10 Dos and Don’ts of SLED Procurement

DoDontsSLED_RERachel Eckertby Rachel Eckert, Senior Analyst

For IT vendors trying to sell their products to the state, local, and education (SLED) market, contracting is a major hurdle (and headache). Navigating SLED procurement requires more than just reading strategic plans and responding to RFPs. To succeed in SLED, you need to understand the purchasing process inside out, who the key decision makers are, and ultimately who has buying power.

With each state, local, and education organization being unique, the procurement process is even more complex.  During our 2nd Annual Government IT Sales Summit — exactly 2 weeks ago — four SLED procurement experts shared their top Dos and Don’ts of SLED procurement during session, This Ain’t DC: Navigating SLED Procurement Reform.

Check out this list of top 10 dos and don’ts of SLED procurement:

  1. Do – Understand the reporting relationship and organization authority flow
  2. Do – Be a business partner to your government customer
  3. Do – Ask questions upfront in the procurement process
  4. Do – Build a relationship and trust with the government customer
  5. Do – Get all stakeholders involved early

  1. Don’t – Focus on just selling the “bits and bytes”
  2. Don’t – Overlook the business problem
  3. Don’t – Assume all procurement processes are the same
  4. Don’t – Respond to the RFP last minute
  5. Don’t – Ignore the stakeholders outside of the IT organization

The Dos and Don’ts list has some important suggestions that center around a common theme of partnership. In this case, partnership entails building a trusting relationship with your government customer and understanding their business problem. Building that partnership doesn’t start by making assumptions or focusing on the “bits and bytes” of the product to the IT organization. Establishing a fruitful partnership with your government customer requires recognizing that solutions involve many facets of government from IT to operations, legal, and procurement.  

Becoming a partner can make that big contracting hurdle seem smaller. Often your government customer may be unaware of the full suite of contracting options available to them. A relationship that builds trust can be the key to suggesting alternate procurement options like Cooperative Purchasing that might have been dismissed. Building that relationship requires patience and time — time to understand your customer’s unique business problem.

Need help identifying top IT decision makers and opportunities in the state, local and education market? Contact immixGroup’s industry-leading Market Intelligence team today to learn about specific programs and contacts that have a pressing need for your IT solution.

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