Strategies for marketers as the federal fiscal year-end approaches
The federal government’s fiscal year draws to a close on Sept. 30. The end of the fiscal year often means substantial purchasing activity at federal agencies as the curtain comes down on FY 2014. It also means loads of selling opportunities for experienced government marketers and contractors between now and Sept. 30.
Government Product News checked in with government marketing consultant Mark Amtower to find out about end-of-fiscal year selling strategies. Amtower is a B2G LinkedIn expert & trainer for companies and individuals. He is an Amazon best-selling author and host of the “Amtower Off Center” program on Federal News Radio. He is founder and director of the Government Market Master Forum continuing professional education program. Here are Amtower’s views. He is the founding partner of Amtower & Company. Amtower is based in Clarksville, Md.
GPN: What works in selling to federal agencies as the federal fiscal year draws to a close on Sept. 30?
Mark Amtower: There are several keys, but the basics remain: you must be a known source to the agency, so being in front of the buyers year-round is important. Don’t bombard with just sales material, but include some information (content) that they would find interesting as it relates to what they do (and what you sell). Be a “consultative” sales person, not a hard sell.
Make certain you are in touch more regularly as the year-end approaches, but don’t be too intrusive. Make it clear which contracts you have available for each customer. One other tip: When you are having difficulty making contact with key people in the agency, look for them first on the agency web site, then look them up and reach out on LinkedIn.
End of fiscal year special pricing, especially for products, can help as long as you don’t violate the terms of your GSA Schedule or other contracts.
GPN: Are there any strategies that federal agencies can use to manage their workloads and budgets at this hectic time of year?
MA: Contracting and procurement offices will be bombarded from both vendors and agency personnel: vendors selling, and inside personnel with requests. Vendors can make it easier by making certain they include contract information; agency personnel can help if they know and suggest a supplier.
GPN: What products and services are federal agencies buying as the federal fiscal year draws to a close?
MA: Pretty much everything on a priority, as needed basis. With lower budgets, we can assume that procurement offices have queued up dollars in one column and needs in another.
GPN: Are there any federal agencies where selling opportunities might be especially good as the current federal fiscal year draws to a close?
MA: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has the biggest budget; then the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, then parts of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); also, the U.S. Census Bureau is already slowly ramping up for the next census. Also, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service have good-sized budgets.
GPN: Thank you, Mark Amtower.