Thursday, February 5, 2009

Now that I have my GSA Schedule, What is the Next Step?

Selling to the government is a difficult task even with a GSA schedule contract in hand. In today’s competitive market, an enterprise must possess the market intelligence, the most workable tactics and strategies, and the knowledge of where a firm’s offerings stand the greatest probability of acceptance by the procuring Agency.

We often speak with companies that hold schedule contracts who state that their revenue expectations have not been realized from these contracts. The reasons are not necessarily simple but most often we have found that these same companies did not have a solid, well-thought out “plan of attack” for marketing off their schedule contracts.

A basic starting point is to develop a Road Map. To simplify matters, the Road Map consists of 4 basic elements:

Discovery – What are the products/solutions that most closely align with both historical, as well as current mandated requirements? Do any of your products/solutions have unique discriminators that would provide a more favorable competitive position for your company?

Target Customers – Who buys what you are selling, the Government, Prime Contractors or a combination of both? Which Government agencies have the largest budget and contract actions in place or in the planning stage?

Acquisition Method – How do your target customers buy what you are selling? Do they use schedule contracts or other methods?

Sales Strategy – Can your products/solutions be sold directly to the Government end-user or is the Prime Contractor your customer? These are two entirely different approaches. The former is on the “push” side of the equation while the latter is on the “pull” side of the equation. What are the major program actions that need to be targeted over the next 6, 9, 18 and 24 months to position your products/solutions in a pro-active sales mode?

Follow the old adage: proper planning makes for more predictable results and favorable expectations. A well thought-out plan will provide your company with a step-by-step roadmap, tailored to your company’s specific products/solutions that permit rapid “traction” in the Government markets.

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