Working with the government can be difficult for many reasons. They’re detail oriented, things can often take a long time to process, and developing relationships can seem arduous at times. Whether you are currently working with the government or not, you’re sure to have heard all the common obstacles and objections you might face as a vendor. We decided to put together a list of the top 7 tips we’ve found that validate your company with government agencies to use as a guide! These tips will reduce the risk of working with your company by offering validation and comfort to those buying what you sell.
Tip #1: Media Coverage
- Once you deploy your product or service to an agency, get a story in local media through newspapers or local television. Media outlets are always looking for good stories and the government tends to only be recognized when something goes wrong. If your offering has helped an agency, share it with the world by contacting these news outlets with the agency’s permission to share their experience. The article or video can be used and repurposed as a marketing piece for years to come as you grow your business in the public sector.
Tip #2: Agency Testimonials
- Government agencies hearing from another government agency is 100x more powerful than anything you say. Start by finding one agency that is a raving fan of your company and create a written summary of the deployment on how your offering helped them meet their needs. Taking this a step further, ask the agency if they are willing to take calls from other agencies who are interested in taking the steps of working with your company. Ideally you will want to have a testimonial for each agency type: State, Local, Federal, and Education.
Tip #4: Website & Social Media
- This may sound obvious but make sure your website looks PROFESSIONAL. Not an outdated version of your company brand from the 1980’s. Many web designers can give your website a modern feel by using a template for under $1,000. Add some references to government terms and include agency logos if you have current customers in the public sector. You also need to claim your company profile on all major social media platforms: Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Post at least once a week to stay relevant with your audiences.
Tip #5: Trade Shows
- There is an unlimited number of trade shows to attend and you want to focus on a few strategic shows for your industry. We will eventually be meeting in person again but for now, the major events have shifted to virtual trade shows. Seek out opportunities to speak/present as a subject matter expert. But remember, no one wants to hear an hour long sales pitch. Make sure your presentation is geared to sharing industry knowledge that will help government agencies have an understanding of challenges other agencies are facing and how they can solve these problems. If your product or service helps solve the problem, this would be a natural segue for them to seek out information with your company, ultimately leading to sales. Here are a few organizations that host trade shows for targeting agency types:
- Local Government: NIGP (National Institute of Purchasing)
- Local Government: NACO (National Association of Counties)
- State Government: NASPO (National Association of State Procurement Officials)
Tip #6: Board of Advisors
- Teaming up with people who currently work for government agencies or have worked for agencies in the past is a simple, easy way to increase the “validity” of your company. The board of advisors should be between 4-6 folks that are well-known industry experts to provide strategic direction of your company. They can also assist in providing references and referrals to help grow your business.
Tip #7: BBB Accreditation
- Pay a fee to become an “accredited vendor” of Better Business Bureau. You can use the BBB logo on your website and email signature.Registering for the BBB will allow you to respond to any negative reviews and they will help mediate resolution through an assigned representative. Get (and keep) A+ rating from BBB to share in your validation marketing.
You might be doing a few of these suggestions but make sure your company executes on ALL 7 tips. This will provide your government prospects with peace of mind to take the next steps in buying what you sell.