Four steps to ensure a good public sector strategy
Getting on to a framework, such as G-Cloud, is just the start. Suppliers need a good public sector strategy!
The public sector is a vast and complex market to be successful in, especially if you’re an SME just starting out in the B2G world. You need to have a plan. Here are some key steps to consider when setting up a successful public sector strategy,
1. Understand where you fit in
Not many companies benefit from taking a wide net approach when it comes to selling to the public sector. The 30,000+ organisations within the UK public sector may at times face similar challenges, but more often than not, they are different. It’s unlikely that your value proposition will be equally suited to a small, rural local council as well as to a large central government department. Approaching the right organisations will save you time and effort, and it will show you’ve done your homework.
We suggest doing some market research to get a good understanding of the public sector landscape and the challenges that organisations are facing in today’s societal, economic and political contexts. Within this, where does your solution play a role?
Lastly, ensure you understand how procurement works. This knowledge should feed into all of your sales and marketing messaging to show that you aren’t rushing into this – you’re aware of the regulations your prospects have to adhere to, and you’re willing to support that process.
2. Write down a practical action plan with milestones
There are some logical steps to take if you’re looking to sell to the public sector – one of the most important steps being to get listed on one or more frameworks. Opportunities to do this will be at particular times in the year, which can start to form an action plan.
Around these dates, you must be proactive. Don’t sit back and wait for frameworks to pay off themselves – be active in building a reputation and effectively communicating your solution both online and face-to-face. Write this into your action plan, in the form of campaigns, events, engagement plans, sales targets.
Write it down – what are your goals this year, and how will you achieve them using the tools available to you?
3. Have an effective, targeted preprocurement function
Pre-procurement (or pre-sales) is an important phase in your action plan. Being listed on frameworks and tendering for contracts is important for closing a public sector deal, but it’s also crucial to build strong relationships. Engaging with an organisation about their plans, priorities and challenges prior to a procurement being formalised, can take up to 12 months to really establish a good fit and demonstrate a need that your solution can meet.
Having an effective sales function at the pre-procurement stage means that you can begin to help government Buyers to understand their own requirements and shape tenders. This is what is meant by “avoid bidding blind” – you’ll have a much clearer view of where a tender has come from and what’s happening within that organisation.
4. Build a framework portfolio that’s a business enabler
To access a lot of tenders, or to be buyable via a catalogue, you will need to be listed on Frameworks and/or Dynamic Purchasing Systems. There is no limit to how many you can get listed on, however it’s important to understand how each one works so that they act as enablers and not barriers. Being able to converse with your prospects about your framework portfolio, and how they can buy your services, shows you have the experience and knowledge that a lot of Buyers look for in a potential partnership.
Whether you’re listed on one framework, or multiple, it’s a good idea to have a support system in place to provide advice and guidance when you need it. This can mean the difference between a deal that’s closed or lost to a competitor.
We would narrow this down to:
- Be informed
- Be understanding
- Be buyable
Do ensure your wider team are looped into your plans in the public sector, and that they’ve received the necessary training and support to have effective conversations with Buyers, and write effective bids for Buyers.