Large government contractors typically have mature and complicated processes which have many actors and steps. Often they follow a sales process pioneered by Shipley Associates which helps companies win a higher number of bids through a more systematic business process and higher quality proposals.
What about small companies, or companies that are just getting started in government contracting? Do they benefit from structured processes and sales force automation? How should their CRM system be different from a large company?
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Read everything you can find on government contracting. You will learn from the extensive literature on the subject. Many books on government sales are available on Amazon and in libraries.
- Come up with a simple capture process and refine it based on your experience. Include approval workflows and review processes during the proposal preparation phase. It may be as simple as four or five steps based on pre-solicitation stages and the status of a solicitation (RFI, RFP, etc.).
- Track every opportunity in your CRM. Use the CRM as the basis for pipeline review meetings, and insist on entering every opportunity in the system in order to chase it. Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM are the most popular cloud-based CRM systems for small businesses.
- Ask stakeholders for their input. Your CRM cannot succeed without adoption, and all your users will have valuable input on how the system should work. Don't track information that people do not find useful or are unwilling or unable to enter.
- Start with a template. It's difficult to get user input from a blank sheet of paper, so a pre-built solution for government contractors can help people focus better. InfoStrat offers a GovCon solution template and a quick start implementation to go with it.
- Walk before you run. Start with a core group of users in sales and senior management and add other groups later. Be sure to build in a process to learn from your experience and improve your CRM over time.