Book Review: CMS Acquisition Lead, Brian Hebbel, Shares Valuable Insight

Published in the Summer 2015 Issue of FedHealthIT Magazine. Submissions open now, click here for more information.

How to Market & Sell to the U.S. Government: A View from the Inside Authored and Published by Brian Hebbel

With more than thirty two years of experience leading acquisition for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, one of the largest agencies in the U.S. Federal government, this book by Brian Hebbel provides a perspective that is seldom given. While many leaders who manage and support three contracting divisions and more than $2 billion in contracts might have some reluctance to share, this book and the content will not be new to many who know Brian. The author has made it a habit over the course of his career to regularly meet with industry and to mentor them on how they can better interact with government and win new business.

Written over the course of several years, this book provides this acquisition official’s perspective on what works and what doesn’t, along with a number of unique and key suggestions for how government contractors can better approach and engage with government officials to win more business. Based in part on his meetings with hundreds of contractors over the years and by observing the differences between successful and unsuccessful contractors, Mr. Hebbel details information and proven techniques that will give government contractors the knowledge they need to be more effective in the federal contracting marketplace. An example here is a strong emphasis on the use of the Federal Procurement Data System as a key tool to gain valuable competitive intelligence about a targeted agency and its contract opportunities.

While there were a number of takeaways here, some of the most valuable information in the book is contained in Chapter 11, in which the author boldly states “Government and Contractor Staff are uninformed”. Brian details how industry can use the FAR 15.201 to their favor by educating government and that “agencies are encouraged to promote early exchanges of information about future acquisitions”. He then goes on to share his four Golden Strategies, which he has seen first hand can help contractors win business.

Any time you can get a “view from the inside”, it will be valuable as the perspective is one few from industry will ever have. While some of the information is fundamental, other points that the author drives home will benefit even the most seasoned veteran. Federal Health IT executives would be wise to read this excellent perspective and incorporate the recommended tools and techniques to win new business at their target agencies.

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