It’s increasingly common for B2B companies to try to make a transition into the lucrative world of governmental sales, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a smooth transition. One of the key things a top government sales training program will emphasize is how B2G is not like B2B. Sure, they have similarities, but a company which goes into governmental sales thinking it will be just like B2B will not do well.
Any reputable governmental sales training program, like our very own at Asher, should spend a lot of time on this and help businesses break habits which could hold them back in the B2G world.
Three Ways B2G and B2B are NOT Alike
In the business world, large amounts of money can be spent analyzing purchasing decisions, doing research, and running ROI reports. This is very often not the case in government agencies. Their procurement teams are frequently understaffed, and lacking the time and/or resources to do detailed analyses.
This opens great opportunities for government contractors, since the procurement teams will often be much more open to “advice” from those making a sale.
It’s relatively rare in business contracting to see multiple businesses team up to all fulfill a single contract. However, it’s much more common in governmental sales. Often, it’s downright necessary, as the procurement needs of the government can be larger than what any single business can fulfill. In these situations, partnerships or extensive subcontracting are usually the solution.
A good government sale training class will always mention the importance of maintaining good relations with other contractors in your area of expertise, and always being open to partnership arrangements.
Government websites maintain a wealth of information about the internal operations of agencies, including details you’d never see about a private business. This can include their operating budgets, their small-business hiring quotas, their spending habits, and their upcoming expenditures.
Much of the time, the most successful B2G contractors are the ones who know how to leverage public information to better target their new ideas and proposals. Ignoring this information is a recipe for failure.
Learn Directly from Government Sales Training Experts
Asher Strategies has decades of experience working with the government, and helping others do the same. We teach you the strategies that succeed. Contact us today to learn more.
When a company is looking to move from B2B or B2C into government marketing and contracts, they often look to hire a consultant to help make that transition The world of government contracting is considerably different than public areas of business, plus the consultant can often give them a leg up by putting them in touch with valuable contacts.
However, with so many “government business development consultants” out there, how does a company pick the ones which will be worth their costs? These are some key attributes you should look for.
Asher’s 4 Things to Look for In a Government Marketing Consultant
You know the saying, “Those who can’t do, teach?” It can be the same with consulting. If your consultant had only spent a few years in the work related to their consulting it may be a red flag that they were not successful. Years of longevity “in the business” can mean your government development consultant is well respected with a wide range of valuable contacts you need.
The government isn’t a monolithic entity, and your government marketing strategies will need to take that into consideration. You should be very targeted in which areas or agencies you’re likely to be presenting ideas and working contracts for. Pick a consultant who has experience with those same agencies and the exact kinds of business you are looking for. You’ll get information which is much more relevant to your needs.
Consultants live and die by their references; how big are the companies they’ve worked with in the past, and what successes can they point to while saying “I made that possible”? A quality business development consultant will always have a big list of accomplishments they can brag about, and be willing to supply you with contact details so you can speak to their past clients for yourself.
One important aspect of a government marketing consultant is that they will probably provide you with some contacts to get you started. However, beware those who ONLY talk about their contacts. Knowing the right people is just part of the game, and you need a consultant who can teach strategy/tactics as well.
Learn from The Best at Asher
The world of government marketing is unlike any other area of business. It’s one that many companies would love to enter, but doing so successfully requires learning entirely new ways of doing business. This is what we at Asher Strategies help businesses do: make that transition from B2C or B2B to B2G, with time-proven strategies and tactics for successfully selling to governmental agencies.
While we go into far more detail in our intensive training workshops, here are some of the things a new entrant into the government marketing sphere must understand.
4 Tips to Help You Succeed When Marketing to Government Organizations
One of the best ways of learning the ropes is to partner with an established and usually larger company which has already been successful in government sales. The government maintains a mentor- protégée program specifically to encourage these sorts of partnerships, which usually see the protégée acting as an auxiliary arm of the mentor.
It’s free to participate and if you find the right mentor, you can receive invaluable on-the-job training as well as making vital connections.
Government marketing is not only for huge enterprises. Quite the opposite, in fact. Agencies are given specific goals to meet in terms of sending work to small businesses, which is tracked in the Federal Procurement Data System. This means that a smart small companies regularly check that system for agencies that aren’t meeting their quotas and therefore will be more receptive to meeting new possible vendors and service providers.
