SLED 101 Series – What is the SLED market?

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Market Intelligence Manager

Welcome to the first blog of our SLED 101 series. Over the next few months, you’ll see a series of blogs that walk through the basics of the state, local and education markets. Topics will include understanding the budget cycles, identifying the IT budget, navigating CIO priorities, understanding procurement, differentiating master contracts and cooperative contracts, and finally, comparing the SLED market to the federal market.

To kick things off, I wanted to start by defining what the SLED market entails and why understanding their independence is crucial to success. When we talk about SLED, we are talking about more than 90,000 different government organizations.

  • 50 States
  • 3,000+ Counties / Boroughs / Parishes
  • 36,000+ Cities / Towns / Municipalities
  • 12,000+ Public School Systems
  • 2,000+ Higher Education Institutions
  • 38,000+ Special Districts

What is important to remember about these thousands of organizations is that they are independent organizations. Cities, counties, and school districts each have unique needs and requirements — even if they are in the same geographic area. For example, the rules and regulations governing how the City of Los Angeles conducts procurements will be different than those of the County of Los Angeles.

Taking time to research and understand each organization’s position, needs and requirements and incorporating that knowledge in your messaging and go-to-market approach can be the differentiator you need to stand out against your competitors.

Delivering customized messages and developing go-to-market approaches for each of the individual organizations is not necessary, however. Developing segment-specific messaging that you can reuse will allow you to be more productive and reach more prospects with similar needs.

Naming conventions and nomenclature will vary from state to state, but in general, the functions of state and local government fall into one of these 9 market segments: Health & Human Services, Education, Transportation, General Government, Law Enforcement & Public Safety, Community Services, Environment, Legislate and Courts.

While each organization within these market segments is certainly unique, there are some common needs that spread across organizations. If we look at the Education market segment for example, Prince William County Public Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools are two separate entities but can both benefit from technology that helps them visualize the data in their learning management systems or protect their systems from ransomware attacks.

For vendors, this means that you can differentiate yourself from the competition by developing tailored messaging and go-to-market approaches that focus on the common priorities, needs and requirements within each segment, whether Health & Human Services or Transportation or any of the other market segments.

Conclusion

Developing go-to-market plans for 90,000 different organizations is just not feasible, but if you divide the market into segments and develop go-to-market plans and tailored messaging for the ones you want to target, the market becomes more accessible. And you can still approach each organization as an independent entity with appropriate messaging that will resonate with them.

Watch for our next installment in the SLED 101 Series, “How the Budget Cycle Impacts Your Pipeline”.

If you would like help developing tailored market segment messaging, reach out to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team.

Keep up on the latest IT trends in SLED. Subscribe to immixGroup’s Government Sales Insider blog now!

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