Government contractors face a number of challenges: sequestration and other budget constraints, multiple decision makers, long sales cycles and stiff competition, among other things. Many of these are outside of your control as a government contractor, but what you can control is your presence as a thought leader.
What do I mean by thought leadership? In short, establishing the credibility of your company by positioning your leadership as experts in your field. By promoting the expertise of your company’s leaders—through blog posts, bylined articles in well-read publications, social media, etc.—you’ll foster brand awareness and increase visibility.
Thought leadership is an effective tool for attracting and closing more business in a commercial environment, but in some cases it can be even more important when selling to government agencies, when reputation is key and brand awareness can be the difference between your RFP getting picked up and read or thrown into the “no” pile.
You’ve likely built your company around some very capable individuals and have a wealth of knowledge to tap into. Utilize those resources and position you and your team as experts in your field. Consider the following:
- Identify the questions that are of concern to your target government agencies.
- Answer those questions and show how your depth of knowledge can address the problems your government customers face.
- Identify the channels that will reach your target customer (trade publications, conferences, online resources, etc.) and promote the content you’ve created through those channels.
- Don’t promote your company or services, rather promote your expertise.
- No matter how dry the topic, find a way to make it interesting.
A combination of bylined article placements in relevant publications, media interviews, blogging and other social media strategies will help you to be part of the conversation much earlier in the procurement process and help you outshine your competition.
Reston-based technology firm, Qlarion, has seen great results from its thought leadership effort. With the help of Verasolve, Jake Bittner and Adam Roy, Qlarion’s CEO and VP of Operations, were recently interviewed and featured in The Washington Post about their Permit Finder app, a tool that was designed to help local governments operate their permitting process more efficiently. As a result of this media placement, Qlarion received calls from multiple potential customers and partners seeking similar solutions. While not all media placements result in such significant and immediate results, this is a great example of the power of thought leadership.