Is your sales and marketing public sector specific?
Are you struggling to win government business? It might be because you haven't tailored your sales and marketing strategy to this new audience...
So, you’ve decided to sell to the public sector, great! But if you are hoping to approach marketing and selling to this new and (likely more complicated) market the same way you usually do, you might want to rethink that strategy… We aren’t talking about a drastic change and the basic sales and marketing principles remain the same. What is different when it comes to the public sector is how you communicate your product, how you approach buyers and most crucially how your solution will be procured.
In this blog, we will give you some tips on how to manage your expectations and how to start tailoring your own sales and marketing strategies to the public sector!
How well do you know your buyer?
The best sales people are the ones that know their prospects inside and out, understanding their needs, wants and most importantly challenges. When trying to sell to the public sector, this is even more important. In a world where compliance is king, and every move is subject to scrutiny, it is vital that every sale is by the book and above board. If your company is seeking to target HMRC because your solution is perfect for them. Learn all there is to know about what projects they are working on, how they buy their tech and what certifications and accreditations their suppliers need to have.
Once you’ve understood the challenges of your target department through your marketing you will be able to communicate how your product is their solution! Mention on your website your public sector work, even create a page dedicated to your government solutions and services. List on that page any case studies and use cases you have that might resonate with gov, and most importantly include mentions of any frameworks you are on with links to the listings.
Are you involved in the right discussions?
Public sector often buys from a select pool of suppliers, but how do you become one of those suppliers? To know whether or not opportunities are in the pipeline or potential contracts on the horizon you need to get talking to people! Attend supplier engagement events, get your companies name out there and help those departments shape their procurements. Engage on social with departmental CIO’s and build up your reputation as a market leader. Come up with a content marketing strategy that is specific for the public sector, create thoughtful pieces that will resonate with buyers and get them to engage with you.
Are you managing your expectations?
Sales people it would be fair to say are not famed for their patience. But, when it comes to selling to the public sector, this is a must have quality. Sales cycles within the public sector (if using traditional procurement routes) are longer than in the private sector. Boxes must be ticked, conversations had and often, a consensus reached. Because of this, it can be months before a decision is made and the sale closed. Which leads us on to our next point nicely…
Just because you lost out on that particular project, it doesn’t mean that you have wasted your time. Too often, suppliers spend eternity licking their wounds and don’t try and reconnect with past buyers. It could be a whole host of reasons why you didn’t win that specific procurement, they might have reallocated the funds, had internal challenges or simply found a supplier that better suited their requirements. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t scope to work together in the future. During that procurement process you will have been privy to a lot of information about how that organisation evaluates its suppliers and what cultural fit criteria is important to them. This information is gold dust to report back to the marketing team who can then tailor their messaging accordingly.
In order to successfully sell and market to the public sector, suppliers need to understand the intricacies of the market and communicate it in a way that is relatable to government buyers. Think solutions and not problems, not how they can help you but how you can help them!