The War Room
Question
Post

Any tips for calling into Aerospace & Defense industry?

Always looking to improve. Just curious if anyone on here has any tips for reaching prospects in A&D.

πŸ”Ž Prospecting
πŸ’Œ Cold Emailing
πŸ“ž Cold Calling
27
LordOfWar
Politicker
+7
Director
This is my industry, so I'm happy to help.

First you gotta target your customers properly, find opportunities before they are actively worked on and too much time is invested. No one will switch to your solution mid-bid or mid-contract unless you have MASSIVE value. Even then, the risk to projects is usually more than any company will take on during their bid/delivery/obligation period.

Search defence publications and SAM.gov for upcoming projects, track defence spending and get ahead of the big guys before they work on their next big thing. You want to help them make their new solution faster, smarter, cheaper, etc so sell that BEFORE they start working on it. I'm talking concept phase.

Go to trade shows and meed with BDR/Sales guys to get the inside scoop on R&D projects, build some rapport so they are willing to connect you with the engineering teams. The engineers almost never had outside contact with sales teams and are skeptical of every salesperson, but actually listened to any referrals I gave them.

Another thing to target is the smaller Mom/Pop subcontractors. They often get big chunks of projects and are easier to sell into than say Lockheed/Raytheon/GD. If you get enough of these guys on your side their engineers might even vouch/refer you to the big dogs.

Lastly, it is going to be slow going for sure. Most companies invest little in software until they absolutely need it. Cybersecurity requirements are also changing (CMMC), if you are not compliant then you better get to it or no one will buy from you.
ColdCallFartBoy
Arsonist
+8
Business Development Representative
This is extremely helpful @LordOfWarΒ I will bookmark this and keep you updated on my wins! Thank you!
LordOfWar
Politicker
+7
Director
Happy to help. Just @ me with any additional questions until these guys figure out how to add DMs to this platform.
Bandos
Politicker
+4
Seller Man
Your name suits you
InQ5WeTrust
Arsonist
+8
Sales Savages, what is our profession? Trauma!
Didn't reach out to engineering directly, but have interacted with design/design engineering teams at defense firms.Β 

Found a fair bit of traction with LinkedIn and doing a top down and bottom up approach.Β 

Calling is a challenge unless you have those direct dials and their email filters be strong.Β 

As to why defense firms need design software, missiles need to look pretty guys.Β 
paddy
WR Officer
+10
Account Executive
Man, do these companies have unlimited budget with all of the Uncle Sam money?? Or are they stingy? Genuinely curious sounds like a dope vertical to call into
ColdCallFartBoy
Arsonist
+8
Business Development Representative
I'm only 6 months in calling into this industry and It's hit or miss. Getting them on the phone is half the battle. Another difficult part is that most of these companies are stuck in their ways or not open to change. I have found some great wins, but I feel like I could be doing better.

Also, it seems like companies care about spending their budget on products/materials that will be constantly manufactured rather than a software that doesn't necessarily equate to a $ amount.Β 
InQ5WeTrust
Arsonist
+8
Sales Savages, what is our profession? Trauma!
Is this CAD/CAM software or what's the product?Β 
Show 3 more replies
LordOfWar
Politicker
+7
Director
Some of these big players can make you bank, but its a tough fight and long project timelines. There are lots of companies angling for the same contracts or sub-contracts, so tons of competition from including low-cost suppliers. All my wins are from networking, old-school relationship building even with the newer buyers coming in and the RFP systems that the big suppliers keep trying to implement.

There is also lots of changeover in buyers and management as other companies or investors buy or merge in. Those venture firms or multinationals are always looking to save money/cut costs/increase profits, so you can't sleep on your legacy customers even for a second.

I manage to stay ahead by getting into projects super early, pre RFP, and build relationships to avoid being commoditized as much as possible. I get my engineering team to help update designs which adds value (most are ancient legacy systems) and reduce supply costs. I aim for long-term agreements so the pain of leaving would outweigh any price savings from switching to a low-cost competitor mid-contract.

Our company is stellar at quality but not the cheapest. Fortunately, most customers who leave us end up coming back at some point unless the product they need is stupid simple to make.
Feds_Watchin
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
They are stingy on their own internal infrastructure. But the flood gates open when you work with them in tandem on an end user government agency.
ragnarlothbrok
Politicker
+6
Key account manager
What you selling?Β 
ColdCallFartBoy
Arsonist
+8
Business Development Representative
A software engineering tool, so I have been reaching out to people with titles similar to Director of Engineering, Chief Engineer, Director of Program Management, Director of Product Development, Chief Systems Engineers.
SADNES5
Politicker
+6
Hittin' Dingers
Find their BDRs, use them as doors to soft intros. You're in a very, old school industry. Are you just cold calling? Do you work with established MROs?
Show 1 more replies
Big_Building_Energy
Contributor
+1
Sales
I think much depends if you're selling to govt agencies or private industry.Β Β 

Selling to Uncle Sam is....tough.

I've found it helpful to meet your target audience in aerospace, in person.Β  Be "in the area" and meet for coffee or something innocuous and low pressure for them.Β  Or attend trade shows that they attend.Β Β 

It's also a small industry in the sense of a lot of cross pollination between companies (private).Β  If you make a good connection with someone and can prove your value, don't be afraid to ask for referrals to colleagues of theirs at other companies.
BlueJays2591
Politicker
+6
Business Development Manager
Best industry to call into. Easiest way to find out what each prime is working on (if you're looking to subcontract) is to contact business development managers and capture managers in your companies solution swim lane. Understand your value prop and have a capabilities statement ready to send out. The solutions teams will know the in depth details and will scope out your capabilities to see if there is a potential fit, so getting a demo with them is a big step. Just understand the landscape and be able to talk their lingo to a certain degree and you'll do fine.
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