Will You Be Able to Tame the Transition?

Allan Rubin 65x85summit-white-houseBy Allan Rubin, Vice President of Marketing, Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions

A new administration always brings change in Washington. But how will a Trump or Clinton White House affect the government IT market? We won’t know for sure until a few months in, maybe even a year.

That’s exactly why immixGroup’s upcoming Government IT Sales Summit includes a session on Taming the Transition: Marketing & Sales Tactics for a Year of Turnover. I’ll be moderating a panel of speakers with years of experience in government marketing and navigating presidential transitions.

I recently spoke to two of them—Kris van Riper, a Practice Leader at CEB, and Martha Dorris, who retired a year ago from the General Services Administration after 34 years and is now a consultant. Both had a lot to say about what to expect in the next few months.

Kris says the transition has actually already begun. Many Obama appointees started leaving this year and there’s been an uptick in career executives retiring, says Kris, whose team at CEB advises government executives on best practices across HR, IT, and finance.

We’ll continue to see departures over the next few months, which, Kris says, makes for a challenging environment for IT sales people. Government customers often are afraid to make decisions because of vacancies. The upside is that there’s a whole new set of leaders who will care very much about improving the quality of citizen services using digital platforms, she adds.

With all this transition taking place, what’s the strategy for sales and marketing people during this chaotic time? Martha, who was involved in the last two presidential transitions, shared some advice:

  • Focus on creating relationships with your government customers and think about what your company provides them. This is not a time to be worried about specific selling opportunities given that there’s a continuing resolution in place.
  • Be visionary and creative. Government executives are figuring out how to demonstrate the value of their programs and the possibilities for the future. Industry should help them brainstorm and provide data to show the impact of their programs. Remember, data takes the emotion out of the story.
  • Know the players. Political appointees will leave Jan. 20, and career people will move into interim leadership positions. Understanding who’s serving in those roles and who influences them is something to consider during this period of change.

Interested in hearing more from Kris and Martha? Join us at the Government IT Sales Summit and come listen in on the “Taming the Transition: Marketing & Sales Tactics for a Year of Turnover” session at 10:05 a.m.  Reserve your seat!

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