The federal government per the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) provides a very comprehensive debriefing for the reasons you won or lost a contract. These debriefings cover the technical, managerial, past performance and pricing aspects of your proposal.
The debriefing will be in writing and they upon request will do an oral review of their written evaluation which is signed by the Source Selection Authority (SSA) or Source Selection Official (SSO).
These debriefings inform you of strengths and weaknesses. When we lost two back to back opportunities from the same Agency we reviewed our weaknesses and initiated action to address those issues and then we reinforced our strengths and we have been very successful with this agency since we took that initiative.
You have invested significant resources to prepare a proposal (see earlier blog submissions) and consequently you deserve the right per FAR to receive this comprehensive review. Some agencies are more thorough than others and will provide a comparison of your proposal to others without infringing on business confidential information. This is also very helpful as you can see how you performed against the competition.
Even if you win you should seek to review the reasons why so you continue to focus on the strengths because we are never too good not to improve.
If you look at the first blog entry and the overall site review we strongly encourage doing business with the federal government. The fact that they provide such a beneficial review of your proposal differentiates this customer from any other that you will pursue. Yes, some state and local governments will do the same but generally not on the same level as their respective laws are not as comprehensive as FAR. Very few if any commercial clients will take the time to provide such a review primarily due to the concerns of conflict of business confidentiality which federal agencies are protected under FAR and various other public information acts.
Every submission is an investment which seeks to get your return, win or lose.