In B2B marketing, you often have to take guesses as to what the company might be interested in buying. In B2G, you often have that information in black and white, via the Office of Management and Budget. In some cases, you can get great information on what an agency will be looking to buy, and tailor your sales presentations to match.
You can’t market to the government without spending a lot of time following politics and even news information about departmental personnel and their projects. Having more sources you can connect with will help you “connect the dots” between news items. You will soon be better positioned to do th early work necessary to win new contracts. You might even get in on the ground floor when the RFP is being prepared. That’s the real key to long term success.
Learn More from Asher Strategies
We can quickly prepare you for the realities of government marketing. Contact us today!
Asher Strategies is a resource to help businesses of all sizes become better at government marketing, contract bidding, and development training. To this end, we have put together a short glossary of some of the most important terms involved in government sales. If your organization is new to government contract bidding, be certain to familiarize yourself with all the terminology on this list.
Allows an agency to establish an ongoing relationship with a contractor to continually provide a product or service as needed.
A consultancy firm or individual dedicated to advising businesses on making new contacts within the government and improving their bidding procedures. Business development consultants are generally ex-government and their own personal list of contacts is a major selling point.
A business development strategy is a standardized approach for cultivating new business opportunities either from existing accounts or by targeting new accounts. Strong development strategies are a must for businesses looking to grow in government contracting.
Training focused on business development processes, particularly those for B2B or B2G sales. A strong business development training seminar can significantly improve a business’s chances of landing new government contracts.
Periodic evaluation visits from GSA officials to contracted companies, overseeing, and reporting on their management of contracts. These visits can touch on almost any area of contracting and business being done.
A unique nine-digit business ID number provided by Dun & Bradstreet, required for identification throughout the government contracting system. One is necessary for each physical location of a contracting business, and they can be quickly obtained for free online.
One of the primary central Request for Quotation tools, facilitating contract requests and bids for most government agencies.
The official point-of-entry for high value procurement opportunities and contracts with a minimum value of at least $25,000.
The standardized set of laws and procedures for all government agencies seeking contracted businesses partners. FAR covers acquisition planning, as well as contract development, bidding, and oversight. Only a handful of agencies are exempt from FAR, notably the FAA and the US Mint.
Marketing tactics specifically targeting the Federal government and its various agencies. Government marketing is heavily focused on personal outreach aimed at individuals within those agencies, similar to Account-Based Marketing tactics in B2B fields. Targets include procurers, decision makers, and end-users.
Training courses and seminars which teach the intricacies of finding and targeting the right individuals within government agencies, as well as how to phrase communications to achieve the best results.
Any company which has successfully registered with the Federal Government as a certified contractor and has begun competing for and completing contract jobs. This includes obtaining a DUNS number and registering in the System of Award Management (SAM).
A lucrative form of government contract that allows for unlimited product/service purchases within a given contracted timeframe. IDIQ contracts are often used for on-demand services, and are often streamlined in that once one is in place, relatively little additional negotiation is needed for orders within the scope of the IDIQ contract.
Schedules (contracts) which are awarded to multiple contractors at once for use by many government agencies at the same time, to facilitate purchasing when no one vendor could handle the entire demand. Many IDIQ contracts are also MAS.
Contracts which are government-wide, providing products and services to multiple agencies at once. Schedules are generally long-term and based around offering bulk discounts for huge orders.
A small business which is controlled, owned, and\or operated by one or more US service veterans who have been wounded and disabled in the line of duty. SDVOSBs may receive preferential treatment or have contracts set aside specifically for them.
The official US Government registration system for all businesses seeking to handle governmental contracts. Registration is free, and necessary for making bids through any online or offline contract portals.
The independent government agency tasked with providing support services to the rest of the Federal government, such as procurement and transportation. The GSA centralizes most government purchasing and oversees government contractors.
WOSBs are at least 51% owned by one or more women, as well as being primarily run by women in terms of both day-to-day operations and long-term planning. Like SDVOSBs, WOSBs may receive preferential or exclusive contracts.
