Building your relationship strategy: Hopefully your existing LinkedIn connections provided a foundation for your relationship building list, but there are more people that you should identify and meet.
How to identify other important people:
LinkedIn: Predictably we think that LinkedIn is a great resource
Sub-agency and company websites: Websites are great for finding senior leaders
Networking: We recommend joining trade associations and going to federal market events to meet potential partners and customers, and as you meet people add them to your relationship pipeline
Federal data: There is information on the government points of contact associated with each contract
LinkedIn Search: Government
Current employer: Set the “Current employer” to the sub-agencies you are targeting
Key roles: Search LinkedIn for people at your sub-agency with these titles:
Keywords: Consider adding keywords related to your product or service
Location: Most sub-agencies have locations all over the US, so if you are overwhelmed by the number of results consider specifying your location
LinkedIn search: Potential Partners
Current employer: Set “Current employer” to the company you are researching
Key roles: Search LinkedIn for people at your potential partner with these words in their title:
Or any indication that they are in leadership (CXO, VP, director, etc)
Location: In our experience location is much less important for companies than it is for government. Small businesses are so small that everyone knows each other. So if you are a compelling partner they will introduce you to the right people
As you find people add them to your pipeline
Rants and Reflections
My unscripted thoughts after coaching hundreds of small government contractors over the last 10 years
I can’t overstate how important relationships are in this industry. The linkedin recommendations are a great start, but if you don’t have many Linkedin contacts, or if you don’t have many contacts at your target customers and partners, you’ll need to find the right people in other ways.
Now, finding people at potential partners is pretty easy. Go to the company website and search for the company on LinkedIn and you're looking for people with titles like:
VP, Director and other leadership titles
And as you find promising people add them to the relationship manager
Next we need to find the right people at your prospective customers, and this is a bit trickier because
Government officers generally don't want to be found
And government websites are terrible
So instead we recommend searching on LinkedIn for people with titles like:
The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
Or Contracting officer
There’s no hard limit on the number of relationships you need with each partner and customer, but we recommend that you identify at least three per partner and maybe ten per sub-agency.
And if you don’t know how to engage and build relationships with the people you’ve found the Relationship Manager has embedded tutorials and guides to help you.
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