Federal agencies can be great customers because they remain some of the biggest spenders and their budgets stay fairly stable even during economic downturns. Yet sales and marketing teams used to marketing to consumer or commercial enterprise customers often find that their efforts fall flat in the government space — wasting everyone’s time in the process.

That’s because talking to the government customer can require a different approach, including the channels used to reach that audience and the messages included. Understanding those needs and preferences can help contractors and feds alike.

We recently surveyed 150 top government executives involved in the decision-making process for IT purchases, to understand directly how they get the information that helps inform their purchasing decisions. The results provide a road map for targeting this audience — and a valuable look in the mirror for agency leaders who wonder if there are better ways to gather the information they need.