did not manage to exceed the record spending of 2020, at nearly $650 billion it still surpassed pre-2020 totals. Defense comprised the lion’s share of spending at $408.6 billion in 2021, down from $448.8 billion in 2020.

With defense contracts representing 63% of total federal contract spending and competition tighter than ever, the research, analysis, and tools your company employs are essential to identify and win more adjacent business. Let’s walk through the steps you need to take to position your business to win more federal defense contracts.

Let Bloomberg Government help you tap into a larger share of the defense market with insights that grow your sales pipeline.

Step one: Identify new logo sales opportunities using adjacent market trends

The defense contracting industry can be volatile, especially across information technology and professional services, so keeping a pulse on the latest developments is key.

Because maintaining current business is often expected, defense companies naturally want to secure new logo sales. Yet leveraging offerings into adjacent markets requires targeted white space analysis.

How white space analysis helps identify the right opportunities for growth

In government contracting and business development, “white space” generally refers to an unmet or unknown customer need. A white space analysis of your existing market can help your company strategically expand your revenue base by identifying gaps and potential areas of defense spending where you’re not already competing. Analyzing your business development and capture data against defense spending trends to identify valuable areas of expansion can help drive innovation and the development of new products or services to meet those needs and identify opportunities to upsell or cross-sell existing customers on services you already provide that they may not yet utilize.

This business imperative has grown, as the federal government increasingly relies on larger contract vehicles over a longer timeline. In 2021, for example, despite the overall slump in spending, federal agencies signaled a continued commitment to best-in-class (BIC) contracts by upping their fiscal 2021 BIC spending to a record $52.2 billion. This 10% year-over-year overall BIC increase was largely driven by purchases funded by the Pentagon, despite a $40.2 billion drop in overall agency spending.

[Download the 2022 Government Contracting Playbook for a detailed look at the top 20 federal contracting opportunities of FY2022 and a budget breakdown of upcoming contracting opportunities.]

As defense agencies increasingly engage with fewer vendors, white space analysis is critical to new logo sales. Yet the sheer size and silos across the Department of Defense muddy line of sight into adjacent opportunities. Because defense contracting offices lack a uniform standard to book business, it is also difficult to connect the dots between vertical customers and horizontal markets.

Leveraging Bloomberg Government for insights on adjacent opportunities

Bloomberg Government offers a middle point of clarity. As a valuable translation tool, our metrics and analysis provide market-leading insights into adjacent opportunities in fields and technologies as well as areas seeing the greatest investment beyond traditional defense services.

With cloud computing, for example, the DoD federal market share could reach 41% by 2023 (compared to 33% in 2021), while artificial intelligence and machine learning demand could fall to 53% from the 64% high in 2021.

[FY22 Defense budget breakdown: Gain detailed insights and analysis on the 2022 federal defense budget and discover big opportunities and potential partnerships for winning bids.]

This detailed analysis of size, scope, and market dynamics keeps you apprised of subtle investment shifts well in advance so you’re not relying on past performance for clues into future market direction. Select the adjacent markets and topic areas most relevant to your business needs, and receive direct access to white space analysis and opportunities that will help you:

  • Gain even greater upstream market insights that helps you strategically tweak capabilities to reach new customers
  • Understand the impact of federal policy and initiatives to identify with greater precision white space opportunities across the DoD
  • Conduct strategic validation and verification of new bids versus having to conduct research from scratch
  • Follow funding to ensure that you are best positioned to align your company’s capabilities with emerging investment priorities

Our expert analysis is vital to helping you keep tabs on the ever-changing defense industry.

[Don’t miss our on-demand webinars covering FY 2022 U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps budget priorities.]

Market Intel to Expand Your Business Reach

Business development professionals need to stay one step ahead of their competition to strengthen their pipeline strategy and win more work with the federal government.

Step two: Separate anecdotal from broader customer truths

Finding the right adjacent market opportunities for your business requires research. Traditionally, a lot of manpower goes in to finding and qualifying federal opportunities – by relying on industry partners and professional networks to make you aware of new opportunities or by sifting through thousands of complex solicitation notices to determine those that are most relevant to your business. Even once you’ve found relevant opportunity, it’s important to evaluate the likelihood that your bid will win before investing company time and resources in developing a proposal. The opportunities seem endless, but not all of them are a good fit.

Defense contracts are some of the largest in the contracting industry but are also some of the most difficult to get – often due to the sensitivity of the information involved. Defense contractors like you already have valuable contextual data to build on. As you assess how current capabilities can fit into new areas, it is also important to separate anecdotal information from larger market truths.

Bloomberg Government offers proprietary data-driven tools that help you identify universally applicable data points that bolster your market research into adjacent markets.

Size and scope your addressable market

Want to know all similar contracts a defense agency has had in the past five years or whether the military has been spending more or less on capabilities you already offer?

Bloomberg Government provides comprehensive data that will help you better align your business with major areas of investment. Filter by market view, with data by agency, prime vendor, contract amount, contract vehicles, and more, so you can isolate activity within a particular horizontal sector.

We don’t just procure data – our experts aggregate, cleanse, and provide insights using myriad sources to surface adjacent market contracts, solicitations, procurement forecasts, budget programs, and overall white space opportunity data all in one place.

Step three: Vet your industry partners

Finding the right partners can be an effective pipeline development strategy and a way to position yourself competitively when expanding into white space opportunities. The right industry partner can help get you in the door at a new agency or on a new contract, or expand the type of products or services you can offer your current defense customers. To do so, you need to understand exactly what each partner brings to the table and how you complement each other to make a competitive bid. Thoroughly vetting a potential teaming or subcontracting partner’s capabilities and past performance is essential to understanding how such a partnership can benefit you both and open the door to new logo sales.

In the competitive defense contracting industry, even the most detailed market research and analysis will only take you so far without a streamlined workflow for finding and qualifying industry partners and opportunities for pipeline growth.

That’s where Bloomberg Government comes in. We’ve created a one-stop shop for anyone on your business development team to gain the latest industry trends, alert themselves to relevant opportunities, and then export market and account planning reports to improve your business intelligence needed for vetting.

Find and qualify strategic vendor partnerships

The subcontracting component within many defense contracts also requires a skilled, data-driven approach. Our algorithms, customizable interface, and unmatched data accuracy ensure you’re finding the partners and vendors most relevant to you and your business.

Building a pipeline also takes a village, and strategic vendor partnerships are an essential part of the process. With BGOV, you can create and share insights that help your team and leadership streamline the decision-making process. This includes vetting partners, particularly smaller entities that may promise to be all things to all customers. To boost subcontracting and teaming strategies, our tools provide quick and accurate insight into past performance, so you know an entity can deliver on future promises.

Every step of the way, Bloomberg Government provides the analysis and data-driven tools to understand the full scope of horizontal markets and partners so you stay ahead of the competition in an ever-tightening federal marketplace. Managing your adjacent market research and your overall workflow on one platform makes it easier to grow your pipeline faster and build more business well into the future.