3 marketing tips for selling to government in 2018

By Rita Walston, senior director, marketing programs

Marketing to the federal buyer is all about knowing the right timing, methods and rules. The key to this is knowing where each opportunity is in the procurement cycle, who the primary influencers are in each phase and what information is most useful to each group.

At this year’s Government IT Sales Summit, we gathered former top-level federal IT decision-makers to give us answers. During a session moderated by Lou Anne Brossman, founder and president of the Government Marketing University, panelists shed light on how to connect with government agency officials; how to plan and execute marketing campaigns when budgets are tight; how federal buyers consume marketing information before, during and after procurement; and how continuing resolutions, the “new norm” in Washington, impact the federal IT community.

Here are just a few of the tips gleaned from the discussion. To hear more from this session, listen to the on-demand recording:

How can marketers get visibility?

Build a solid personal relationship with your federal customers from the very start. Think outside the box to get their attention and listen, listen, listen. This will provide insight into their environment and culture. Only then, can you gain visibility and offer your solutions.

Keith Trippie, founder of GotURSix TV and a former senior executive at the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, says: “Don’t talk generically. Talk about your customer’s mission, talk about their problems and talk about what their agency is going through.”

On the marketing side, when you’re creating content, follow these individuals on social media and track what they’re posting or go to presentations where they’re talking, Trippie adds. Whatever information they put out there is now public and can be used in your marketing approach.

Be flexible… and stringent

To understand federal agencies and offer the proper solutions, Karen Britton, vice president and COO of e-Management and former CIO for the Executive Office of the President, offers a few suggestions: “Be pliable and flexible when it comes to understanding the federal agency environment. There’s a lot of information out there, so whether it’s General Accounting Office (GAO) reports or the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), you need to know what’s currently happening and have a shared understanding with your customer. This requires agility and pliability.”

And be more specific about what you do and what you bring to the marketplace—you can’t be all things to all people. Also, make sure you have complete and up-to-date content on your website for your customer’s reference. “These are two ends of the spectrum, but I think it’s important to know when to be more on the flexible side and when to be a little bit more stringent about what solutions you can actually offer,” she added.

Do your homework

Pete Tseronis, CEO of Dots and Bridges, and former CTO at the Department of Energy, says to pay attention to messages from OMB and look at the executive orders and the guidance documents holding agencies accountable. “These agencies must do something every three months or every six months, or whenever OMB puts out the guidance or a policy stemming from an executive order,” he adds.

Having this knowledge means the marketer knows exactly what OMB is asking of the agency and can therefore offer more focused help. “There will most likely be an analytics play, an information-sharing play, an actionable and applied intelligence play,” says Tseronis. “So, when you go into the conversation, just align your company’s capability and solution to it.”

Want more tips on marketing to federal buyers? Watch the entire session on-demand.

Like what you read here? Get more insight on selling to the government by subscribing to the Government Sales Insider blog.

2 Responses to 3 marketing tips for selling to government in 2018

  1. Pingback: 3 marketing tips for selling to government in 2018 | Government Sales Insider - Government Aggregator

  2. Mark Murphy says:

    I never knew that something as simple as following someone on social media can help you get into their social circle and sell to them. I don’t work in sales, but there have been multiple times where simply interacting with someone has increased my friendship with them. If I ever work in sales, I will be sure to follow any potential clients on social media!

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