Expert: Tips for contractors as the federal fiscal year winds down
Yes, the federal fiscal year (FY) ends Sept. 30. Through that date, spending often accelerates as agencies work to spend their full budget or risk losing unallocated funds in the next fiscal year.
In this commentary, Mark Amtower advises businesses how to land federal contracts during this important federal selling season. Amtower is an award-winning government contracting consultant, B2G LinkedIn expert & trainer, keynote speaker and Amazon best-selling author. Read Mark Amtower’s views below.
Federal agencies are already queuing up their priorities for the end-of-FY spree that occurs each year. Over 40 percent of the federal discretionary budget is spent in Q4 (July-Sept), with as much as 35 percent being spent in September. This year will be no different.
If you sell commodities, you really need your inside and outside sales teams running at full speed. This includes up to midnight in the last time zone on 9/30/16. I have heard stories from clients about getting literally last minute orders. When they ask why they were selected, the answer is “The other company stopped answering the phone.”
I know a CEO who made pizza and soda runs late into the evening on Sept. 30 for his sales team, part motivation to let them know he was really part of the team and part so they had the sugar and carbs to keep going.
If you are selling higher end products and services, you need to have your sales team, project managers, and any on-site (in the government facility) personnel looking for work expansion through contract modifications, task orders and more. Leverage your Multi-agency contracts (MACs) and Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs).
Focus your end of FY tactics on where you are best known. This is not a good time of year for prospecting. At this point you should know enough about your target agencies to understand their priorities, know the likelihood of them buying from you, and know the contractual vehicles they will use to acquire the goods and services they need.
A newer avenue not used by many contractors is social selling. Here, contractors leverage social media to deepen their relationships with government buyers and influencers. They also share pertinent content with them during a time when they are less likely to take part in a face-to-face meeting.
Social selling is the process of interacting with current customers and prospects through social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. It includes sharing pertinent content, posting and answering questions, and generally staying on the radar of those you know as well as those you want to know.
Social selling starts with a solid, informative personal profile for your sales reps and program managers; it’s somewhere you can be easily vetted. Your outreach should be consistent and offer valuable information to the customer.
Social selling is almost a misnomer in that it is an influencing process, not actively selling.