So you are just hanging up the phone after talking with the government POC for the meeting with the potential customer team, excited that you have a chance to engage in the upcoming acquisition with some ideas you have had for a while on the challenges the government may face in improving the services you can help them deliver.
You review your latest capabilities sheet and brief and decide that it hits the points you want to make. You take a quick look at the “white paper” that got your company’s idea in front of the government team and reflect on how much work it was to conceptualize it down to 10 pages in writing.
You take a look at your calendar and mark off the date and time being sure to forward your name to security at the Agency so they know you are coming in a couple weeks. You think, “finally, I was able to get through and someone will listen to what I have to offer!” You hit the send button acknowledging the invitation and think, “with two weeks before the meeting”, I have plenty of time to get the slides and white paper ready” and head out the door for an early evening.
Carefully think about what you just did……you just hung up from a conversation with the government contact, the ideas and points they made were fresh in your mind and you assumed your existing marketing tool and concept paper was going to be sufficient to carry the meeting with the government POC. In my experience, it never is…..and NOW is the time to go deeper into the capabilities you can offer to assist in solving their challenges, and assisting with their problems. Who knows if the meeting is really about what you thought it was……
NOW is the time
Gather notes from your conversations and to focus the aspects of your white paper into not more than 2-3 pages of succinct points that will make the case for your capabilities. Dive more deeply into what you anticipate the issues and concerns to be remembering that the technology or service you can offer is “the easy part”. Understanding the challenges of the service delivery and environmental mechanisms is the real issue. After all, if anyone could do it, they would not have chosen you to speak with. You have a properly differentiated, high value, appropriately priced offering that has been demonstrated in other environments you can show to them as the higher quality offering that can be delivered with confidence and speed. You have an outline of the key factors associated with your solution that allows the government to see not only the “what”, but the “why” they should choose your company. And of course, you can do this with available talent or assets in the timeframe the government is seeking.
You have a chance to wrap the why you, around the what, you are offering and ( I know, just for a minute…before you turned back around and focused.) you thought of just taking your “off the shelf” brief and your generic white paper as a means of conveying your message? Now is the time to get focused on showing not only do you understand the technology/service delivery model or product, but you understand the compliance requirements, government environment and potential liabilities (not in the legal sense) associated with the solution you have to offer. You have a chance to show the government some critical factors associated with your solution that they can build those into the bid.
Get back to Work
So time to get back to work on your white paper—which now becomes a focused solution to a problem (proprietarily marked of course) and the capabilities briefly tailored to that specific government environment. The government does not want to buy the solution you developed for someone else’s problem—they want to buy a solution to a problem tailored to their environment. (When I worked for a large DOD contractor, it was not unusual for us to deliver version 12 or 13 of white papers and briefings during a government/industry session.) Yes, it is time to drag your entire set of BD resources (even if it is only you and another) into a discussion about the government session—treat it as if it were gold—simply because it is a golden opportunity for you to showcase the “why you” to your future government customer. Refine and tailor your paper and marketing offerings to address the issues you know the government is facing. This is not just another meeting on your calendar and it is NOT a chance to sell your services. What you say? It really is not…..
So let’s see why LESS is more…….
As the meeting approaches, realize this is a chance to engage and partner with the government on developing a solution to a problem….so it really isn’t a “sales” call. By focusing on LESS, you can develop a relationship with the government team on ways to go forward together in addressing this challenge and potentially others in the future.
LISTEN eloquently…..yes, eloquent is normally the way we speak or deliver ideas….but here the idea is to ensure you are not just waiting for your turn to talk. LISTEN to each thought and assess the meaning in context of the issue. Don’t just parrot back what the government lead states, LISTEN and interpret for your experts the true nature of the problem and what they are looking for in a solution. LISTEN eloquently in a way that makes your solution forceful by directly addressing the issue in the environment it has to be delivered.
EDUCATE/Inform the Government on aspects of the problem they may or may not yet see. Demonstrate the ability to think through the problem set with them by contributing to their knowledge base and providing insights into their problem set in ways they have not yet thought about.
SPEAK to the truth about how you would deliver on any capabilities required to meet the requirements. Help the government see the problem from the industry perspective and any solutioning efforts that may require additional skills, resources or technology to deliver. You are setting in motion the government’s ability to refine requirements to your “why”? Now is the time to make sure a full and open dialogue is in place.
SOLVE the issue—on paper or at least in concept. Address the knowns and unknowns in terms the government will resonate with to allow a MORE full understanding of the issue and requirements to show them how to get to an outcome that will benefit them. Address the challenges you or any offeror will face and show how your solution is MORE feasible, MORE affordable and of MORE value to the government.
- SPEAK TRUTH
L E S S will Always Help You Stand Out
You want to make sure the government has all the information they need to make an informed decision about the “What” to get to your “Why”—that is how you make LESS into MORE—LESS can lead to more value and more benefits for the government because they had meaningful dialogues with industry. No one likes to be sold to……by sharing information and assisting the government in the problem resolution you will stand out by how you engage.
Learn more and speak with Kevin about challenges you may be facing at our Monthly Come Together on 2/10, February’s Topic is: Stand Out by How You Engage
Meet the Author: Kevin Hoey, Former Senior Director, Programs and Business Development Executive for General Dynamics Information Technology where he planned and directed efforts to drive growth and business development operations focused on Space and Missile Defense community, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Marine Corps Requirements generation, Space and Missile Defense Command, Army Aviation and Missile Center, Army Materiel Command and Missile Defense Agency in a wide range of professional, IT and engineering services. Developed comprehensive business plans defining potential market share and opportunities for growth in Missile Defense, engineering services, IT and Energy markets. Influences the development of relationships with business partners, potential customers and prospects within assigned technical and business areas. Mentor and Business Coach for the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama. MS from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces as well as DOD CIO, IA, IO and EGov Certificates from National Defense University. MS from Florida Institute of Technology. Colonel, USMC (Ret.)