September 30th marks the end of the federal government’s fiscal calendar, which means that the year-end buying season is upon as we continue through this fourth and final quarter. So, how can you make sure that your company is considered by government procurement officers and end users who use your product or service (and influence buying decisions)?
No matter what you sell – from janitorial services to agricultural supplies – these marketing tips can help you secure federal fiscal year-end business.
Win Your Share of the Federal Budget
1. Plan Ahead
Hopefully, you haven’t waited until now to think about how you can make the most of your federal year-end sales. It’s important to have built relationships with those influential government folks by way of integrated marketing efforts and effective marketing throughout the year – and sometimes longer. A strategy with a component of developing relationships and a foundation with government users and buyers can result in a solid return on investment when September comes.
Nevertheless, a carefully crafted marketing plan can help you undertake those final critical months of the year and help keep your business top-of-mind. Strategic planning between sales and marketing should start in June or sooner, with campaign execution starting in mid to late July.
2. Understand and Target Your Top Customers
Make sure your team is aware of and understands the latest federal happenings and directives. Use your knowledge of these mandates to frame your year-end strategy about how exactly your product or service can help. Showing your awareness and intimate understanding of what’s required of an agency can help you differentiate your small business – leading with specifics and a tailored approach versus a general marketing message.
Keep in mind that it’s also best to keep your purview small by focusing on your top three agencies. This is not the time to be all things to all people or explore new business in new markets.
3. Offer a Year-End Special
Although offering discounts isn’t always effective (particularly in a competitive market), you can distinguish your business in a few ways with a year-end special offer.
In general, ensure your specials align with your overarching year-end message. This could be as simple as offering a one-hour quote turnaround during the month of September.
4. Market Your Contracts
Having a GSA Schedule is great, but don’t ignore the other contracts in the lineup. Not everyone buys off the GSA contract. If you have other federal contracts, include them on your marketing materials. And if you are a sub-contractor, don’t forget to include information about your partner contracts, too.
5. Market to Procurement Officials
Keep in mind the procurement and contract officers. They’re responsible for spending the money within the agencies; they’re busy gathering quotes, processing paperwork and making sure the budget is used as efficiently and responsibly as possible.
If your budget allows, consider developing a sideline marketing campaign to specifically target contracting officers and procurement teams to help keep your business name and contact information top-of-mind.
Lead with a message that communicates how you can simplify the year-end buying process. Offer extended hours, one-hour quote turn-around or other value-adds to help ease the process of doing business with you. And be sure to update your website, email signature and other outbound marketing pieces with this information.
The fiscal year is coming to a close, but there’s still a wealth of opportunity for your small business to get its share of those year-end government dollars. Have other questions about government contracting? Check out your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), which provides local, in-person counseling and training services to businesses that want to sell products and services to federal, state and/or local governments.
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