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Navigating the Procurement Process

The procurement labyrinth

Navigating through a public sector sales process can be a terrific challenge. You are required to discern the mobilizers from the impostors, streamline procurement red tape, leverage internal and external politics, fight budget constraints, overcome competing projects, and mitigate security concerns, while still delivering on expected revenue goals. Can it be done? Yes!

Now that you have successfully navigated the discovery, assessment, presentation, and pricing components of the sale there is an entirely new bridge to be crossed before you can ring the bell on this deal. It is the back end process, which includes procurement and contracting. In most public sector sales processes, the back end can be just as involved, if not more, than the front end. If you're not careful, you may end up spinning your sales wheels on a deal that may look great now only to find later that you are at risk of losing it because your process isn't sound. 

You've been there before. You've successfully navigated a deal through the technical sale to this next stage and your manager asks you for a status update. You say something like, "oh, it's in procurement." To an inexperienced public sector sales manager that may be fine but to one who has been around for a while, your statement is a red flag. It is a proverbial sales process mullet - business in the front, party in the back - and it says that you do not yet fully understand what the procurement and contracting process actually looks like. 

We want to make sure that when you are asked questions like this one, you are ready to drop some strong knowledge on management. Here are some tips to make sure you have answers to navigate contracting and procurement like a champ.

Embrace the details early

First, during the discovery process, start to gauge your internal champion's expertise with the procurement and contracting processes by asking the following:

Next, ask yourself the following questions. If you don't have the answer to one of them, find a way to get it tactfully and soon. 

There are many more questions to consider as you work on this investigative process. One of our next posts will aggregate this detail into key milestones to focus on to get the deal done. Happy selling!

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