I need some advice on selling IT services to the Gov't, Military.
It looks like it takes 12-24 months to get revenue from the government. Is there a shorter path? JV, subcontract, sole source, SBIR?
Target customer is anyone who needs a better data collection and display in dynamic environment: military, CIA, FBI, state and local law enforcement.
We have a verified product idea: better integration of military command centers, soldiers in the field, and aerial assets using cloud infrastructure, machine learning, and augmented reality. Verified by active duty military.
We have a good network and can contract senior officers and defense contracting executives.
We have a solid team.
Me: US Air Force Academy. US Navy rescue helicopter pilot. Booth MBA. Several startups and Amazon.
Cofounder 2: US Navy Academy. Navy SEAL. Harvard MBA. Startups and Fortune 500 product mgtm.
Cofounder 3: CTO. Microsoft (Bing, maps). Amazon (AWS and Amazon Now global Logistics). Salesforce. Great manager of devs.
Since I spent over a decade working in government and then 3+ years selling into all levels of government at my last SaaS company, I'll provide my initial thoughts here. But there are no easy answers to this question as the 15 days without a response can attest.
Your initial challenge (from the little I see about your solution) is that no RFPs will be coming out for your product since it isn't a common solution a large number of governments are already buying. At my last company, I had this same challenge and I overcame it to sell into over 20 states and 50 local governments in a few years.
Don't start with federal. They won't consider your solution until other governments are using it. I focused on state and local public safety. I did this by attending public safety industry conferences with booths and speaking slots. In other words, I built awareness.
Then I found the public safety employee that has the characteristics of an early adopter. Having customers that can produce case studies and be your telephone reference customer is huge.
I also setup partnerships with established companies that already have business in some of the large governments and states. It is so much easier for a government to find budget to add a service to an existing contract than bring in a completely new company.
Most importantly, I was able to work with states to established master purchasing agreement so local governments in that state didn't have to go out to bid. They could purchase off the state contract. It takes a lot of work for the first state, but when you have an example of one, you can replicate it in other states fairly easily.
I'm available for a call if you want to discuss this more.
Having worked in government contracting for most of my career, I can understand the appeal (and difficulty) of selling B2G. One of the fastest paths is through competitive solicitations that are posted on sites like FedBizOps (https://www.fbo.gov/). The registration and submission process can seem tedious so give yourself plenty of time to complete those steps. Also, follow the submission guidelines EXACTLY. They will disqualify proposals for technicalities.
But if you're willing to put up with the red tape, this is one of the fastest ways to sell into our government.
Selling to the government can be tricky, however it can be done. First, the government website should have a certified vendor page allowing you to register your business as a certified vendor. Second, they may already have a need for your service, so don't forget to check their current open RFP's. All governments have a page for this. Thirdly, if the first two fail, get in touch with the procurement department. Typically you will be dealing with them, and as the buyers they know what they need.
Late but helpful.