Here’s when you should be talking to your SLED customers

Rachel EckertSLED, procurement, sales, public sectorBy Rachel Eckert, consultant

The new state, local, and education (SLED) fiscal year kicked off July 1 for most of the market, and with that governments began a new budget (assuming of course that the legislature passed it). A new budget means fresh money and hope for many in the IT industry about new opportunities.

If you’ve worked in the public sector, be that federal or SLED, you know that nothing in government is immediate. Turning opportunities into deals takes time and careful planning. Also, having an understanding of the government’s planning cycle can help ensure that you’re approaching decision makers with proposals at the right time.

Here is a rundown of their planning cycle and what your actions should be during each quarter:

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Time to Wring Complexity out of Public Sector Deal Registration

Bob Laclede 100x135by Bob Laclede, Vice President, Channels

There’s Time to Wring Complexity out of Public Sector Deal Registrationlittle doubt that deal registration continues to pull its weight as a mechanism to reward and encourage reseller partners. But when it comes down to managing day-to-day deals in the real world, many partners find existing programs a bit of a chore, our latest research finds.

In particular, the challenges of registering, submitting, updating, and maintaining deals represent significant administrative burdens to partners, according to the Government Channel Leadership Council’s (GCLC) 2015 State of Public Sector Deal Registration survey. The research, conducted in the first quarter of 2015, queried 120 partners 100 vendors that deal in the public sector marketplace.

Immediately clear in this year’s research: Channel partners surveyed want vendors to wring out complexity in current programs and streamline the registration and approval processes. Some 39 percent of partners say that vendors’ deal registration programs are only moderately clear, concise, and well-documented, with 15 percent giving OEMs overall poor marks for the clarity and usability of their programs.

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A New Event for Government Sales and Marketing Professionals

Photo of Allan RubinWe’ve been hearing it quite a bit from our manufacturer clients and channel partners recently: it’s tough out there. Companies that sell technology to the government have faced one challenge after another. Most of us survived Sequestration, continuing resolutions, and the shutdown — often with some scars to show for it — and we hope those are in the rear-view mirror for good.

Uncle Sam is still spending a lot of money on technology products and services, but that growth curve has flattened, and budget pressures have increased competition for every order. Add to that the significant shifts we’ve seen in technology requirements, acquisition methods, the movement towards lowest-price technically acceptable (LPTA) procurements, difficulty in meeting face-to-face with customers…and the increased pressure you’ve probably seen from your corporate office to exceed revenue goals while cutting back on personnel, marketing, and other resources. There’s a long list of reasons for those in our industry to lose sleep.Print

Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom. Pockets of technology, like cyber security, remain strong with growing demand. The state and local market is heating up. While some agencies and programs face budget cuts, others are expected to invest more heavily in IT products and services. There are reasons to be optimistic, but you have to know where to look … and what to look for.

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Public Sector CIO Interviews Unveil Tips for Big Data Vendors

Mohamad Elbarasse_headshot_7-23-2013_For WordPressby Mohamad ElbarasseAnalyst

As big data tumbles closer to the “Trough of Disillusionment,” CIOs are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to the perception that big data is a passing fad, according to the IBM Center for The Business of Government. For their latest release of the Using Technology Series, Realizing the Promise of Big Data: Implementing Big Data Projects, IBM interviewed 28 CIOs at the federal, state, and local levels and compiled a list of findings that will help you to sell your analytic solutions to the government.

The most telling findings are that:

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Three Simple Steps to Measuring Government Partner Performance

photo_Skip-Liesgang_65x85by Skip Liesegang, Vice President, Channels

What is best way to measure partner performance? What is included in a good partner scorecard? Those are the two most frequently asked questions in the Government Channel Leadership Council (GCLC), a forum established by immixGroup to share best practices, information and ideas about the public sector IT market.

These questions are closely related. The first is the most important, because once you’ve answered it, the scorecard is just a way to provide metrics to measure success.

Measuring partner potential has always been tough, and my 25-plus years of managing channel partners has given me some basic ways to address this age-old question. Before we get to that, let’s take a quick journey back to the earliest days of partner performance metrics and the insights its evolution may hold for all of us.

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10 Tips to Make Your Government Events More Successful

photo_Allan-Rubin_65x85by Allan Rubin, Vice President, Marketing

Several weeks ago I participated as a panelist at two events for government marketing professionals. At both the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit, and the GovMark Council‘s panel on Life After Tradeshows Part II, much of the conversation focused on how marketers were dealing with decreased attendance from government attendees at live events.

Those in attendance shared common questions and angst. How long will the events drought last? What impact will Sequestration have? How do I get government speakers to commit and government employees to attend? How can I use money that was earmarked for cancelled trade shows to support my sales pipeline? Will virtual conferences replace in-person events? What should I tell my sales team?

In May, many of us saw continued validation of our concerns at Market Connections’ presentation of its 2013 Federal Media and Marketing Study. The study confirmed that trade show and conference attendance is down. Specifically, “more than half (52%) of federal decision-makers did not attend any trade shows or events last year, while those who attended 1-3 events (41%) and more than 4 events (8%) are down from 49% and 11% respectively.” (FedConnects has a summary of the overall study, which covers a broad spectrum of federal media options.) Check out the infographic from Market Connections (below) which might be useful if you need to explain current market conditions to your corporate marketing office.

Our advice for technology manufacturers and their channel partners has been consistent in the face of this upheaval. As I mentioned at the panel discussions, events should still have a place in your marketing mix and can be successful as long as you:

  1. Ensure your content — and your marketing messages — are both relevant and targeted to what your audience cares about;
  2. Think small: emphasize quality over quantity and make sure the RIGHT people are invited (HINT: this requires homework on your part);
  3. Make it easy for your government customers and prospects to attend by keeping your events local, accessible, low-cost, and light on flash;
  4. Incorporate a virtual component for those who can’t leave the office;
  5. Bring your event to your customers through an on-site presence in their own facility (look to Federal Business Council for a list of upcoming on-site tabletop events);
  6. Team with complementary vendors to draw a larger crowd and improve your chances of attracting a credible government panel;
  7. Consider pulling in a media company to host your event for you: we’ve had success working with companies such as FedInsider, 1105 Media, FedScoop, MeriTalk, and Government Executive;
  8. Use this uncertain time (and budget from cancelled trade shows, if possible) to your advantage to test new approaches;
  9. Re-set expectations internally about what you can (and cannot) accomplish relative to registration numbers, quantity of attendees, and show-up rates; and
  10. If you’re an immixGroup client, call us. We have a number of plug-and-play event programs that can help you grow your sales.

If I missed a good tip, please post a comment to share with our readers!

Government Events for Contractors

Government Events for Contractors

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