What you need to know about September

2017 may only be rounding into its final quarter on the calendar, but for those of us in federal procurement, it’s approaching its end.

September is the last month of the government’s fiscal year, which means that business as usual is going to go on hold for the next four weeks. Our customers are in use-it-or-lose-it mode with their FY17 budgets, and our sales teams are going to be working around the clock to close deals and win new business.

Moreover, this September figures to be even more hectic than usual – remember that we only saw new appropriations pass into law in early May, so our customers have only had six months to spend on new programs and capabilities without the additional burden of continuing resolution rules. Combine that truncated appropriations period with the fact that, on average, federal customers spend around 40 percent of their IT budgets in the final quarter of the fiscal year, and you’ll see why September takes on the importance that it has in the contracting community.

Steve Charles, one of immixGroup’s co-founders, has a great rundown of best practices to follow during the federal year-end. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Most of your heavy lifting should already be complete. If your deals aren’t buttoned up by the end of July, you won’t be capturing any significant new business in September. That means you shouldn’t use your limited time to chase deals that weren’t already in the pipeline. Instead, focus on closing out what you already have and leverage existing customer relationships to find unpublicized pockets of unspent year-end money.
  • Contractors could capture unused funds given that agencies need to spend their budget before Sept. 30. Unsolicited proposals for how your technology can solve one of their challenges actually has a chance of turning into a new last-minute deal. But this certainly isn’t the time to pursue a new customer. Only target where you already do a significant amount of business.
  • If you are looking for opportunities to engage strategically with customers, keep an eye on their appropriations. FY18 will almost certainly begin with a blanket continuing resolution, but there are a few possible scenarios from there – from a repeat of FY17 to certain agencies (like the Department of Defense and law enforcement) receiving appropriations in a minibus, to a full-blown omnibus spending bill funding the entire government. Knowing what kind of funding your customer is likely to have will alter the way you should approach them.

You’ll hear even more insights on selling technology to the government at the 4th Annual Government IT Sales Summit on Nov. 16. Reserve your seat!

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