Post by Veronica Eyenga, contributing Women On Business writer
B2G (Business to Government) marketing requires different strategies than B2C (Business to Consumer) and B2B (Business to Business) marketing. Minor missteps that might be easily remedied in B2C and B2B marketing campaigns can cause major problems when marketing to the government. The sales cycle for B2G marketing also requires patience; Uncle Sam rarely makes snap decisions.
On the flip side, the federal government is the largest purchasing agent in the world, and Department of Defense (DoD) agencies are responsible for more of those purchases than any other agencies. When the federal government is your client, you’ll never worry about your client going out of business or skipping town without paying your invoice. And DoD agencies buy goods and services from thousands of companies of all sizes every year, regardless of the economy.
Here are five do’s and five don’ts that are critical for B2G marketing success:
- Prepare a professionally designed capabilities statement. This is the equivalent of a resume for your company. Make it no longer than 1-2 pages, and include facts, not fluff, about your capabilities and expertise. Also include the numbers an agency contracting officer needs, such as your company’s NAICS and SIC codes, GSA Schedule, DUNS Number, etc.
- Make it easy for an agency buyer to find government-related information on your website. Show your commitment to fulfilling government contracts by highlighting your government division, contact information for specific personnel assigned to government clients, and other “for our government clients only” information.
- Include case studies and testimonials relating to your government work on your website and in the print material you show to agency buyers. Build credibility for potential government clients by showing what you’ve done for existing government clients.
- Research the agencies and contracting officers who are your best potential clients. Find out the trade shows, seminars and other industry events they attend, and be there to network. Ask your existing government clients to introduce you to their counterparts at other agencies.
- Explore opportunities to be both a prime or sole contractor and a sub-contractor. Many contracts which are well beyond the scope of your company to fulfill have set-asides for small businesses. Develop relationships with prime contractors who can add you to their project team on their contracts.
- Under-price your goods or services. Being the least expensive option will not guarantee that you’ll win the contract, but it may cause the contracting officer to question the quality of what you are providing or doubt your ability to fulfill the contract at that price point.
- Embellish or exaggerate what your company’s capabilities are. You should be sure your company can deliver on every claim or agreement you make.
- Chase every opportunity. Responding to every opportunity is inefficient. Target the opportunities where you have the best chance to win.
- Wait to hear about contract opportunities. When an RFP or RFQ hits FedBizOpps (www.fbo.gov), FindRFP.com or other sites, your response is only one in a large stack. Agencies should know of your company and capabilities before any bids are even made.
- Make assumptions about the evaluation criteria. Take the time to clarify what the agency is looking for so that you can cater your proposal around it. If the opportunity exists to meet or question the contracting officer, use that opportunity.
All in all, when targeting the government sector, be sure to do your research, build relationships with agency buyers, and understand how to make your company stand out.