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The smart contractors are able to navigate any slowing in the growth of procurement opportunities within the SLED or FED markets by stepping up their marketing efforts to grow their market share. There are five key areas of marketing where contractors need to pay careful attention and devote adequate resources.

 

Web Sites

Must return huge dividends and provide information not just on the contracts, but information regarding the products and services they offer (content marketing). There has to be a special landing page for “Government” and “Education”. Web site cannot simply be “brochure-ware” but need information regarding the use and deployment of whatever products and services are offered. Regardless of what you sell, good content will attract buyers.

A great examples of content that attracts buyers is DEMCO, the library furniture and supply company (www.demco.com). They have videos, webinars, newsletters and a blog. Their email program is also robust usually featuring at least one special offer in each e-mail.

Content marketing

Involves developing good content and finding existing content. It is not simply a matter of putting out sales collateral. Content marketing is making available informative and educational information which helps the buyer understand the broader use of whatever it is you sell.

Such content can take multiple forms, including blogs, videos, white papers, webinars, podcasts and more. Most customers are looking for information that helps them maximize the value of the purchase. If you are the source of that education, you are more likely to become the provider of the product or service.

Social networking

Especially LinkedIn, has become pervasive in the B2B and B2G world. Other social media venues include Twitter, Facebook and Google+. These are ideal places to both connect with your current customers and prospects, and to share your content. Social networks are not sales platforms. They should be used for branding your company as the best source for a product or service, and positioning your company as a leader in your niche. Building a robust LinkedIn presence is a must because FED/SLED decision makers are on LinkedIn in a big way. Many will use LinkedIn to research companies they buy from, and you can use it to connect with those buyers.

Staff training and motivation

Has always been a key factor. An educated sales force is your best marketing tool. Make certain staff training is a regular element for your front line personnel. No one likes to speak with sales people who cannot answer questions about what you offer.

Research

Is a final factor and it should include what your customers buy and how they buy it, including the proliferation and use of cooperative purchasing programs. More and more local governments and schools are signing on to various co-op agreements, looking for vetted contractors and lower prices.

This is a re-post from Onvia’s Q3-2014 State, Local and Education (SLED) Procurement Snapshot