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Get in the government game

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Government is the biggest consumer of products and services in the world – regardless of country or region. From stationery, to ICT, to vehicles – and everything in between – governments require a multitude of products and services in order to function.
However, many businesses have no clue about how to get involved with government contracts, and more perceive the red tape associated with government businesses as an inhibitor.
“The business-to-government (B2G) market can be daunting for even some of the largest companies, but can provide a number of benefits for organisations that have solutions that government requires,” says Louise Robinson, sales director of CG Consulting. “This is especially true of governments in emerging economies.”
She explains that success in the B2G space depends on using the same techniques that have proven successful in the commercial market, where a company determines the needs of the customer and provides solutions for those needs.
“A government agency works similarly to a corporation and merely has different purchasing methods. Some agencies prefer to break up a contract and award it more quickly, while some prefer to bundle all services into one and award the big prize to one business that can then subcontract it out to partners. The same requirements for business with large companies apply to government.”
Robinson believes the key to success in obtaining government contracts is the same as in the commercial market: the right leads. Many companies miss out on potential government contract revenue because they are speaking to the wrong people, and many do not understand how different government agencies operate. Obtaining this information is crucial in the B2G sector.
“Government organisations will not take a risk on any business, so you need to build solid relationships. However, that is difficult to achieve if you are speaking to a different person every time you are trying to pitch your solution.
“The answer lies in ensuring that you are speaking to the right person from day one, and the easiest way to achieve this is by using a specialist who already has that information to get your foot in the door. And, since government contracts take a long time to procure, time saved in making the initial contact with the right purchasing official is essential,” she points out.
“You need to make sure government buyers are aware of your company and its strengths, even before you actively pursue a specific government contract. Keep in mind, some government agencies may be interested in products or services that you would not necessarily think about pitching, but can be just as lucrative.
“Using a service provider that initiates contact through a clean, comprehensive database and then builds those contacts into actionable leads is the simplest way to get into the government arena.”
She adds that doing market research is just as important in this sector as in the commercial arena, and can help companies target the right types of contracts. Hundreds of other companies may be approaching government agencies with similar solutions, so businesses need to be aware of what they are looking for.
CG Consulting’s comprehensive government databases and lead generation services – locally and across Africa – have provided companies of all sizes with a painless opening into this space.
“The success our clients have seen in the government environment proves that it’s all about who you are speaking to. By taking the time and the stress associated with making these connections out of their hands, we have made every contact more profitable in the long run,” Robinson concludes.