Selling to the government can be a tough venture if you don’t know how to approach government agencies and present your product. Before you think about contract management, prepare your company to sell to the government by checking off the following items:
Understand your Company’s Value Position.
- What does your company do? This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to be able to articulate your products and services clearly.
- What government agencies have a need for your product or service?
- How does your product or service help the government meet its goals and objectives?
- How have your customers been assisted by your products in the past? What were the results? Can you provide case studies or examples?
- What led your customers to choose your services in the past?
- What separates you from the competition, and what value do you offer in selling to the government that they don’t?
Get Ready to Sell to the Government.
- Target the government agencies you’d like to sell to, according to their size and scope, and work them into your 12 months – 24 months pipeline. This will also help you pin down the contract management responsibilities you will have to undertake.
- Figure out why each agency would be interested in your services—what makes you the best candidate?
- Acquire information about the agency’s budget, mission and goals; this will be helpful when pursuing future government contracting opportunities as well.
- Look at Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports. These reports help ensure that the federal government is held accountable and performance improves.
- Get a hold of marketing contact information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, for all the agency personnel and decision makers. When you develop your marketing campaigns, you can use this information as your targeted contact list for selling to the government.
- Prepare additional printed marketing materials that help promote your company.
If You Don’t Already Have One, Develop a Detailed, Informative Website.
A detailed website works as a rather inexpensive tool that can make a big difference in selling to the government. Particularly with email campaigns, it’s convenient to include links to your website instead of attaching sales collateral; attachments may be quarantined or clog up the prospect’s inbox. Make sure your website fully explains your company’s value position, overall services, contact information, etc. A website can also help you with contract management by providing your prospects and clients with a place to get more information about your company, how to contact you, etc.
Once you Find a Government Contracting Opportunity, Make Sure it’s the Right One for your Company.
- Understand the value and the resources your company is able to provide, relative to the contracting opportunity. For example, if your company isn’t able to fulfill all requirements of a government contract, you may consider teaming or working with partners.
- Can your company uniquely solve the government agency’s need? What do you bring to the table above and beyond your competitors?
- Based on your past projects, is your experience adequate enough to realistically manage the agency contract?
- Investigate the competition—what their services are, what contracts they have bid on, whether they won or lost—and develop a matrix that breaks down how you rank yourself in key performance areas against others who have bid on your projects.
If you’re selling to the government, all of these points will help you manage your government contracts more efficiently. Establishing a firm understanding of your company’s value proposition will be the key to your marketing strategy. You can leverage this value messaging into all of your collateral and on your website to help you sell to your government audience more effectively.