Imperative Actions for GovCon Business Development
Every government contractor knows the challenges of getting in front of government decision-makers, but with the almost daily changes, conference cancellations and growing restrictions due to COVID19, these roadblocks just got bigger. But now with nearly everything going virtual, are you prepared? There are 2 imperative things you need to do to keep your business development efforts moving forwards—perhaps even faster!
Most government contractors rely heavily on personal, face-to-face meetings and relationship building in order to influence key government decision-makers, and win new contracts. These interactions can range from one-on-one engagements to large trade shows. But, on March 3, 2020, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released its Preliminary Guidance to Agencies during Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which greatly cripple these abilities.
The memorandum instructs all departments and government agencies to ensure that telework has been fully incorporated in contingency plans and that as many employees as possible have been identified as telework employees. It also encourages agencies to reduce all “non-essential” travel. In addition, the memorandum includes guidance on visitor access to federal offices and buildings.
Next, on March 7, 2020, OPM issued additional guidance to heads of executive departments and agencies reaffirming the urgency for telework and “social distancing” and continually reviewing and updating their emergency and continuity of operations (COOP) plans.
Ongoing memorandums are being continually updated and issued by OPM, local government officials, and the CDC.
How Coronavirus Threatens GovCon
- Restricted access to decision-makers
- Reduction or elimination of trade show and conference opportunities
- Impaired relationship-building
- Inability to influence decisions
Government contractors that do not create a strategy, followed by proper implementation and measurements, to address the new change of communication environment will see the above threats result in a reduction in closed contracts and decreased revenue.
How to Fight Back
Remember, you are not selling to the government, you are selling to people. And the first thing people do when trying to solve a problem or find vendor resources is to visit the internet.
82% of Federal decision-makers rated search engine results and corporate websites as their top-rated sources for research according to studies by Market Connections.
1. Optimize and Increase Utilization of Your Website
Your website is your #1 top marketing asset! It should be the central hub of all of your sales and marketing activities and is an investment in your core brand. It can also be your company’s number one salesperson, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to nurture, educate and guide your prospects through the buyer’s journey and towards a closed deal.
Most government contracting companies are under-appreciating the importance of their websites and under-utilizing this opportunity. Your website can be right there in front of the decision-makers you want to influence when you can’t—at their full convenience. Websites are the best way for COs and Program Officials to gain an understanding of what is available to solve their current requirements. Will they find it on your website, or your competitor’s?
According to Market Connections, Federal Decision-Makers Consume Online Content!
- 44% download content from vendors they work with
- Over 1/3 are willing to spend 1 hour+ reading work-related ebooks
- 25% will incorporate online content into RFPs/RFIs
- 73% will download and share online content with colleagues and supervisors
Now, more than ever, your opportunity to get a leg-up on your competition is your website. If your company is not investing time and resources into your corporate website, you are probably losing government decision-makers to your competitors who are! And don’t forget to set up processes and tools to measure the results of your efforts.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an all-encompassing term that describes the activities required to get your business found online. Again, remember, you are selling to people. Your target decision-makers are searching for information about your services and information to help them research and choose vendors. SEO is the most effective way of generating high-quality, long-term, traffic to your website. Your website is the most effective way of educating decision-makers about your company and services in an environment that YOU control.
Government officials and COs are performing market research and using Google searches to help them find what they are looking for. Is the government finding you when they do a Google search? The more your website pops up, the more exposure your company receives and the more credibility it earns.
We have learned from government decision-makers that it is all too frequent for them to search for an alternative to the incumbent vendor, but are unable to find the companies that offer the products and services they are seeking. The result? With no other option, the contract stays with the current vendor.
Here are a few resources to learn more:
Website Checklist for Government Contractors (downloadable checklist)
How To Lead Your Federal Buyer To Your Door So They’ll Buy From You (recorded webinar)
How to Choose a Website Company (in-depth guide)
Investment in your online presence is critical to getting in front of—and staying in front of—your local and federal decision-makers. The effects on industry and government due to the Coronavirus—and the subsequent obstacles to business development efforts—make finding your business and influential website content online even more imperative.
With in-person business development opportunities being restricted, now is the time to review your digital presence and make improvements.
- Strategy: Create a plan to budget time, resources and money to improve your digital presence.
- SEO: Implement search engine optimized content to get found and drive your government buyer to your website—the environment YOU control.
- Website: Implement improvements to your website. Use imagery and content to gain credibility and share subject matter expertise to influence decisions and win more contracts.
- Measure: Set up mechanisms and tools to measure progress and results.
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