Abnormally long sales cycles, rigid procurement policies and high-charged political climates dissuade some technology companies from fully engaging with the public sector. All too often, early-stage companies gravitate to more predictable and low-hassle private markets for initial revenue growth. What they end up leaving on the table in so doing, though, is their cut of a relatively stable global market that spends over $4300 billion annually on IT.
While there is no perfect formula to generate and sustain growth within the GovTech and EdTech markets, here are two things technology companies can do to move the needle faster.
Leverage Public Sector Contracts from Resellers
The greatest barrier to entry in public sector technology sales may very well be government contracts. If companies don't have access to these contracts, it can be difficult to procure in an efficient way with the public sector. For the U.S. Federal government, the General Services Administration provides a centralized procurement vehicle for most agencies. Companies can partner with organizations such as Carahsoft or immixGroup to utilize their GSA contracts for a relatively small fee. State, local government and public education entities can also use the GSA contract but more regularly utilize state and other cooperative contracts. While it is important to eventually enact contracts directly with the associated state or local entity, technology companies can piggyback on reseller contracts from companies like SHI and CDW-G for accelerated access. These organizations will work out a margin agreement with technology companies and are valuable resources to procure government business faster.
Partner With Public Sector-Focused Trade Associations
Trade associations provide a stellar platform to broadcast your products and services to a targeted audience. These associations can be found at international, national and local levels. Companies become association members for an annual fee to participate in regular industry events and sponsor marketing campaigns to members. In addition, some technology companies may enact collaborative agreements with these associations to avail products/services to the full membership base at a volume discount. Below are some examples to help you get started:
- National Association of Counties (NACo): http://www.naco.org/
- International Society for Technology in Education: https://www.iste.org
- National League of Cities (NLC): http://www.nlc.org
- Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA): http://www.afcea.org/site/
- American Association of State Transportation Officials (AASHTO): http://www.transportation.org/
- Educause: http://www.educause.edu
- National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO): http://www.nascio.org