Now that Federal fourth quarter is looming on the horizon, GovCons start asking about where those end-of-year dollars lurk! You know: opportunities for next year’s money to be moved forward if our buyers’ projects are ahead of plan, or unspent budgets that can get shuffled to make sure the funds are spent before the fiscal year has wrapped up.
Are we ready for a turnkey sale?
The earlier we start, the better. If we wait until after Labor Day to start our end-of-year efforts, we’re too late. Instead of waiting until the last minute, we need to get our Q4 plans set in spring, so that we’re just doing a second or third round of follow up in July and August. Our sales and marketing folks need to be in front of current and prospective customer and partners, learning about and supporting our Federal government customers’ priorities for this fiscal year as well looking ahead to what’s likely to roll over to next year.
Drive Our Vehicles: Lead with language about our vehicles to make it easier for our customers to get to us
At a Government Marketing University IDEATION call, one chief procurement officer stated, “If [an agency program office is] coming at me in the last quarter of the year especially because you have an unfunded requirement, or even an emergency buy, I’m going to lean towards existing contract vehicles. I’m going to look to things like the government-wide contracts, our strategically sourced contracts, or the GSA schedules, or other vehicles that make it easy for me to get it done quickly.” Our sales teams, contract shops and legal departments must be ready to go and on the same page.
Be Ready for 20 Questions: Focus our marketing materials on last-minute needs and answer last-minute questions.
For a quick turnaround purchase, focus on their needs at the end of the buying process. The Content Marketing Review tells us that Q4 is not the for lengthy white papers. Our buyers want product demos and trials. Our subject matter experts (SMEs) need to be on hand to answer every query about our products and services, working with our sales team to create readily accessible FAQs in both public-facing and internal locations to answer immediate questions and keep the messaging consistent across our team.
Get Buyers On Side With Our Set-Asides: Identify small business status early and often to primes and agencies alike.
Fiscal year-end can be our buyers’ last chance to meet their small business goals. If our buyers already know us as the low-risk, well-qualified, choice and on vehicles they like to use, then our small business status can make it easier for our buyers to work quickly. Our marketing needs to make it easy to see our status as an SBA 8(a), WOSB, SDOVSB, HUBZone, or other small business right along with our top quals and the best values that set us apart from everyone else.
Any time we’re aiming to line up sole-source wins in time to meet our Federal government buyers’ end-of-year procurement priorities, we have to give them content that aligns with exactly what they’ve told us they need, while highlighting our small business status and the contract vehicles that the data shows are their “Easy” button.
One more thing: we must always be looking ahead to next fiscal year. Any time we’re in front of our customers and partners, we want to check in with them on how the longer-term acquisition horizon may be shifting in the next 12-24 months, gauge how current incumbents are performing, and nose around for any intelligence on the level of customer satisfaction.