Practicing advocacy

Segment the government marketplace

Since the government marketplace can appear overwhelming for outside interests seeking to win government business, segment your potential marketplace into distinct areas of opportunity. It is not enough to only identify which federal agencies handle business or contracts that cover your company’s or organization’s lines of business. Go a step further by identifying the congressional committees that have oversight and funding responsibilities for these target agencies of interest to you. By qualifying target agencies of interest overlapped with congressional committee oversight, you have the ability to incorporate into your strategy the possibility of leveraging Capitol Hill to influence outcomes at the agency level.

Develop congressional champions

Too many companies and organizations converge on Washington without ever appreciating the importance and value of recruiting congressional champions. There are several key reasons why members of congress might become champions of a company or a cause. A common motivator is a company being in a member’s district or state where they represent their constituent interests. Match your employer base to congressional districts. Members that represent your employee base should be considered as potential champions. Members of Congress are also willing to champion a company’s cause based on the committees they serve and specific areas of policy interest.

Sell “best practices”

Capitol Hill and federal agency decision makers react positively to private sector best practices and leaders in the marketplace. A company does not have to be the largest in its respective industry, but it is important to stress innovative approaches and solutions that make it a leader. Following the process of segmenting the government marketplace and recruiting key congressional champions, it is highly recommended that a company target the government marketplace with its best practices sales approach.

Manage relationships

The government marketplace is a large and complex network that involves many different interests and relationships. Often, improper factors such as conflicts of interest or blatant favoritism can block a vendor who is pursuing a government contact. These can be avoided by building relationships and friendships before they are needed.