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GOTCH-YA… AT LEAST ONE AGENCY GENTLY COUNSELS INDUSTRY SALES PROFESSIONALS

Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Dan Callahan

This caught my attention and I recommend it to all sales personnel, business developers and managers of same:

 http://fedscoop.com/open-government-and-an-appeal-to-vendors/

The Veterans Affairs team (Wells and Levin) apparently got little value out of overt business development persuasion efforts and are requesting more of an altruistic approach, which, they believe will help the VA.

It’s worth noting that the government does not very often tell us how to sell, but do so in this article.  

Key excerpt:
Sales and marketing professionals sometimes fall victim to the well-remunerated temptation of trying to move dollars in their employers’ direction, instead of helping us better understand what the questions should be. The tension can be palpable.

More importantly, these meetings don’t help anyone get their work done. Vendors who approach these discussions as ordinary sales calls are missing the point, and squandering a great opportunity to teach. Because we are trying to solve old problems in new ways, it would be much better if we invested the time discussing the art of the possible: the cutting edge of performance, of capability, of customer satisfaction, of taxpayer value. Help the public sector better understand best industry practices (not just yours), and how we can demonstrate, pilot, and then measure them.

I will resist the temptation to defensively nit-pick; Wells and Levin make a good point and we should take it at face value.  They (i.e., government procurement managers) are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for being.

Did any readers attend this VA Industry Day and (if, yes) can you provide your opinion on their comments?