Who Do I Speak With at Government Agencies to Sell My Products or Services?
Calling into a government office is like calling into any company. You first have to understand the layout of the organization and roles of the individuals. Think of an organizational chart for a business with the CEO at the top, then VP of departments, with managers above the front line workers. An agency has a similar structure, but it depends on what type of agency you are targeting. If you are calling a city, the City Manager is at the top overseeing the departments. If you are targeting a school district, the Superintendent would be at the top.
Now that you have the basic framework of how the agency is structured, your next step is to identify the right person to contact. This is where businesses are sometimes confused because they are unsure of who to make an initial contact with to present their offering. A good rule of thumb is to call the agency phone number from their website and ask for them to steer you in the right direction.
If you are looking for a more strategic approach, the best plan of action is to involve the end user (person who would be using your product or service) and also include the buyer (person who is responsible for allowing the budget to be approved). Bringing in multiple people from departments will help avoid the behind the scenes conversations that take place and most of the time your offering is lost in translation. No one knows your offering better than you, right?! Controlling the narrative of how you can help the government agency is important so all questions and concerns can be addressed on the spot, instead of delaying the back and forth communication that might or might not take place during the approval process.
Let’s go through a real life example….
ABC Enterprises sells cybersecurity protection to keep hackers away from sensitive information. You might want to start at the top of the food chain with the City Manager, but at the end of the day, they have someone in the agency that they trust for these types of decisions. You should focus your energy on researching who the IT Director is that would be implementing the software, as this person would speak the same language and have a better understanding of how you can help. After that meeting goes well, always ask, “Who else would need to be involved in the decision making process for final approval?” The IT Director might have their own budget or they would have to go through the procurement department for additional funds if this service was not budgeted for in the beginning of the fiscal year.
This leads us into our next point of having your product or service as part of the budget, making sure funds are allocated to your company. Remember that government agencies always have the money, it just matters what department is receiving the allocations. If the Sheriff’s office budgeted for new body cameras but the IT department has raised concerns with vulnerability, funds can be moved around to accommodate urgent needs. The Sheriff’s office might have to wait until the following year to get an upgrade in order to help the greater good of the city with cyber security protection.
One pro tip that we teach in GovSales University is how to identify who has purchased what you sell in the past from your competitors. If you are interested in taking a further look at how we can help save you time from researching government prospects, you can book a call using the link below.