Expert: Vendors, be prepared for spike in demand during ‘federal buying season’
Brian Grainger is one such savvy marketer. He is vice president and general manager of Spectra Logic Federal. Spectra Logic Corp. is a Boulder, Colo.-based data storage manufacturer, and about 30 percent of Spectra Logic’s North American revenue is generated by federal business. Grainger established the federal division of the business – Spectra Logic Federal – in 2004.
GovPro.com got Brian Grainger’s insight on the federal fiscal year-end.
GovPro.com: As a seasoned government sales executive, what are you seeing as we head to the end of the fiscal year?
BG: Historically, Spectra Logic Federal has seen approximately 35 percent to 40 percent of federal programs awarded and funded in the August-September timeframe. While it is extremely beneficial financially to vendors, it does heavily burden our manufacturing and shipping organizations. I would advise that companies be prepared for the increase in demand this time of the year.
GovPro.com: Do you have any advice for government marketers on federal fiscal year-end buying practices? What strategies work?
BG: For companies to maximize sales during the “federal buying season,” they need to understand that this is only half of the equation. While the government may award the majority of programs in August-September, your company will fare much better if the specific agency has already had interaction with your sales/marketing groups throughout the entire year.
Many companies only focus their attention on federal agencies for two to three months a year instead of 12 months, and customers do notice. People like buying from vendors they feel truly understand their market and needs.
GovPro.com: Are there any information tools you rely on for landing government business, including federal?
BG: A great way to “get in on last-minute RFPs” is to subscribe to services like governmentbids.com or bidnet.com. These types of services alert your sales/marketing team when an agency has a requirement for a type of product that you can supply.
GovPro.com: Any other advice you can offer to government marketers as we near the end of the federal fiscal year?
BG: If you have a federal GSA schedule, update it regularly with correct products and pricing. A large part of Spectra Logic Federal’s business is with the GSA contract, and having outdated or incorrect information really slows down the process when agencies go to procure products.
If you are considered a small business, make sure you are “registered” with the small business group at each federal agency. Most agencies have them, and in some cases an agency is required to spend a certain dollar amount with small businesses per year. (This enables a very small fish to co-exist in a very large pond).
GovPro.com: Thank you, Brian Grainger of Spectra Logic Federal.