Federal Sales

The best federal sales executives find that just three things lead to more wins than losses:

  • Excellent client relationship.
  • A number one or two ranked technical proposal.
  • A price within 2-3% of the lowest bidder.

A well thought out, implementable selling system should assure these three tenets are in place. That is what it takes to achieve consistent, scalable, organic growth in the government marketplace.

Selling to government is easy… most companies make it hard.


Form a Federal Sales Steering Committee, chaired by the organization leader and staffed with executives who lead relevant corporate functional areas (such as sales, delivery, product development, contracts, human resources, and finance) to conduct an internal assessment process. The Assessment Phase should take about 30-days to complete.

Retain the support of an outside, experienced, highly successful federal sales executive to guide the committee through the assessment and implementation of recommendations.

Participation by functional leaders in the steering committee, from analysis through implementation, is critical. It is by being part of the process that each learns what needs to be done as a whole and by the area s/he leads in order to evolve a world-class system of federal sales that can grow without bound.

Assessment Phase: Ask the committee to compare current federal sales operations with best practices along six dimensions of a high-functioning system of federal sales as summarized below.

  • Client Targeting looks at your clients based on value and barriers to entry.
  • Competitor Analysis focuses on competitors delivering similar services/solutions to your client targets.
  • Service/ Solution Market Analysis
    • Offers definitions in target market terminology.
    • Service and Solutions that your target clients buy.
    • Media/Collateral in support of your offerings.
  • Contract Vehicle Analysis focuses on the agreed upon client targets and their preferred contract vehicles of use that contain your service/solution offerings.
  • Business Development Team Model and Resource Analysis looks at market-facing roles and responsibilities and rules of engagement internally and externally.
  • Opportunity Management is the component of the Sales System which moves opportunities based on a phased approach from identification to win.

The Assessment Phase deliverable presents findings and an implementation plan drafted, reviewed, agreed upon, and primed to be sponsored by the Steering Committee.

Implementation Phase:  Led by the Steering Committee Chair and their internal resources with outside facilitation, direction, and support (e.g.,  from IntelliVen or MEC 5 Consulting) and usually takes about six months to complete.

Key activities may include (the order and timeline are dependent upon Assessment findings):

  • Replace or train current business development team, including business development managers, capture managers, pricing managers, and proposal writers.
  • Account Team development and planning based on Client Targeting, Competitor, Contract Vehicle and Service/Solution Market Analysis.
  • Internal development of market-facing content, collateral, and distribution including capabilities, offerings, brochures, website, conferences, publications, webinars, round-tables, and a social media.
  • Retooling or development of the CRM/Pipeline Management System.
  • Implementation of a comprehensive Gate Review Process focused on winning new business.
  • Capture training.
  • Proposal preparation training and/or outsourcing.

The output of the implementation phase is a high-functioning system of federal sales as evidenced by quality leads, winning proposals, and revenue growth.

Next Steps

If you are interested in learning more about how to develop a world-class system of federal sales contact intelliven@intelliven.com or mec5consultinginc@gmail.com to arrange a time to discuss the specifics of your situation and to determine whether and how we can be of most help.

About John Cochran and MEC 5 Consulting

The content presented in this post is principally authored by John Cochran who has over 30 years of success helping public (including IBM, PwC, and KPMG), private, and private equity-owned government IT and consulting services providers develop and scale their system of selling using a repeatable, scalable approach to federal sales developed and honed over the course of his highly successful career.

A summary of John’s approach to assessing and developing a world class system of federal sales is available as an IntelliVen Insight. Click the Insight cover icon at left for a free copy. Sign up to receive future posts and to access all IntelliVen Tools and Insights as soon as they are available.

See Also





Roles to Revenue in Federal Sales




Federal Proposal Process





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