CMMC: Get ahead by doing the bare minimum

By Ryan Nelson, Market Intelligence Manager

If you’ve been involved in federal sales for any time at all, you know that government cybersecurity professionals have been asking – pleading, in some cases – for vendors to “bake-in” risk management into their proposal. And while the industry does seem to be inching in that direction, it’s still a topic of great concern among agency IT leaders.

That’s why, if you really want to set yourself apart in federal sales, you need to do the bare minimum, and build your proposals with an eye toward compliance with Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification 2.0. By doing the bare minimum, you’ll actually stand out from your less motivated competition, and stand a better chance at having your proposal come out on top.

At a recent AFCEA TechNet Cyber show in Baltimore, a panel of cyber experts was once again bemoaning this seeming lack of cooperation with industry’s compliance with cybersecurity directives.
CMMC 2.0 is the latest iteration of the cybersecurity certification, which is aimed at protecting the federal infrastructure from complex cyberattacks. It’s intended to cut red tape for small- and medium-sized businesses and help DoD and industry work together to address evolving cyber threats.
TechNet panelists (everyone from the senior tech advisor for the Operations and Infrastructure Center at DISA to the Army CIO cybersecurity director) were adamant about one thing: CMMC risk mitigation needs to be written into every single proposal.

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Big sales opportunities in lesser-known agencies: Decoding the Omnibus Bill

By Ryan Nelson, Market Intelligence Manager

The Omnibus Bill 2022 signed by the president about a month ago clocks in at nearly 2800 pages. It’s an annual free-for-all for vendors, with sales teams scouring the pages to compare appropriations to their product and service offerings.

While vendors’ typical targets are big-name agencies, there’s a strong argument to be made to dig a bit deeper below the surface, to the smaller sub-agencies. Big opportunities are often buried in small agency funding, and it’s worth having a closer read of the bill to find out just where those opportunities exist.

After all, you may be unlocking an opportunity that might not be obvious at first read, and therefore may not be as competitive as the larger agency requirements. Put enough of these smaller opportunities together, however, and suddenly you find yourself dealing with enough prospects to keep a team busy for some time.

That said, here are four interesting opportunities you might want to consider as you develop your prospect list from the newly signed budget bill:

1) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Some $38,486,000 is to remain available until expended, for Animal Health Technical Services. Similarly, $4,251,000 is to remain available for information technology infrastructure. That means even agencies that are focused on the health of wildlife, domesticated animals and farmable plants are still a lucrative target for big data, data analytics and network infrastructure components.

2) Farm Service Agency. Necessary expenses for this comparatively low-profile agency actually top $1.1 billion. Information technology represents a significant part of this funding. With programs ranging from aerial photography to financial management information, there are quite a number of opportunities in this agency alone. Most notable is the Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems (MIDAS) program. MIDAS is a web-based modernization initiative to simplify, integrate, and automate the delivery of Farm Programs across the United States.

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Seven ways to improve your sales to state CIOs

By Ryan Nelson, Market Intelligence Manager

State and local legislatures are having a good year. Flush with cash from the federal funding, most states enacted budgets with an increase in spending and revenue for FY2022. According to a recent conference of market analysts and government leaders, states project general fund spending of $1.02 trillion, a 9.3% increase compared to 2021. The education outlook is a bit more cautious, showing a trend of delayed spending of federal funding in K-12 districts. Nonetheless, there is a projected additional $3.5 billion in e-rate funds for 2022 and 2023.

During the recent conference, Jim Weaver, Secretary for Information Technology/State CIO for North Carolina was interviewed about how vendors can better position themselves and present information to decision-makers. Here are some of his top tips:

Taking all of this into account, what do vendors planning to sell into the state and local market need to know? The sales approach to state and local decision-makers is different than the federal market, and vendors should be prepared to make adjustments to their approach, to ensure a better chance of success.

1. Understand the state’s strategic plan. Every state has a strategic plan. Before you engage, know how your products and services will help them achieve their particular goals. Do not ask what an agency’s “pain points” are, or “what keeps you up at night?” You’ll find yourself being redirected back to the strategic plan.

2. States are changing the way they consume info. A crisis is an opportunity to influence change, Weaver said, and that has been true with the pandemic. What’s important now are case studies and the applicability of the study to the particular agency being courted. Messaging has to be eye-catching and visionary, but still based on what’s being done at the strategic planning level. Also, Weaver emphasized being engaged in the procurement process; vendors who aren’t already engaged in the process will most likely not get a lot of traction.

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