Do you know the 7 attributes customers use most when making contract awards?

EDITOR's NOTE: This article has been updated. The study cited was conducted by the Government Business Council, not Govini. We regret the error.

In a recent report conducted by the Government Business Council, agency decision makers were asked what attributes they care about the most when considering a company for an award.

At the Leading Brands in Government event Wednesday morning, produced by the Government Business Council, experts spoke at length about things contractors—who they referenced as “brands”—should consider when trying to differentiate themselves above the competition.

“Based on the research we’ve done in the past, we identified about 14 or 15 attributes that we felt are potential key factors and we did a follow-up study with our audience to try to have them rate these attributes and tell us directly which ones are most important to their buying decisions,” said Will Colston, senior vice president, Strategic Marketing & Insights at Government Executive Media Group. The Government Business Council is a division of Government Executive Media Group.

The results were seven attributes that were deemed by decision makers to be most important to making those decisions:


"It’s not just simply enough to have years of experience…it’s the ability to deliver and the record of success when it comes to serving the government. Experience can be pretty relative depending on the field of the industry,” said Mark Lee, manager, Research & Strategic Insights, Government Executive Media Group.

After each presentation, a company was selected as being the company that stood out the most in terms of this specific attribute. The standout company for this particular attribute is Boeing.


Expertise is often the highest ranking attribute for most companies, the report found. Additionally, “[the attribute] is heavily dominated by tech and aerospace firms,” Lee said.

The standout company for this attribute is Microsoft.


It’s not just about who can bid the lowest price. It’s both price and quality,” Lee said. The report found that consulting firms are rated among the lowest scores.

The standout company for this attribute is Adobe.

Customer Service

Perceptions can last for a long time, Lee said, stressing that it is not just up to the marketing department to change any negative perceptions of your company. Instead, it is a team effort and everyone should work to leave the customer with a lasting impression.

The standout company for this attribute is Xerox


“When we see a problem with trustworthiness, we go directly to the qualitative results, and the story is usually there. There’s usually, unfortunately, some scandal that people are reacting to,” Colston said. “When we see companies doing well here, they usually have a very credible voice—their CEO or someone who is respected beyond their company—that is known for being candid, frank and honest in the way they talk.”

The standout company for this attribute is Cisco.


Innovation is more than just new technologies, Lee said. “If you’re a consulting firm, no, you’re not expected to be able to create innovative rockets the same way,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s important to be innovative in your own space. When it comes to the practices that you are doing your field, how can you show that your brand is cutting-edge.”

“The challenge here is that every single company is marketing around innovation,” Colston added. “The good news is innovation is much broader than that. Employee care has been highly correlated with innovation,” Colston said, moving on to the final attribute.

The standout company for this attribute is SpaceX

Employee Care

“We found that folks rated this very highly,” Lee said,” and as a real differentiator [between companies].

“Things like the rate of employee turnover. You can imagine that if you have a contract over the last five years and half the employees are shuffling out, it’s not a very positive perception,” he added.

The standout company for this attribute is Google.

The event ended with a list of the top 20 leading brands in the government market, which the Government Business Council purposely ranked alphabetically:

  • Adobe
  • Amazon Web Services
  • AT&T
  • Boeing
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Cisco
  • Citrix
  • Dell
  • Google
  • HP
  • IBM
  • L-3 Communications
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Microsoft
  • Oracle
  • Raytheon
  • SAIC
  • Samsung
  • Verizon
  • Xerox

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above.

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.


contracts DB