--In our previous post we examined some key qualities of
government salespeople. Today, we’ll look closer at characteristics
of companies with success in selling
to the public sector. --
Government selling is all the rage today; companies are rolling out plans across the country to bolster their government business. However, not all companies are cut out for such an endeavor. Even those that fill knowledge gaps with experienced government salespeople may not achieve the results they seek because of their culture, organizational design, business model, etc. Let’s examine a few characteristics of companies that tend to fare better in government markets over time.
Ability to handle complexity and customization.While there is some movement within the government sector to buy more “off-the-shelf” products and services, the fact is, much of what is purchased at the government level is fairly specialized in its design or service requirements. Government is big on specifications. Many times requirements are understandably more rigid than those for consumer or commercial applications. As such, companies must be able to deal with the demands of customizing products and services. Companies pursuing government customers must be aware of the potential impact of this complexity.
Longer-term Commitment.With complexity comes the need for long-term commitment to the market sector. Government customers often expect to see product road maps and growth plans to assure them investments will not be short-lived. Multi-year contracts and service level agreements are not uncommon. Effective government vendors build supporting organizations for the long-haul.
Government sales deals can be lucrative, but they are often not immediate. Customer budgets may be cut. Projects stall. Leadership and directions change as political tides come and go. Successful government contractors treat selling to this market as a strategic initiative, not a quick-win, cash-generation tactic (although over time, it’s nice to know your customer WILL pay you—and typically when due).
Clear differentiation.Differentiation is always desirable, but it’s critically important in government markets for two primary reasons: 1) companies with highly unique capabilities may be able to “sole source” deals, allowing government procurement departments to forego the competitive bid process, and 2) when participating in a competitive bid process, unique positioning will stand out in the vendor evaluation process, increasing the odds of winning the sale.
Ability to manage partnerships.Many government contracts can only be fulfilled through “teaming agreements,” (i.e. partnerships between two or more companies). Whether the reason for teaming relates to expanding one’s overall capabilities, or simply for “passing through” a deal through a third-party due to their status as an approved purchase vehicle vendor, successful government contractors are generally adept at working with outside partners.
These are a few key company characteristics that relate to success in government markets. What do you think? Are there other traits successful companies must possess? We’d love to hear from you.
All the best,
Rick and Lorin help companies increase government sales and marketing effectiveness through their firm, Galain Solutions, LLC. For a FREE report entitled “Five Sales Rules to Break when Selling to the Government” email email@example.com or visit www.galainsolutions.com.