In the last issue we briefly discussed how departments buy goods and services, in general terms. We finished with a few points on the example of providing training services to government departments, and on the concept that departments generally provide training services themselves.
In the last issue we briefly discussed how departments buy goods and services, in general terms. We finished with a few points on the example of providing training services to government departments, and on the concept that departments generally provide training services themselves. To elaborate on that same theme, we need to look at what types of training, departments need.
For the federal government, the Canada School of Public Service provides a curriculum that public servants need to follow. The curriculum is based on the requirements within the public service to support the major government theme of developing leaders: key leadership competencies, strategic thinking, management excellence, and so on. For a supplier to break into that market would be nearly impossible. On the other hand, departments can supplement the basic curriculum with as much training as they see fit, and they might be on a variety of topics. Generally, though, they want the courses and course material to be department specific. To determine whether or not a product or service can meet a department’s need, it is necessary to determine who to talk to, and for this purpose obtaining defined government contact information from an information services company like http://www.government-mailing-lists.com is invaluable.
Within the federal government hierarchy, there are a few approaches to making sales, but no approach can guarantee success. One approach is to join associations where the weight of numbers, and the partnership with like-minded suppliers, can provide access to departments and valuable assistance in determining marketing strategies and tactics. Another way is to directly approach, in person, government staff in positions of sufficient authority to influence the procurement process. By this I mean the person or group who would have a need for your particular product or service. To follow the example of training, if you are selling training in organizational design, then there are a couple of ways to go. You can determine if there is an organizational design and development group, and approach that group’s manager. You can determine if, within the department or agency there is a procurement activity, and if so, does someone have accountability for procuring training packages; and then approach that individual. Strategically, if you can obtain an introduction to a senior manager – from the Director level on up, then this can ease the activity. Remember, however, that practically every purchase over $25,000.00 which is not on Standing Offer, as we discussed a few weeks ago, will need to go to tender regardless of the inclinations or interest of the potential client in your offering.