If you keep up with our blog on a regular basis, you may recall one of our recent posts about the state’s new procurement direction. In that post, we covered how government intends to increase expectations of the vendor community while reducing the overall supplier base. After that, we went into a little more detail about vendor expectations in a follow-up post entitled, “Traversant Group’s State Technology Predictions for 2016.” Since that post, we have collected our best tips for you about the sales basics we think all vendors should understand. Here they are.
Understand Process Improvement
Most vendors have marketing materials and roadmaps embedded into flashy slide decks. It’s almost impossible for government officials to keep them all straight, even if there is a real need. Our prediction (and hope) for 2016 is that vendors will stop pointing to catalogs and start finding immediate operational problems that they can help resolve. And, these are not what the vendor views as a pressing issue – what agency doesn’t want a state-of-the-art solution like a Fortune 500 company?
What will set you apart is whether you know what is keeping the department director up at night. Here’s a hint: It’s not likely technology, but rather the process that the technology supports. With Governor Ducey’s emphasis on KPIs and lean process improvement, agencies are under pressure to not only define success, but also to achieve it. This puts the burden on the vendor to sort through budgets and reports, as well as to attend meetings and speak with government officials to learn more.
Keep a Score Card
Traversant Group has been engaged in the procurement reform effort at the state of Arizona for many years. This includes discussions about vendor performance measures. While we have not seen the state unveil a formal vendor performance program yet, the new ADOA director has announced vendors must come prepared to meetings with their own performance score cards. It’s time to pay attention. While we haven’t had any government official request a score card from one of our clients, it is worth thinking this through in case you are asked for one.
Prepare for Negotiations (Vendors and Government Officials)
When you have people like ADOA Director Craig Brown and the State Procurement Administrator Judy Wente advising vendors that they will aggressively be seeking price reductions, it’s a good time to take notice. In fact, we have helped guide a few companies through this exercise with the state procurement office. If your contract is up for renewal, it’s time to take a look at the pricing model you bid in your response. Don’t be afraid to request a meeting and talk to the procurement officer about your industry. But, be prepared because Traversant Group has been told that the Ducey administration wants to see results on paper.
Have a Contract Strategy
The last prediction that we’ll throw out there is how important it will become to have a contract strategy. With the state’s goal of consolidating suppliers, it’s important for vendors to think carefully about remaining competitive and building strong partner relationships. It’s also key to think through a variety of contract options and determine what is available if you end up with no means to sell to the state.
If you find yourself needing help with any of the above, Traversant Group is the Arizona expert in developing winning sales strategies. We will guide you through every step. Send us a message and we’ll be in touch to help.