This is a very common question in government sales. How do I know if the conference that I’m looking at attending is worth the amount I have to pay to set up a booth, take people away from work for a few days, pay their travel? Many times it’s a combination of factors that determine whether or not conferences are going to be right for your company:
1. Do you have available funds in your marketing account to send people to conferences. In today’s times and companies trying to be as lean as possible, expenses such as conferences are cut out of the budget to save time and money. If your company has a marketing budget, it is recommended that you set some aside for conferences under the face-to-face marketing. Being able to introduce your company in person and make an impact on end-users or contracting officers can help increase the number of opportunities you get to sell to the government.
2. Is it the right conference to attend? You will need to evaluate the agency that is sponsoring or holding the conference and see how much of your potential product or service they purchase per year. By doing an agency analysis you can figure out if they purchase your product or service and then decide if the decision makers will be there prior to attending. By taking time to do an agency analysis you will save yourself a lot more in costs by not attending conferences for agencies that don’t routinely purchase items you sell. Also, by finding agencies that do purchase products or services that you provide, you can reach out directly to the agency to determine if they are holding or attending any conferences in the near future and set up your display to directly market to them.
3. What about webinars? Many agencies hold webinars that show how to do business with their specific agency. By finding this information it sets your company in a position ahead of the competitors to get your name out there and make an impact on contracting officers that will purchasing in the future. As an example of this, did you know that each Department of Veteran Affairs VISN holds phone conferences where potential vendors can explain their capabilities and products/services to end users and contracting officers? Contact your VISN’s small business office for more information.
4. Where do I find the best conferences? Conferences for agencies you are interested in working with can be found in several different locations. Almost every agency has a small business office that is more than willing to tell you what conferences they will be hosting or attending. You can also find conferences on www.fedbizops.gov by searching the special notice category. The final suggestion for finding conferences is to register at www.govevents.com and enter your product/service information to narrow down the potential conferences. You can also enter agencies here you would like to work with and sort conferences.
As always, Schemtosh Consulting stands ready to help you find the conferences that are right for your company, feel free to give us a call at (740)525-8664 or email us at steve@schemtoshconsultingShare
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