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Top 10 Activities for Your 2024 Government Sales Strategy

January 10, 2024 | Government

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I haven’t seen too many Top Ten Lists since David Letterman retired, so I thought the advent of a new year deserved one. While ours may not be as funny as the Top Ten Prom Themes or Top Ten Rejected Crayola Crayon Colors, we hope they help you with your government sales strategy for 2024. So here you go!

10. Figure Out Who Buys What You Sell

 I’m not just discussing doing NAICS Code or PSC Code Research and looking at the department level. No. Use Keywords. Dig down to the agency and the contracting office, including the contracting officer who bought it, how they bought it, and when they bought it. This information will help you build your pipeline more effectively.

9. Submit RFIs 

This is your opportunity to market to the agency and shape the opportunity. Suppose the statement of work should be structured in a certain way, specific certifications should be sought after when looking for qualified contractors, you know the best contract vehicle to be used, or the opportunity should be set aside for your socioeconomic category. The RFI is your time to make your case. Furthermore, this may be your opportunity to be invited to submit a response to the RFQ/RFP. Sometimes, the RFQ/RFP isn’t posted to SAM….it is only sent to those who submitted an RFI. Miss the due date. Submit anyway. I’ve never had an RFI rejected because it was turned in late. Just don’t make a habit of it.

8. Attend an Industry Day 

There isn’t a better opportunity to learn more about an agency’s mission, the critical objectives of a future RFP, or rub elbows with the buyers. But I’m small, and they only have industry days for enormous opportunities where I can’t perform. Go anyway. Introduce yourself to the buyers. Introduce yourself to other attendees. It is likely that the people who buy the large RFPs also buy smaller ones, which might be a good fit for you. Also, meeting other attendees might be the beginning of a relationship with a prime, which might lead to a subcontracting opportunity. 

7. Speak at a Conference 

The opportunity is too great to pass up. What better way to show customers that you are an expert in your field? But usually, speakers attend conferences at either free or reduced rates. So you have an audience, an opportunity to network with that audience and other attendees, and all for a small investment. Ensure you have specific objectives for the conference and follow up with everyone you meet after it ends.

6. Establish Teaming Partners 

But here’s the real kicker! Establish one BEFORE AN OPPORTUNITY IS RELEASED ON SAM. Establish one because each one of you has something the other one wants. Having a set-aside status and helping them meet their small business goals is not one of those.

5. Connect With Government Officials And Comment On Their Posts 

Over one million government employees have a LinkedIn Account. Some may be more active than others. Find out who buys what you sell and connect with those people. Like and comment on their posts. Then, when you reach out to them via phone or email, now you aren’t just a cold call. You are Joe or Jane from LinkedIn. 

4. Share Something About Your Industry on Social Media  

Go beyond just sharing someone else’s post without giving your perspective. Write a couple of paragraphs sharing your perspective on a topic. Post a poll. Scared that you’re not good enough? Do it anyway! Done is better than perfect. Some beats none. You’re not going to get better until you start doing it. You can’t learn to drive in a parked car. 

3. Set Up Meetings with Small Business Specialists

Share your capabilities brief even if they technically don’t buy anything. Their job is to advocate for and connect small businesses with people who do. If they don’t share your information with prospective buyers or aren’t helpful, then it’s still great practice in refining and presenting your brief.

2. Call/Email Contracting Officers and Program Managers Who Buy What You Sell

Only 10 percent of all government transactions above $10K are competed on SAM. How are the other transactions bought? First and foremost, they are purchased through relationships. That’s how you know about the other opportunities, and you can’t build those relationships without specifically calling and emailing government buyers who buy what you sell.

1. Invest in Training For Yourself and Your Staff To Do Better at All of the Above

Government sales strategy can be done DIY. Companies have been successful with this approach, but a lot of time is spent, and mistakes are made before they achieve long-term success. Training and coaching, if not with Earnest Consulting Group but with a qualified organization, can help reduce the learning curve, give your strategy another set of eyes, and help you avoid the mistakes others have already made. 

I think it’s necessary to note some things that aren’t on this list. They include:

  • spending more time on SAM looking for opportunities in which you’ve never met the customer and don’t understand their issues outside of what the RFP highlighted in the statement of work. 
  • blindly getting a GSA schedule, not knowing who your customer is, if anyone, or what your pricing should be to be competitive,
  • applying for another set-aside status because you haven’t won one contract with the one you currently have. 

I hope these help you with your list for 2024. What activities are you planning to do? What is on your list that isn’t on this one?


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MYTH: Providing goods and services to the government means you have to wait forever to get paid.

FACT: Many government contracts are subject to the Prompt Payment Act which was enacted to ensure the federal government makes timely payments. Bills are to be paid within 30 days after receipt and acceptance of goods/services or after receipt of an invoice whichever is last. If a timely payment is not made, interest should be automatically paid.

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