Last month my colleague Gabrielle Zimmerman wrote a two-part blog series on Communicating with the Government. I put it out for discussion on LinkedIn asking for people’s experience with communicating with government and learned a lot.
Here is a summary of the advice that I got.
- You need to target developing relationships with both the acquisition community and the potential users. The potential users may be harder to identify and get in to see. Both of these groups are extremely busy and your interactions should be short and to the point.
- Attend Agency Industry Days or Commanders Conferences to make initial contact. These are times when the government acquisition community is looking for discussion with industry. Be friendly, concise, and prepared. Follow-up contact should be by phone and not email.
- Select different messages for different players.
- Acquisition folks need contracting details: a one-page capabilities statement works well. Be sure to include your NAICs, DUN S, CAGE, Business size/type and any contracting vehicles you have.
- If you get in to see the users, make sure you have done your homework and that you already know what they do. Try to get them to explain their needs from their point of view so you can continue the discussion with how you can help them specifically. Be prepared to concisely explain what you have done in the past that has been similar to their needs, how you solved a problem, improved a process, or saved the customer money.
- If you are selling an established product, military customers want to know details (i.e., What is the product range? Is it rugged? How long to the batteries last?) Be prepared to provide an information sheet with detailed information on the product.
Many thanks to the members of the LinkedIn Business Development, Proposal Management & Writing, Marketing & Sales from CapturePlanning.com and GSA & VA Schedule Contracting Group for a rousing discussion on this subject. So what do you think? Any important points that I’ve missed?