Training courses and seminars through Asher Strategies can give any business the tools they need to succeed in government marketing and contracting. Our highly-experienced experts understand the ins and outs of the system, and can provide you with key insights into how to make the most of the contracting system.
Contact Asher Strategies today to learn more.
There is a misconception we try to dispel in our government marketing seminars, and that is the idea that small business government contracts never happen. Many perceive government contracting to be so much of an “insider’s game” that smaller organizations simply have no chance to succeed.
This is not true. In fact, the Federal government offers several resources, programs, and opportunities aimed specifically at smaller organizations. While there are still challenges to be overcome, it is entirely possible for small groups to find levels of success while growing their own ability to steadily obtain more robust small business government contracts over time.
So, for those who are new to government contracting, or investigating the possibility, we offer a quick guide to some of the ways small business government contracts can happen, as well as some online resources to explore.
One of the single most common ways that smaller operations get their foot in the door is through partnerships with larger contractors. It is extremely common for large contractors to take on contracts which are beyond their internal capacity, and sub-contract out portions of the work to smaller groups.
These partnerships generally come in three flavors:
The other alternative, of course, is to simply wade into the fray and start looking to directly compete. Government orders come in all sizes, and often small orders from equally-small branch agencies will go overlooked by larger concerns looking for bigger contracts. This opens opportunities for small businesses to start making inroads at agencies. These small jobs also have the benefit of frequently being less political or focused on who-do-you-know networking.
The obvious first stop is FedBizOps, or FBO.gov, which is the central repository of all open opportunities in the system. There will generally be tens of thousands of contracts open at any given time, and a large number of them small. Find one that fits your niche, and you’re set.
For the forward-looking, there is also the Forecast of Contracting Opportunities Tool which allows advanced users to peek into the contracting system and see contracts which are not yet “live” but likely to become so soon. This can be invaluable for planning future strategies.
Asher Government Strategies offers training and seminars to help operations of all sizes succeed in their bids for Federal contracts. Contact us today to learn more about our highly successful training programs.
Big changes are coming to the world of IDIQ contract bids, thanks to the Trump Administration. On April 18, President Trump signed an executive order which will bring significant changes to how Federal contracts are given out, with a specific emphasis on “Buy American” initiatives.
The executive order calls for sweeping changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Part 25, which will eliminate a lot of loopholes in how contractors adhere to the Buy American Act (BAA).
Some of the main points covered in the EO include:
It’s important to keep in mind that Executive Orders cannot create law, but they can issue guidance to all relevant executive-branch agencies as well as to the Justice Department.
While some aspects of April 18 Executive Order could theoretically require Congressional action, it would be unwise to assume it will go unheeded. To the contrary, it’s likely that the Trump Administration will be tenacious in pursuing these Buy American goals, which still seem achievable.
Nothing will change immediately, and it’s likely that some time, at least a year, will pass before major changes begin to occur. None the less, now is the time for those seeking IDIQ contract opportunities to start making strategic shifts to begin to qualify.
Obviously, those contractors using primarily domestic sources will benefit greatly here. Those who are already comfortable in their domestic focus may want to start reaching out to their government contacts and making this known.
However, be prepared for extra scrutiny. It is extremely likely that these orders will be taken as a reason to pry into your procurement procedures, supply lines, and other aspects of your business. It is also likely that agencies will err in favor of strict interpretation of Buy American laws, even in gray areas where some leeway was previously allowed. When in doubt, attempt to reach out to your contacts for guidance or more information on how they interpret the Trump EO.
In our government sales training courses, we emphasize a wide variety of skills necessary for successful government marketing and contract bidding. Many of these focus on the inter-personal aspects of such sales, as well as how to build a successful contract bid.
However, none of that matters if a bidder cannot get the bid into their agency on time. This would seem like an obvious matter, yet every year, sob stories emerge of contractors who shot themselves in the foot by missing critical proposal deadlines. Let’s look at one recent instance of this, and how to avoid allowing this to ever happen to you.
In a darkly amusing ruling recently, the GAO made it clear just how inflexible FAR rules are when it comes to submissions being received by the deadline. The short version is that the Western Star Hospital Authority waited until the last moment to electronically submit their contract proposal, less than an hour before the 4 PM deadline for receipt. However, due to some electronic variance, the emails containing their proposal were not received until roughly two hours later – after the deadline. So their bid was discarded without consideration.
