New Technology Sales to the US Government (Podcast Transcript)Aug 16, 2022
[01:12] Richard C Howard: Hey, guys. Richard here with Richard C. Howard and associates. Whether you're listening to this on our Government Sales Momentum podcast or you're looking at this in a video, we appreciate. The time you're taking today.What we're going to talk about is how to sell a new product or new technology to the government and talk a little bit about the challenges around that. So the first thing that you'll notice and I'll just use. It services as a comparison, right?
In general, if you offer It services, you're going to see a ton of RFPs and RFIs and sources sought. You can see acquisitions forecasts. In essence, there's going to be a ton of opportunity for you to influence requirements and put proposals in on different offerings. However, if what you have is new or unique, you developed a new technology that's brand new or you've really improved upon an existing product and just that requirements not there, that could be a lot more challenging to sell to the government. Not impossible, but it's basically developing a strategy on how you're going to sell that. So let's say you develop a new technology and I'll just say it's software, a new software. The government is not asking for it. They don't even know it exists. Right? Now, how do you sell that? Because all the RFPs and RFIs and stuff that you're seeing out there, maybe it's looking for kind of an outdated compared to what your software is product offering. Basically you have a few ways of approaching the government, right? So the first is one that I'm going to immediately discount. That's called the unsolicited proposal. The Far.
The Federal Acquisitions regulation covers unsolicited proposals. My experience when I was an acquisitions officer for the government is I didn't see unsolicited proposals get much traction. In fact, I never saw them get traction. Doesn't mean that you can't make that work. It just means that I haven't seen those works. So I'm not going to cover that option here. Instead I'm going to focus on a couple of areas that I have seen work. Right? So at the end of the day, a government sale is a relationship game. So if I had to break it down as simple as possible, the relationships you have in the government are going to go a long way on many aspects, right? How you find opportunities, how you influence opportunities to best suit your company, getting in front of program managers and contracting officers, giving them your business development briefs and letting them become familiar with your business. And you can also suggest requirements on upcoming problems that they're trying to solve. And you can certainly better position your company to win anything with the right relationship in place. But when we're talking about a new product or service, those relationships can become critical, right? So first and foremost what you need to do is influence or I should say advertise what your technology is just so the government knows about it. So whether we're talking about I'm going to break it down.
In general, from my point of view, there's three different groups of people that need to know about your new product or technology and that is going to be a user and user. So if it's the military, it's going to be someone with a uniform that is going to use your using the software example. They're going to be using the software, they probably don't have any ability to purchase that software. But gaining their support for what you've put together can certainly help generate a requirement. And that leads to the second group which is the requirement generator. So this is going to typically be someone of rank, whether it's a government civilian or a military person in the DOD that can take what the end users need, what their problem sets are and turn that into a requirement matching that requirement. Meaning we want this with funding. And then there's the third group, which is the acquisition staff, right? So now we're talking about the program managers, the engineers, eventually the contracting officers that are going to really be managing how we're buying the products and services in your category and delivering those to the end users, right? So you basically have three different groups of people you're tackling to say hey, we have this new software, we have this new technology, we think you need this and that's kind of the long game, right, but influencing all three of those because you don't want to forget one group of people if you're targeting the user, the end user and they're like, yeah, we really want this. But the requirements generator and the acquisitions teams have no idea that your technology exists. Well you're not going to be on contract for anything, right? They can't buy it from you typically. So you want to hit all three. Certainly there are ways to do that.
Typically that's a longer-term approach, right? But it can be very effective if done correctly. Now another probably less complicated, faster approach would be taking advantage of the Small Business innovative research program. So the Zipper program, if you're not familiar with it, it's a great way for the government essentially to do what we're talking about, which is to find small businesses that have a great new technology and then sponsor those technologies. Now, usually this is in the form of technology development and usually it has to have a government and a commercial application. But the Silver, STTRS and Grants all vary dramatically and what the procedures are going to look like and what they're actually asking for. But if you find a sipper, each topic is a little bit different. But if you find a topic and going back to the software application where your software fits the topic they're looking for, maybe it's preventing insider threat or maybe just a broad cyber security topic out there. You might be able to submit your new technology or new software, even if it's just an idea through that Cyber program and get sponsored at different phases and different funding levels to develop that and eventually end up on contract with the government. Civil is a great way of telling the government that you have something special. And then if you get a phase one, if you winning phase one, you're basically getting funded to do business development is how I look at it. Again, each Cyber is a little bit different and you will always have a deliverable, but you're really trying to garner support from someone to sponsor your technology just to say, hey, we think this is a great idea. So being on contract and getting a stipend to go do that is always a good thing. So if you want to learn more about that, feel free to reach out. We'd love to give you a free consultation at Dodcontract.com and thanks for listening.
[08:05] Richard C Howard: I hope you enjoyed this episode of government sales momentum. If you did enjoy the episode, please subscribe to the podcast and leave a review. It's very much appreciated. If you're interested in selling products and services at the Department of Defense, I have something for you that you're not going to find anywhere else in the world. The team and I created a program that takes everything you need to win defense contracts and put it into one place. Up until now, only large defense companies and a small amount of people in the know have had access to how products and services are really sold to the Department of Defense. I've taken all of that information and put it in a step by step training module that shows you how to consistently sell to the US. Military to join our membership. Not only do you get the model, but you get weekly sessions with former DOD acquisitions officers for training, guidance to answer your questions, and a community of like minded business owners that want to partner on different opportunities to bid for subcontracting and teaming, or just to discuss general strategy on how to sell to the DOD. You have access to every course I've created, every coaching session I've ever recorded and every interview with an acquisition professional that I've ever conducted. And we cover topics that range from defense sales planning and competitor analysis to SBIR and STTR or military sales. The list goes on. Go to Dodcontract.com if you are interested and I would love to see you in the membership.
You can also check out our other blog on How the quotas are being met with the Government Contracts to learn more about how the contracting sales work. Thanks.
The DoD Contract Academy has helped hundreds of small businesses and account executives achieve their defense contracting goals.
If you want to learn more about how products and services are REALLY sold to the US military check out our membership area!
Stay connected with news and updates!
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.