Is it time to ENTER the Government Market?

Commercial Firms looking to Enter the Government Market?

Are you kidding me?  Nope, surprisingly some have mentioned this as an option; even though there’s limited money, long sales cycles and a completely different process some commercially focused companies are looking to enter the government market.  After I pick myself up off the floor from laughing so hard I find that some are just chasing the idea of the big contract while others see this slowdown in spending as an opportunity to be part of the next phase or the next boom with the recognition that its years away and won’t be like the boom of the last 10 years.  If you never enter you can’t win business so at some point if there’s a desire to close government deals you need to bite the bullet regardless of the current situation.  It might be better to enter the market when you don’t expect much – any win is a huge win.  This is the company that truly understands that entering this market is an investment.  You should expect a bare minimum of 2 years activity in this market before you close a deal – for some it’s shorter and others its longer but if you think you’ll close business in 6 months you’re either smoking something or you have THE MOST amazing  widget ever.

Here’s the deal, is it a great time to enter the government market if you have no experience?  Why not, look at the environment – even long term government players are struggling to close deals.  With re-competes, less business to be had, bid protests, reduced budgets, etc those that are there now have to do more with less and if they haven’t already they will soon be forced to deal with the new reality.  That reality is a little more challenging and can be highly lucrative IF and it’s a big IF you put in the effort.  The problem is that in the past it was fairly easy to get business, just respond to a RFP and go low – you’ll get millions of dollars worth of business – not the case anymore (except the low cost – that definitely helps).  So if there’s less coming down the pike, things are taking longer to come to fruition, there’s a litigious environment why would you want to enter this market?  It’s easy, get in now, create the relationships now and prep for when the situation improves and if you get a deal it’s just icing on the cake.  It’s better to lay the groundwork now when business isn’t flying off the shelf then to feel like you’re missing out by trying to jump in when it’s going gang busters.  Again recognize that all business development is an investment.

If the government space is a desired target market you have a choice –

  • Commit to the market, do your research
  • Understand that each agency works differently and identify which is best to pursue
  • Hire those with technical knowledge and connections to bridge the gap
  • Identify where you fit and why you fit – inside each agency there are multiple silos
  • Identify contract vehicles to pursue
  • Understand your commitment – a minimum of 3 years
  • Attend industry events, join industry groups that support the mission you’ve chosen to support
  • Build a pipeline with short, mid and long term opportunities
  • Manage the pipeline consistently

Or –

  • Sit around and wait for the right time
  • Get frustrated when you have to act happy for your buddy that just closed on a big contract
  • Constantly second guess yourself
  • Prepare and identify when the right time will be and commit to action

There is no perfect time so make sure you do your homework and plan for the future.  Create a strategy to enter the market and a timetable then execute.  Most importantly create relationships and be patient.

FAQ’s What if I need help with strategy?

Answering your questions, have one – email me directly at kschwartz@springboardbizdev.com

Do you help with strategy?

Yes, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called in to simply strategize.  Essentially these are companies who have sales staff who are looking for new, fresh ideas to move sales forward.  I love this part of our work and I do it personally.  There is nothing I enjoy more than figuring out the puzzle piece.  I can see opportunity where you can’t, I can help you get there without doing it for you.  This works exceptionally well with sole proprietors or small sales teams.  We focus on overall strategy, target markets, how and where to find decision makers, what influences them, your unique capabilities, why people buy from you, your process, your presentation, your competition, your strategic partner, etc.  Most importantly we focus on what’s holding you back.  I’m not a coach by any means but I do know sales and I find with most business owners sales is an afterthought .  If you need a business coach I know great ones and will be happy to make a referral.

The initial month of sales strategy and consulting is a full scale evaluation of the entire sales process and it’s a minimum of $2500, each following month is a minimum of $1000.  If you think this is a better fit call the office and ask for Karin at 410-832-7560

FAQ’s Do you do SALES TRAINING?

Answering your Questions, have one – email me directly at kschwartz@springboardbizdev.com

Are you a Sales Training Organization?

No, we don’t do training.  In fact, I may piss off a few people by saying this but I believe for the most part the tactics taught in sales training organizations don’t work today.  I do believe they have a purpose – mostly for commodity or high volume sales organizations.  I can see a value there.  However when you are selling a service based on building and maintaining strong relationships tactics are the fastest way to lose business.  We’ve all been through these programs and we can spot the strategies from a mile away.  Do you know how bad I screw with someone who is “mirroring” me?  I spend the entire time focused on my next move and I don’t even hear what they are saying.

Your sales cycle is a fallacy.  You need to know where your buyer is in the process and ensure they have the right information necessary to move forward but you can’t make them move forward you can only encourage.  If you’re looking for a “trainer” I know a number who are excellent at what they do, they get results and they focus on the buyer, your internal processes, your people and not tactics.  I’d be happy to make an intro.

FAQ’s Team Poaching

Answering your questions – have one, email me directly at kschwartz@springboardbizdev.com

Can I HIRE your consultant on a full time basis?

Typically the answer is no.  Our consultants are not out of work in house business developers passing time until a full time gig shows up – they chose the consulting world many years ago.  For some it’s been over 30 years and for most it’s closer to 5-10 years they’ve been on their own.  We aren’t good employees because we won’t allow you to manage us.  Part of what makes us successful as consultants is the ability to challenge your beliefs of how things are done.  We’ve had to evolve as business has changed and we continue to evolve as we deal with more unique challenges like sequestration and global competition.  Consider us a resource and a partner but not a recruiting firm.

FAQ’s Can you terminate me?

Answering your questions.  Have one – email me directly at kschwartz@springboardbizdev.com

 

Everyone always asks how they can get out of the contract if they need to but they forget to ask if we can terminate the contract and yes, turnabout is fair play.

Can I be terminated?

You sure can and unfortunately we’ve had to terminate clients in the past.  Our new Client Acceptance Protocol will hopefully eliminate the need to do this in the future however we have terminated several clients over the past few years.  Typically the reason we terminate is the behavior is detrimental to our ability to represent you properly and it runs the risk of damaging valuable relationships.  We have had to terminate for non-payment or excessive late payments but also insulting a decision maker, getting angry at a prospect in a meeting, lying to us, inappropriate behavior in meetings with decision makers.  You wouldn’t believe the stories if I told you.  Some things can be addressed and fixed but we’ve found that at this point behavior is pretty much set in stone and if we can’t trust your behavior in a meeting it’s best to terminate the relationship immediately.  We can’t in good conscious take your money if we can’t do a proper job for you.