The end of the federal fiscal year presents opportunities (with related video)
Editor’s note: The federal government's fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and that often means accelerated purchasing activity at federal agencies as the curtain comes down on FY 2013. Savvy government marketers are prospecting for federal contracts right up to the last minute on Sept. 30.
Here are the end-of-the-federal-fiscal-year views and marketing tips from federal sales expert Eileen Kent. A title that has been bestowed on Kent is the Federal Sales Sherpa. She conducts competitive analyses, develops federal sales action plans and offers federal sales training. Kent is also owner of Chicago-based Custom Keynotes, a firm that offers sales and marketing consulting services.
If you are a service company trying to uncover opportunity between now and the end of the federal buying season, I want to be honest, there is probably only small volume opportunities left for you, as most of the funding is most likely tied to the incumbents. But, there is nothing wrong with asking your current happy clients— "Who would you call on if you were me?" as they know people who need you and could place a personal call on your behalf and make the introduction—which could speed up the process if the agency he/she introduces you to needs something quick. In sales we call this the "monkey's paw." That is the loop at the end of the rope sailors use to hook a ship to a dock. When you close a small deal, it could help you prove yourself and then "land" the big opportunity coming in soon after.
If you have any blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) out there that have not been used by the agencies, call your clients and remind them that there are funds left. It's a "use it or lose it" time, so you don't want them to take money from your BPA and put it to another higher priority purchase.
Also, if you have access to any good sales lead lists and you're selling products, you could use an e-mail newsletter that's informative and educational to catch the eye of federal prospects. However, that's not as personal as a phone call with a personal e-mail to follow. On the subject of good sales lead lists, call me if you don't have any. I can point you toward some great resources.
At the end of FY 2013, my take is that you need to be in front of your client all year round. Federal marketers should be developing strong relationships and presenting sample specs and budgets throughout the year. That way, when money suddenly comes down the pipeline, federal agencies and buyers will think of you first.
So, once all of this crazy federal buying time calms down, and you want to get organized with a solid federal sales action plan that captures the opportunity well before the federal feeding frenzy, I'm here to help you build that plan. Thanks so much!
In this video, Kent advises businesses how to find prospective federal government customers and how to land government contracts.