You probably see where this is going. Western Star lodged a protest with the typical “It’s not our fault the email servers messed up” argument, but the GAO wasn’t having it. Proposals had to be received by 4 PM, and this wasn’t. Protest denied.
It also didn’t help that the agency receiving the submission had their IT backtrack all the logs to verify the emails did not enter government systems until after the deadline. Therefore, whatever caused the delay, it occurred in the private networks outside government control. While this probably would not have made a difference to the ruling, it did ensure Western Star had no leg to stand on.
The moral of the story is obvious, but to spell it out:
As we teach in our government sales training courses, government proposals aren’t like papers in college. The regulations are usually inflexible, and you will not get points for effort. It is inestimably foolish to wait until the literal final hour, as Western Star did.
Further, there is a specific reason you would want to submit at least one day early. One of the only exceptions to the “late is late” rule comes from FAR 15.208(a)(1), which states that a “late” proposal can still be considered timely if it’s submitted via authorized channels and is received within the government’s network before 5PM on the day prior to the deadline.
If you’re 24+ hours ahead of schedule and have the bad luck to see your proposal lost in the government’s network after that, you’re covered. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.
The competition to get government contracts – particularly the lucrative IDIQ contracts – is fierce. There are entire industries built upon nothing but providing services to the many arms of the US government, and competition can be fierce to be among the winners.
The government sales training seminars we provide at Asher Strategies are about helping you build the skills to succeed, and grow your business even as others fail. There are many key traits of a company which consistently grows its government businesses. These are only a few of the skills we can teach you:
Top Traits of Growing Organizations Focused on Government Sales
There is no ‘down time’ in government sales contracts. Even if you are already at 100% capacity, you should still be seeking to nail down every new contract you possibly can. Should you ever find yourself in the enviable situation of not being able to get the work done, there are plenty of options -such as subcontracting- to increase your fulfillment capacity. One of the things that really hurts long term growth is the roller coaster ups and downs of work which happens when pressure for sales is only applied when you need the work.
One of the biggest traps a government sales organization can fall into is being seen as a single-service company, only good at one specific function. Avoid this, because it may mean an end to growth. Selling new things to your current customers should be about 15% of your revenue growth. Seek multi-department, multi-service contracts and demonstrate your flexibility. Position yourself to provide as many services as possible, without losing the ability to deliver quality.
Harness the full power of your organization, not just one or two departments, to help expand your service offerings and be recognized as a reliable partner for many functions.
Despite the fierce nature of the game, it’s sometimes inevitable that partnerships will need to be formed to fulfill a particular government contract or request. Be flexible enough to allow this to occur when necessary. Even if it means splitting profits, having part of the pie – and the internal contacts which go with it – is far better than having none.
4.Your Greatest Marketing Is Excellent Execution
Whatever the contract requires, see that it is done right. The companies who get contract after contract, from agency after agency, are the ones who have demonstrated their competency. Deliver consistently excellent results and you will become favored by your customers and the procurement officers.
Learn from The Best at Asher Strategies
In our government sales training seminars at Asher Strategies, we focus on the prized IDIQ contracts, particularly getting more tasks on current contracts. Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity ongoing contracts are among the most lucrative a business can receive from the government, and the ability to secure IDIQ new tasks is what defines many truly successful government contractors.
We want to teach you the skills your organization needs to consistently land those contract task orders – how to focus your proposals, how to get them in the right hands, and how to nail negotiations. However, if we were to boil down the strategies, these are the attributes a company must have to succeed in IDIQ contracts.
Asher Strategies has a legacy of excellence, showing companies how to best reach out to government agencies and secure more IDIQ contract task orders. We aren’t simply bragging about our contacts within the government – we teach you the skills to cultivate and leverage your own contacts, forming partnerships, and building your company through excellence in services rendered.
Contact Asher Strategies today to take your growth to the next level.
If you intend to get government contracts, then your business development sales team must be at the top of their game. It’s that simple. Competition for IDIQ contracts, tasks on those contracts, and other government work is high, and only those who know the world of government contract bidding inside and out are going to be able to succeed. Read More