What Sales Reps Can Do During the Government Shutdown

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

So, here we are, a week and a half after my last blog about the shutdown and half the civilian government is still shut down. By now you’ve likely heard the news that the Trump administration has made the decision to call about 50,000 federal workers back to work. The good news is, that means critical safety and security workers, like food and airplane inspectors, are back on the job. The bad news is, much like I mentioned in my last blog, many of them are doing more than one job with a lot of their colleagues still furloughed. And, they’re still not getting paid.

So, it’s likely you’re wondering what you can tell your bosses if you’re trying to sell into one of the agencies where workers are furloughed. First off, you need to let your boss know that your forecasted deals aren’t going to close right now because the contracting shops at these shut-down agencies are generally all non-essential personnel.

But just because your forecasted deals aren’t going to close doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can’t do. Reach out to your program manager customers (if they’re still working) and ask when they anticipate the deal moving forward once agencies get appropriations. Remember, things are piling up at federal agencies, so anticipate a bunch of pent-up demand once everyone gets back to work.

Now’s the perfect time to do your homework and map out a sales strategy for the rest of the year. Instead of chasing deals, use available resources like ITDashboard.gov to review federal IT programs and see if any of them might have a need for your technology. Start looking at strategic IT plans, many of which are posted at agency OCIO websites. Don’t forgot about immixGroup resources either, such as video recordings and planning guides, from FY19 budget briefings at the recent Government IT Sales Summit.

In reviewing these resources, dig deep to understand what government is trying to communicate to industry. Identify the stakeholders you want to reach out to once they’re back at work and develop messaging that will resonate with them. Prepare to discuss the programs you can help them with and how your solution gets the job done. Your government customers are going to be inundated when they return, so make sure you carefully craft your messaging to stand out from the pack.

Just because you’re not closing deals during the shutdown doesn’t mean you can’t demonstrate to your sales leaders that you’re being productive. Take these steps and you should be on track for when agencies reopen – hopefully soon!


Learn more about key drivers and trends shaping government IT purchasing:

  • Subscribe to the immixGroup Government Sales Insider blog – one of FedTech’s 30 Must Read Blogs of 2018.
  • View on-demand videos from the recent Government IT Sales Summit., including FY19 budget briefings.


About Tomas O'Keefe
Tom O'Keefe has over 10 years of market research experience as an Analyst and Consultant in the federal space. He also earned an MA in Political Science from George Mason University. He has covered both civilian and defense agencies and has presented to clients ranging from junior-level associates to executives from some of the largest Systems Integrators and contractors in the federal marketplace.

4 Responses to What Sales Reps Can Do During the Government Shutdown

  1. I would also include some account-based social selling. Use this time to look up your client agency on LinkedIn and reach out and expand your network.

  2. Pingback: What Sales Reps Can Do During the Government Shutdown | Government Sales Insider - Government Aggregator

  3. Rick Baamonde says:

    This is a great time, if your company isn’t already, to look at the State and Local Government Market. No matter where you are there are local agencies in your backyard currently planning procurements that will go out to bid, or get bought through sole-source, direct contract negotiation, off the GSA Schedule, off City/State contract vehicles, or through Cooperative Purchasing associations. This Federal lull is a great time to look into this market, which is actually bigger in terms of IT spending, but much more fragmented. This means less competition in many cases if you can get into the mix early in the process.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: