You don't need to be a satellite manufacturer to have a value proposition for the NGA. They are a large agency that has a diverse mission and a long list of constituents. Their data and telecom networks pass bits generally the same way other corporate nets pass information, so as with all the IC agencies, you can divide their needs into two categories: mission specific (geospatial analysis and production) and IT support infrastructure (i.e., databases, applications, networks and systems (DANS)).
If you've been following this blog, you know I like a varied approach to penetrating these complex agencies. Unfortunately, they do not exist to make life easy for sales folks, but I have found if we know how to work with them, there is more to be gained then by complaining.
If the CIA is your business development target, then it will help to know how to start breaking into their universe (legally, of course!). Here are a few tips, collected from my specific experience as well as general knowledge of the account.
If you're like me, after the activity from this fall, you need a few days away from the usually grind to refocus your planning. I did this in August and it was amazingly refreshing. (Actually, I need a six month sabbatical but that will have to wait!) Over the holidays (or in January) is a great time to relax and consider your business development activities since Labor Day.
One of my pet peeves as a sales professional is when other sales folks don't do their homework before visiting with a client or prospect. Most business persons have seen it done or been a part of it: a show-up and throw-up sales call. Whichever side of the equation you happened to have been on, these are not pretty meetings. Selling - on its best day, is a bilateral conversation, not a one sided technical dump, from the "sales person" towards the prospect.
I just returned from a large AFCEA conference that was well attended by military personnel - both uniformed and civilian. If you generally see the glass as half-full (and employ the few tips offered below), then conferences (both large and small) can be great opportunities to engage the clients; however, without the right attitude, they can be very unsatisfying. The key is to understand how to harvest these events for all they're worth and go into them with a plan. Here are my top tips for small business owners to make these conferences work.
Now is a perfect time to plan for the fall! Whether or not you have teed-up some end-of-year revenue, this is typically a lull period for the federal contractor. One of the best things you can do is recommit to networking during the fourth quarter (September through December). I say this because I am like many IT professionals: I am comfortable in my cave (i.e., my office) and I am just as content to spend a day in the office, cranking out 200 e-mails as I am suiting-up, and getting out into the community to build relationships. But I regret the seasons when I don't get out enough. The period between Labor Day and Christmas is--by far, the most active period to energize your outreach! And, perhaps because I am an extrovert, I never fail to make some valuable acquaintances when I step out and build relationships. Sure, it takes work, but the benefits can be valuable.
There is plenty of reason for excitement and hope, if you are focused on the federal market. But this certainly does not mean it's easy to hit your revenue targets. The key, as with any sales effort, is this: change means opportunity. There is plenty of change going on across the federal organizations, especially the military and the IC agencies. So, if you have not studied the federal landscape since the new Administration moved into the White House, this is a great time to do so. Your task as a small business owner (or executive) is to clearly map your unique offering to those changes, and then be the best you can be at delivering it.