How Do You Train Your Government Business Development Team?

Although landing one can take a bit of legwork, government contracts can provide a steady and long-term stream of revenue.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that the federal government alone spends more than $91 billion annually on contracts, with most contracts ranging from $30,000 to$100,000.

With state and city contracts also available, businesses and their sales staff have multiple targets to consider for government business development. Before trying to cultivate prospects within the government, sales managers and sales teams should train in government sales strategy. The following five tips are key.

 1. Match products and services to specific government procurement forecasts.

Each government office prepares a formal listing of the types of items and services it needs to procure; this list is called a procurement forecast.  You can find an agency’s list on their official website or by using a search engine  at or

For state government lists, check with state universities, which typically have a procurement technical assistance expert on campus to guide sellers in finding contract opportunities.

Using an acquisition list will help you find opportunities, qualify prospects and tailor your sales presentation.

 2. Network and forge relationships with people in all levels of government.

Politicians and many government workers are accustomed to networking as part of their jobs involves meeting citizens, lobbyists, and business people.  Salespeople should get active and establish relationships with influencers at all levels of government.

Take advantage of open door policies, meet-and-greets and public events – especially those scheduled specifically for business networking. Both federal and state government groups hold annual conferences and summits to discuss contracting and how businesses can win contracts.  That’s the perfect place to exchange business cards, chat and learn about opportunities. Groups like the National Association of Small Business Contractors can apprise sellers of key networking or contracting events.

 3. Don’t be afraid to start with a small contract.

While landing big contracts would make your day, focus on establishing a history of working well with government sectors first. This is influential to government buyers, no matter the size of the previous contract.

Build a reputation; then, build bridges to more impressive deals.

 4. Join the General Services Administration (GSA).

If your sales team has hustled and landed federal contracts for at least two years, your business has a good chance of being accepted into the GSA scheduling program, which is a one-stop purchasing agent that will make it much easier to land future and multiple government contracts from any agency with less red tape.

The program will also establish a minimum contract price to help with negotiations.

 5. Formally register with government agencies as a contractor.

This might seem rudimentary, but many businesses neglect this step. When a state or national agency is looking to hire, often they will send special notices to contractors registered in a database. To assist with government business development, every sales team should make sure their business is at least listed with the Federal Contractor Registry.   The Central Contractor Registration for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is another potentially lucrative database to join.

Most registries allow online submissions; be sure to send in up to date information each year.

The rewards of contracting with government are plenty. The contracts are reliable, often pay higher amounts than standard business contracts, and are paid promptly.


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