Are you trying to figure out where to focus your government outside sales or your public sector strategy? It would be very difficult for an SMB VAR to focus on federal AND state/local business – it takes a lot of bandwidth to do both. There are pros and cons to each segment.
Pros – big money! You win a federal deal, it’s likely to be BIG
Cons – hard to get into; there are a lot of big integrators and resellers that own this space
Pros – they’re local; this makes for easier networking opportunities
Cons – funding/small $; grants may need to be applied for and these deals are smaller in scale
We’ve said before that a big key to winning government business is the networking side. We know the expression, “people buy from people they know and like”, so you need to be the person they know and like! With state/local business, you have the opportunity to attend trade shows or conventions. You may even be able to go directly to a purchasing decision maker within a local organization and sit down for a meeting and introduce yourself. The personal contact opportunities are much better with state/local. In addition, it’s a good starting point. You get a win with an agency and you can use that to your advantage to create a case study or just talk to the fact that you won the business when you meet with other agencies and offices. So, unless you already have a strong foothold within the federal space, we would recommend you start on a smaller scale with state/local opportunities with your government business.
That being said, remember that you need to have a solution/niche that you can focus on and then you can decide the specific agencies that you want to target. Regardless of whether your niche is asset management, point of sale, e-citations, etc., there are opportunities and grand money available.
Do you already have a sales strategy for the government space? If so, do you focus on federal, state/local or both? Do you have any “wins” and success stories within the public sector?