The landscape of Federal purchasing is awash with opportunities to conduct market research and gather information on potential customers, competitors and prime contractors. If your company’s products or services are more oriented toward local government customers, however, gathering data and finding out who your actual customer is can be tougher. I suggest some key steps to developing a local contracting “action plan” to guide your marketing and outreach efforts:
- Create Some Collateral: Develop a capability statement for your business, describing your work experience/qualifications, “differentiators” (reasons why they should contract with you vs. other companies), and your relevant codes and registrations (for instance, “VendorLink registered”). A capability statement is a very key piece of marketing collateral in the government space.
- Develop a Targeted Target List: Draw up a quick “hit list” of cities/counties who you think would have potential for outreach. Research the specific purchasing department/office within that municipality/county who is your true customer – for instance, facilities management, tourism, economic development.
- Get Face to Face: Reach out to those specific offices to set up appointments or conversations to share information about your business and ask about typical purchasing or bid methods for your products and services. Be prepared with a pitch about what you can offer your potential customer, and make sure to bring your capability statement as a leave-behind.
- Tell Your Story: Look for any and all chances to network with agency purchasers, administrators, and business development program managers. Local contracting can be highly relational, and spend time developing relationships with potential customers.
The SBTDC’s NC Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) counselors routinely assist clients with becoming more strategic in their marketing and outreach to government, including local governments. Contact us today for assistance!
Originally published in the June 2016 NC PTAC Newsletter – Selling to the Government.
Noah Robins is an NC PTAC Government Procurement Counselor serving the 28 western counties of North Carolina. Prior to joining the NC PTAC team, for three years Noah worked in the Asheville/Cullowhee SBTDC office as an Assistant Business Counselor, advising startup business owners on all facets of small business ownership and management. Before coming to the SBTDC. More about Noah >>