I speak with executives with lots of technology companies both here in the Washington, D.C. market and around the country– all eager to sell more to the Federal government. If I had to bucket them into ones that I know are successful versus those that are probably just scratching the surface, one of the trends that quickly emerges is how seriously each company takes its PR and marketing to their Washington customers.
The Federal government cannot be viewed as simply another vertical, like financial services or education. Beyond the vast differences between civilian and defense agencies, there are so many intricacies and nuances that must be considered to be successful. I believe that if you have a good sales team in New York you can be successful in financial services. But the Federal government is different, especially with an administration that is 100% focused on reducing costs and making government more efficient. Vivek Kundra and Aneesh Chopra are the most visible technology executives the government has ever had, and they make noise every week. No area of government is safe, so successful companies must be here and part of the conversation.
Flying in once a month just does not cut it, as one of your competitors will be filling the minds of decision-makers with thought leadership content. Campaigns must be course-corrected and messages delivered every day. And of course, the message cannot be episodic. So here is my advice – if the Federal government is an important arena for your business, make sure you are dedicating the time and resources in terms of people and money to do it right. You don’t want your sales team paddling upstream in a market that is difficult to navigate even in calm waters.