The benefits and challenges of public sector targeting
Selling to gov can be tricky if you don't zone in on a particular department or sector. In this blog we explore the pros and cons of a targeted sales approach.
When it comes to selling to the public sector, it can be hard to know where to start. This confusion can often result in businesses setting their sights on whole public sector!
However, the maze can be navigated, the case can be solved, and the public sector can be sold to – it just comes down to targeting the right department. In this article we’ll look at the benefits and the challenges of public sector targeting and find out whether a targeted approach is right for you.
- Provides you with a clear focus in a very complex market
Targeting a sector helps you avoid wasting your time on trying to engage with anyone and everyone and as a result not reaching anyone. Your message won’t resonate with every buyer, particularly in a system as complex as the public sector.
- Saves time and money
Targeting everyone means suppliers can easily spread themselves out too thinly. As an SME, or in fact any business with time, budget or capacity restraints, not being refined in your approach means you could be over-pressuring yourself.
Smarter targeting means you can make far more effective marketing pushes within your restraints and reap the rewards for it.
- It’s best practice
When you are selling into the public sector, particularly if you don’t have an impressive sales track record already, getting your target market right is key.
Successful sales and marketing in the public sector is about knowing your buyer. Focusing on one or two sectors makes that much easier. Marketing and Sales can be customised to fit their needs specifically making your offering the right one!
Becoming familiar with one or two sectors means before long you’ll know the ins-and-outs – and who to get in touch with for different queries, you’re clued up on news and events, and you’ll become a trusted brand/face. This extensive knowledge leads to more sales.
- It can position you as an expert
Being highly knowledgeable about one or two sectors, as opposed to having a basic grasp on all of them, means you will quickly become an expert in that field, which is great for your branding. With time and a good marketing and sales strategy you could become an expert in issues faced by xxx department. Of course, your solution will be exactly what they need to solve them!
- Targeting is great for research and development (R&D)
With particular sectors in mind, you can develop and adapt your solutions or your products to cater more specifically to clients.
With a deep knowledge of a sector comes the ability to improve and expand upon a solution or a product. Effective targeting can not only grow your sales, it can develop your solutions and show you the gaps you need to fill to become even more successful.
Where there’s an up there’s a down, and where there are benefits, there are also challenges!
- Potentially missed revenue
This is the big and obvious one – if you take a narrower approach, you can effectively be cutting out chunks of your audience, which can mean you miss out on revenue.
As well as this, keeping all your eggs in one basket means that you could be more vulnerable to the competition.
- Choosing your target market is hard.
For a supplier whose solution fits many areas of the public sector, choosing which sectors to target can be hard. The same is true if you’ve had little or no experience with the public sector – it can be difficult to know where to start!
- It’s possible you could be hindering your R&D
Each area of the public sector is different, and the development of solutions could benefit from the experience gained from these different areas.
- What if it doesn’t work?
For an SME in particular, a failed marketing and sales strategy can have a big impact. Changing the way you market can be a risky business, especially for a small company that might not have the same resources to fall back on as a large company.
If you decide to target your solution at one or two sectors and it doesn’t work out, you’ll have to start from scratch, which can take up a lot of time and budget you might not have.
Making the decision
So, the question remains should you stick with targeting everyone and hope someone takes notice, or should you drill down and find that gov department that could really use your help? Changing your sales and marketing strategy can be a risk, but it can be a risk that pays off well in the long run!
If what you are doing is not working at the moment or you had some success but would like to have more, maybe the issue is in your targeting. Public sector is such a big and very complex beast, so it is not surprising that developing a sales and marketing strategy that works can be a challenge. In our experience, and we have over 80 years of it between us, getting your target market absolutely right and understanding their needs and problems is critical to winning business.