Webinar: GovCon In 2022 (Part 1)
Our latest webinar explores upcoming trends in the government contracting space in 2022.
Discover what you should expect in this discussion, featuring Advantage’s Mike Shelah, David Powell, Executive Director of Federal Business Council, Gloria Larkin, President & CEO of TargetGov, and Courtney Fairchild Chief Executive Officer of Global Services:
The Industry Remains Event-Heavy (Virtual or Otherwise)
This webinar’s panel began the chat by recognizing that the government contracting space continues to be centered around events. Networking, sales, and other connections depend on contractors and potential clients being able to get together.
However, as you well know, that hasn’t been particularly easy to achieve in the past two years. That’s why you need to carefully plan your events in whatever way you can within local health guidelines and restrictions.
When possible, proceed with in-person events. Members of the panel noted great turnout with the recent in-person events they hosted and attended. However, don’t assume that virtual isn’t a viable option; the business world goes on no matter what, and so, you can still meet new key contacts by arranging and attending virtual networking events instead.
The Skills Gap Is Widening (But That’s OK)
A widespread effect of the pandemic is the mass retirement of older-generation professionals in the field. When faced with the prospect of pivoting to a fully virtual work environment, many of the acquisition experts that were only a few years from retirement decided to exit early.
This has left us with a bit of a vacuum in terms of skills and experience. As novice professionals graduate from college and enter the space, they won’t be able to directly take on the role of those who left with decades of experience.
However, this isn’t as big of an issue as you might think. In the webinar, the panelists noted that this is a great opportunity to think about the way you hire. Mike invoked Warren Buffet, who said he hires on character first—the rest (skills, knowledge, etc.) can be taught.
Consider looking for new hires that have the right character, and match your culture. The rest can be managed through training and on-the-job experience.
Contract Vehicles—Do More With Less
On the topic of fewer acquisition experts, Courtney noted that this has made the industry more reliant on contract vehicles. Rather than expecting the right person to go out and sell your business, you can make use of these streamlined government buying methods.
However, it’s important to note that simply qualifying does not guarantee you any actual business. Contract vehicles do not mean you can cut corners on your market research, sales processes, or other key processes. You need to be proactive and develop your business all the same.
Remember, It’s A Human Market
Building off of the discussion on contract vehicles, the panelists noted that it’s important to remember that this is a human market. In fact, the pandemic has made it all the more personal.
After all, you’re selling to people, likely in the hopes of developing a long-term arrangement and business relationship. Clients don’t buy you for your certifications, or your business metrics. They buy you because they like you.
The pandemic has presented an opportunity to develop more familiarity and even casual intimacy with your prospective clients. Your sales and outreach teams can rely on this shared experience to present a more real and human face to your business.
Whenever you can, you should lead with your people. Doing so successfully means focusing on your staff’s EQ, rather than IQ. If you’re confident in your staff’s knowledge and skill set, invest in training that focuses more on the way they communicate, interact and engage.
Successful business development in 2022 will come down to salesmanship, connection, and engagement on a person-to-person level.
Begin To Leverage AI
Gloria also spoke on the increasing importance of AI in terms of your marketing initiatives. The fact is that, in order to get in the door with a potential client, you have to be visible.
That’s why SEO is critical. The words you use to describe your business and the content on your website can mean the difference between being considered and being overlooked.
Without the right application of SEO best practices, you may as well be invisible to your prospective clients. AI can support your efforts to show up in searches, to be visible to the people you want to work with.
Stay Tuned For The Next Installment
Part 2 of our GovCon series will air soon—make sure to catch it when it does! If you have any questions, get in touch with the Advantage Industries team.