In our Better Way series, we dig deeper into the government to government (G2G) process and how CCC works with exporters to get deals done.
Not all opportunities are created equal. And while there’s no such thing as a sure thing, CCC Account Director Antony Rizk says there are some signs exporters can look for to help decide which opportunities are worth the most time and effort.
The “time” part of the equation is key. Rizk says that when it comes to nurturing deals with foreign governments, patience is a definite virtue.
“It can take two to five years in a new market to really build the relationships you need and to get through all the gates to win to a contract,” Rizk explains. “As an exporter, you need to be prepared for the long haul — which is why validating your opportunities is so important.”
Rizk says the following questions go a long way toward validating opportunities:
- Does the buyer have a specific, demonstrated need for your solution?
It’s important to recognize the difference between someone who’s exploring available options because they may purchase down the road and someone with a problem that needs solving today. Urgency is the first sign of a good opportunity. (That said, conversations with a potential buyer who’s “just looking” can be worthwhile for building relationships early, as long as you have the right expectations.)
- Is the buyer ready for change?
In many cases, buying a solution like a new technology can involve a lot of large-scale, complex change for a foreign government buyer. It’s good to gauge how ready your prospect is to take on that change. The cost of transformation can sometimes outweigh the benefits of migrating to a newer, better solution. In situations like these, the opportunity may still be a strong one, but you may need to be prepared to do a little more selling to persuade the buyer of the advantages of change and what you offer to support change management for them.
- Does the buyer have access to funding?
It might sound obvious, but a prospect with no budget or access to a financing mechanism isn’t going to be buying anything, regardless of urgency. Finding out the true financial situation can take some digging, and CCC can help.
“Maybe you’ve heard a rumour that the government wants to invest $100 million in something,” says Rizk. “But when we check with the contacts on the ground, it turns out there are no plans to budget for that this year. Between your investigation and ours, we’ll figure out the truth.”
Timing is critical. Understanding your buyer’s budget cycle, when their fiscal year starts and ends, and when budget asks are made and decisions come down can make sure you don’t miss key windows and can get in front of people when they’re primed to make a decision.
- Is the buyer willing and able to engage in a G2G contract?
Different governments have different requirements for their procurement and contracting processes. However, it’s worth devoting some time and energy to exploring the G2G approach, because even if it doesn’t appear to be an option at first, sometimes if you ask the right questions, you might find that it’s an option that can differentiate your proposal from the competition. Learn how to tell if a government customer is open to G2G.