As we get closer to the end of the federal buying season, there are still some steps small business contractors can take to close business now and cross the finish line in a strong position. In this third episode of the “Federal Race to the Finish,” Larry Allen sits down with Guy Timberlake, Chief Visionary Officer and CEO of The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, to discuss how small and mid-size VARs and government contractors can compete for federal budget dollars now and in FY’18.
According to Guy, starting early is a critical component to success as federal contractors race for federal dollars. Guy’s advice for small business contractors looking for federal dollars in FY’18 is to make yourself visible early. Begin marketing in Q2 and Q3 in order to position yourself in front of the customers, organizations and partners you are selling to, so they will know who you are, why you’re there, how they can reach you, and how you can help them through the sales process.
Small business contractors should have a specific approach and conduct market research and intelligence on customers and prospects in order to save time and reach the right people early. As Guy says, there is no “one size fits all” approach for small businesses looking to market to federal agencies. The same pitch won’t work the same for one customer as it will for the other; in fact it may work against you. You have to gain intelligence ahead of time before you try to do business with a customer so you know what’s on their mind and what they are looking for.
When asked about the “throw everything against the wall approach to government business” that many small business contractors follow, Guy says, “The good news is, sometimes you win; the bad news, and what’s normal is, sometimes you don’t. What ordinarily happens and what we see more often is those companies typically burn through a lot of time, money and probably even morale and essentially cease to exist. It’s just not a sustainable model.” You need to have a defined approach, a purpose, and way to measure results. Understanding how your customers buy and what they buy is important.
Finally, Guy’s advice about shaping deals in the digital age is to have a formalized marketing approach. Create awareness with thought leadership and collateral so customers can see you earlier when they are first defining their requirements and when they go through selection.
Listen to this full episode in the “Federal Race to the Finish” series for more insights on how small and mid-size VARs and government contractors can compete for federal budget dollars now and in FY’18.
Full episode here:
Did you miss Episode 1 and Episode 2 in this series? Click here and here, to listen now. Join us next time for Episode 4 of Federal Race to the Finish when host Larry Allen sits down with federal marketing expert Mark Amtower, Managing Director of Amtower & Co., to discuss how effective marketing can set your organization apart.