No “I” in “Government Sales Team”: Creating High-Performance Selling Organizations


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For many years, we have worked with and studied companies that sell products and services to government agencies.  Some of these have been highly effective organizations.  Others never really understood how to win in the space.

Want to know one of the strongest indicators of government selling success?  Well, it’s not the sales team’s ability to make slick presentations.  It is not cutting-edge marketing campaigns or great search engine optimization strategies. It is not a huge price advantage or airtight patents that fend off competitors.

No, one of the single strongest predictors of government selling success is the organization’s aptitude for energizing a team of people around revenue generating opportunities.   Now the “team” we refer to here extends beyond the Sales department.  Of course, they bear the ultimate responsibility for winning the business.  However, in the world of government markets, salespeople simply cannot do it alone.  Find a company that consistently wins government business, and you’ll find a company that has succeeded in aligning a variety of resources and disciplines to support the deal capture process.

In consulting with companies seeking to generate more government business, we follow a process of examining several key resource areas.  Our ultimate goal is to provide insights on ways to better align various departments in order to provide the best chance at winning more business.

Here are some of the key functional areas we examine and just a few of the critical questions we attempt to answer during the discovery phase.

Marketing (for lead generation, branding and product development input)

  • Are lead generation processes in place, targeted, and effective?
  • Are results measured?
  • Are managers held accountable?
  • Is the relationship with Sales or other areas strong, or does conflict exist ? Why?
  • Is branding consistent with and supportive of strategic goals?
  • Do marketing tactics/materials align with the sales process (do the right materials exist for each step in the sales process)?
  • Are broad-market needs making their way into product development?

Sales (for customer relationship-building, pain identification and value portfolio definition)

  • Is a clearly defined sales process adopted and well understood?
  • Are incentive/compensation plans aligned with goals?
  • Do salespeople have the right skills/traits/motivations?
  • Do salespeople know how to effectively diagnose prospect pain/fear/motivations?
  • Do they know how to align company offerings with prospect needs?
  • Can they effectively manage and nurture the variety of required relationships?

Sales Engineers (for technical clarity and detailed customer need assessments)

  • Do sales engineers have the right skills/traits/motivations?
  • Can they effectively support customer relationship-building?
  • Can they translate complicated technical details into non-technical concepts?
  • Can they accurately assess problems and pose realistic solutions?

Proposal Writers (to document the translation of company solutions into customer benefits)

  • Can proposal writers dissect a complex RFP and grasp how to communicate value?
  • Do they write effectively with clarity and accuracy?
  • Are they detail-oriented and committed to error-free work?
  • Are they able to create effective visuals that help tell a complex story?
  • Can they manage tight deadlines and work well under pressure?

Partners (to access unattainable deals and vehicles)

  • Does the partner provide a more favorable conduit to a customer segment?
  • Are procurement vehicles and labor rates appropriate?
  • Are appropriate agreements in place to protect all parties?
  • Are financial terms appropriate and motivating?
  • Does the relationship create clear value for both partners and for the customer?
  • Does adequate support exist between the parties?

Management (to set priorities/policy that can hurt or help you)

  • Does management understand the unique complexities of selling to government?
  • Do they send conflicting or changing messages on priorities and goals?
  • Does the company’s organizational structure and resource allocation support success?
  • Are compensation programs appropriate and adequate?

Business Intelligence (to manage and gauge market feedback)

  • Are processes in place to capture market feedback?
  • Are technology tools deployed to house and analyze this feedback?
  • Is analysis routinely injected into decision-making and product design?

A high-performance car will be slower, less efficient and less desirable to drive if its wheels are not well aligned and properly balanced.  The same holds true with high-performance organizations.  If any of the functional components highlighted above are out of step with the others, the result will be a less than optimal revenue-generating machine.

If your government market-focused organization needs a diagnostic, a tuneup or even a complete realignment, Government Selling Solutions (GSS) can help.  For more information, visit www.govsellingsolutions.com.

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