How do I take a product to the public sector?
I am about to launch a new service that I believe could save my customers a lot of money. However, the market where I see the biggest uptake is the public sector, which is new to me. Can you offer me tips and advice on how to take a new product into this market?
A. Stephen Clarke of Truancy Call writes:
First, establish the unique selling point (USP) of your service, then gauge who in the sector you are going to target. What level and job title that person has within the authority will involve quite a bit of desk and phone research. Find out if they hold the purse strings, or whether it is their line manager or beyond. Each area of the public sector is funded separately and receives varying amounts of funding for different projects.
From this research, you can then create a database of prospects. To establish the right media to target them through, find out if they attend exhibitions or conferences where you could have a stand, what publications you should advertise with or send a press release to, and if your service has a simple marketing message that could be communicated using direct mail, or if it is something you need to explain over the phone. If cold calling, prepare a presentation detailing your service’s USPs that could then be presented in person as a follow up.
The sales timeline may be longer than you are used to, as decision-making processes can be slow in the public sector. The immediate contacts that you make may have to refer to committees prior to providing you with a decision. Even then, depending on the monetary value involved, you may have to go to tender, which can be a very time-consuming process.
Invest time researching the area of the public sector you are targeting, especially the market share your competitors may already have. Also, be aware that this sector does not always go for the most well-known or successful company, but one that provides a quality service at the best price.