Five Tips for a Successful Selling Season

Sales FunnelSteve Headshot 65 x 85 by Steve Charles, Co-founder

Every year around this time I’m approached by technology companies looking for quick tips on how to make their September successful. I start off by saying that in a typical government fiscal year, we see the feds spending about a third of their budgets in the last quarter. However, the steps for completing the acquisition packages began six to nine months ago. 

As we wind down to the last week or two of the year, program managers pick and choose purchase requests like puzzle pieces to get to zero by midnight, September 30.  So, to make sure you’re in the mix at the 11th hour, make sure to ask your government customer one critical question: is the right amount of money in the right account?

Read more of this post

The Time is NOW for Software Publishers to Examine Government License Terms

Steve Headshot 65 x 85by Steve Charles, Co-founder

One of the{139d2873-a0fe-4038-b1d6-98fbd57fb9ba}_GSA main benefits of the GSA Schedule contract is its capability to define line item-specific license and service terms in the contract so they automatically apply at the order stage, with no disconnects or need for negotiation. For years, some software publishers and their government contracting partners have simply linked to the OEM’s commercial license agreements via a URL, hoping those terms would then somehow magically apply to subsequent orders. GSA’s new rule states clearly that such “pointing” is not contractually binding. Further, the burden is on the publisher and the contracting partner to add the terms they care about for each priced item explicitly within the contract.

The new rule also lists 15 terms GSA regularly sees in commercial license agreements that it says violate federal law and cannot be legally enforced. Our summary of these is published in this Washington Business Journal article.  While most manufacturers will learn to manage around these exceptions, many have yet to build a solid, disciplined process to assure that the terms defining each item purchased are expressly stated and contractually binding.  At immixGroup, this has been our standard practice since our founding in 1997, so we’re happy to address any questions or comments as well as provide scalable solutions for manufacturers and their channel partners!

Deal Registration Programs Back on Agenda

Steve Headshot 65 x 85

by Steve Charles, Co-founder and Executive Vice President

OEMs and channel partnersGovernment Channel Leadership Council are constantly asking questions about what passes muster in federal as acceptable practice for rewarding partners who help OEM’s make sales.The issue invariably leads to detailed conversations about what constitutes anything of value to induce a sale under the Anti-Kickback Act, or what constitutes price fixing under the Sherman Anti-trust Act, and finally what constitutes unequal treatment of similarly situated partners under the Robinson-Patman Act.

The good thing for OEMs is that they get to structure their channel programs as they see fit, and increasingly in all sectors, deal registration is the way to reward partners for performing programmatic activities needed by the OEM to address certain market segments. This is especially true at the Enterprise sales level and conversely, is practically irrelevant in the commoditized SMB channel.

Read more of this post

Time to Tell GSA What You Really Think

Steve Headshot 65 x 85by Steve Charles, Co-founder and Executive Vice President

Have you ever wished you could give GSA a piece of your mind about its schedules program Anonymously? Well, here’s your chance.

{139d2873-a0fe-4038-b1d6-98fbd57fb9ba}_GSAThe MITRE Corporation is conducting research for the GSA Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Program about the GSA Schedules. This study is part of a multi-method research initiative that includes primary and secondary research of GSA and stakeholders from industry and from federal and state government buyers. This survey is designed to collect inputs from suppliers who participate in the GSA Schedules Program and from suppliers who do not hold contracts with the Schedule Program.
Read more of this post

Will Hollywood Be Added to the Critical Infrastructure List in 2015?

Steve Headshot 65 x 85by Steve Charles, Co-founder and Executive Vice President

For years theHollywood Sign feds have defined and re-defined what is critical to our national and economic security, think: power grid, water systems, the financial system and more than a dozen other industries dubbed Critical Infrastructure Sectors. But, it wasn’t until the Sony hack, we began to think the Entertainment and First Amendment sector might get added to the list as well.

Whether you think the Sony hack is just about preventing embarrassment to North Korea’s ruling elite, or is a warm-up act for more cyber mayhem — in sectors that would actually cripple our economy — the threat is real and our response must be real. But, let’s make sure our response is also smart. Emotional (political) reactions usually aren’t.

Read more of this post

Year-End Tip: Ask, “Is the Right Amount of Money in the Right Account?”

Steve Headshot 65 x 85by Steve Charles, Co-founder and Executive Vice President

During typical years, the feds spend about a third of the budget in the last quarter. While sales for complex deals and engagements are off, sales for easy to buy commercial items are staying strong. So, what can you do to be successful this September? Make sure to ask one of my favorite closing questions: “Is the right amount of money in the right account?”

Read more of this post

DOD Rules on “Blacklist” Option – Supply Chain Risk Evaluation Added to IT Procurement Process

Steve Charles_headshot _7-23-2013_65x85by Steve Charles, Co-founder and Executive Vice President

The Department of Defense is exerting more control over its IT supply chain with a new rule effective November 18 requiring additional contract clauses when purchasing Information Technology.

DFARS Case 2012-D050 implements §806 of the FY11 National Defense Authorization Act as amended in the FY13 NDAA. Section 806 defines supply chain risk as ‘‘the risk that an adversary may sabotage, maliciously introduce unwanted function, or otherwise subvert the design, integrity, manufacturing, production, distribution, installation, operation, or maintenance of a covered system so as to surveil, deny, disrupt, or otherwise  degrade the function, use, or operation of such system.’’

The Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) is now updated in several places requiring that supply chain risk considerations for IT purchases be considered before buying via any government contracting method or contract vehicle including GSA Schedule contracts. The processes, procedures and clauses are described and prescribed at DFARS 239.73 Requirements of Information Relating to Supply Chain Risk. The two new contract clauses required in all DOD IT contract actions are 252.239-7017 and 252.239-7018.

The burden now falls on contractors to maintain supply chain integrity by demonstrating how they are excluding questionable and potentially risky sources. Further, it exempts the government from bid protest review should it use Section 806 authority to sideline a contractor, subcontractor or supplier perceived as a supply chain risk. Critics of the law contend that it gives the government unilateral “blacklist” authority with no opportunity for due process, however, such authority only exists relative to National Security Systems and even then, requires quite a bit of justification and Secretary-level sign-off.

Industry has responded with various types of programs to assure that items delivered are genuine and have only been handled by trusted parties. For example, the immixGroup Trusted Supplier Program guarantees and warrants the authenticity of any product delivered at no additional cost to government customers, systems integrators, or immixGroup channel partners.

Comments to the interim rule submitted prior to January 17, 2014 will be considered in the formulation of the final rule. Statutory authority for this rule will expire September 30, 2018 unless Congress amends the current law.

%d bloggers like this: