6 ways to transition to the new administration

Allan Rubin 65x85transitionBy Allan Rubin, vice president of marketing for Arrow ECS North America

The election is over, but uncertainty about the future of Washington still looms. Despite high-level picks already announced by the new President-elect, no one really knows the makeup of the future administration.

This creates some big questions for the IT industry: Who will stay and who will go in government, and how do technology companies navigate the transition? It’s tricky, but there’s a lot of opportunity (and risk) for us during this brief window. It’s a question your executives at corporate are probably asking you about already.

To explore this topic in more depth, I recently moderated a panel of experts on presidential transitions at immixGroup’s Government IT Sales Summit. Our discussion covered how marketing and sales professionals can help our government customers navigate this period of uncertainty and how we can prepare for (and capitalize on) the upcoming changes. To get you started, here are six suggestions to consider.

Help agencies tell their success stories. Our government customers have to demonstrate to incoming administration executives that their programs have had an impact, said Martha Dorris, founder and CEO of Dorris Consulting International and former director at the General Services Administration. She encourages contractors to provide the data that will help program managers articulate the impact of our products and services on their initiatives.

Be a source of information for your government customers. Share what you’re hearing from others in the IT community, as well as what’s coming down the road. The most successful sales reps are those who can teach their customers, said Kris van Riper, government practice leader at CEB.

Wait three weeks before reaching out to a new hire. They’ll be inundated with people wanting to bend their ear, said Frank McDonough, a former GSA senior executive. Once you get a chance to speak to them, provide some useful advice. Suggest someone in the agency with institutional knowledge who could be an advisor to them. Also go in with the mindset that you’re helping that appointee make their mark. They’ll likely only be there 2 to 3 years.

Reevaluate your social media presence and make sure you’re regularly providing compelling content. “More federal IT people are using social media and it’s a great way to engage them in between sales meetings,” said Kris. LinkedIn, in particular, is home to 1.6 million federal employee profiles. Mark Amtower, founding partner of Amtower & Company, said at least 15 percent of them have IT-related positions. “It’s a great way to find who you need to influence and build your trusted advisor role,” he added.

Federal IT priorities won’t change too much in the next administration with cybersecurity, cloud and advanced analytics continuing their starring roles, said Barbara Austin, immixGroup’s Market Intelligence database manager. But many of the people will change, so it’s important to understand how to effectively gather information on personnel shifts, build organizational charts and update your marketing lists.

• Barbara said industry can also find clues on where federal organizations will be spending their FY17 IT budgets in the IT Dashboard. The Exhibit 53 within the proposed federal budget is a valuable guide on IT and e-government priorities. Agencies will also start working on their five-year strategic plans for IT in FY17, with drafts due to the Office of Management and Budget next June. So start planning for the future now.

You can now watch an on-demand video of the Taming the Transition session. Want more guidance on navigating FY17 federal IT trends? Reach out to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team.

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