Truths and Lies About Year-End Funding

Chris Wiedemann

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

The end of another government fiscal year means another September, with all the craziness and excitement that it brings. As we’ve noted before, the government doles out an average of 40 percent of its annual IT expenditure in the final month of the fiscal year. In fact, given the relatively late arrival of this year’s appropriations, we might see that share go up this year. The conditions are ripe for a hectic four-week period, where we should all expect long hours to make sure every order gets filled.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re keeping an eye on the phones, no matter when they ring — September is the month for blue birds, but you need to be responsive to land those last-minute deals and capture year-end money. Steve Charles, one of immixGroup’s co-founders, has a great video running down other best practices for the end of the government fiscal year you might want to review.

All that said, I do want to address a common misconception about year-end money: in most cases, customers aren’t going to identify any new requirements for FY18. One of the most common requests our market intelligence team gets is to help reps “find” year-end deals — but the realities of the government buying cycle make it impossible to accurately track which customers have the right combination of unfulfilled requirements and unspent budget. Don’t add to the stress of the month by chasing new deals – instead, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Focus on closing business already in the pipeline. By far, the best use of your and your partners’ time is going to be closing out deals that are in the forecast but haven’t closed yet. If you’re close to your customers, you should know which deals are in the procurement process — the ones whose requirements are already set in stone. Track those deals down first so you don’t leave any money on the table.
  • Have strategic conversations about next year’s planning cycle. The most important time to create demand among government customers is the first quarter of a fiscal year, when program managers are working out what to add to their budget requests for the following fiscal year. Yes, that means that, starting in October 2018, you’re going to want to sell to FY20 requirements. It’s a long sales cycle, but it’s the surest way to get yourself baked into the budget process.
  • Keep open lines of communication and double-check everything. September is the busiest month of the year for us, our partners and our customers, which creates an atmosphere ripe for mistakes — but in federal procurement, there are serious consequences if any T’s go uncrossed or I’s undotted. The key here is constant communication with every stakeholder group in every deal to protect yourself against deals getting scrapped at the eleventh hour.

Of course, it would be a mistake to focus entirely on September and assume we can all catch our breath afterwards. With the conditions looking fairly good for a quick start to FY19 appropriations, you’re going to want to get moving on identifying strategic opportunities and requirements across your territories — and that’s where we can help.

Learn more about how immixGroup’s Market Intelligence organization can help your company.

Read more about 2018 appropriations in a blog I wrote earlier this year, “Omnibus signed into law – now what?”

One Response to Truths and Lies About Year-End Funding

  1. Pingback: Truths and Lies About Year-End Funding | Government Sales Insider - Government Aggregator

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