How can SME innovation foster procurement?

  • techUK techUK
    Friday12Jun 2020

    Guest blog: Lindsay Smith, Ctrl O - Ask not what procurement can do for innovation, but what innovation can do for procurement - #procuring4growth

We are SMEs, we’re supposed to be surrounded  

Richard Winters in “Band of Brothers” responds to the warning, from troops they are relieving:  

“Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded” with  

“We’re paratroopers, we’re supposed to be surrounded.” 

That’s pretty much the competitive reality of Govtech SMEs, surrounded by massive forces of global brands, many boots on Whitehall streets, big stands at every exhibition, and ecosystems of partners and user-advocates. 

SMEs do prosper in this hostile environment 

Despite this, in the year to March 2020, there were 100 SME’s with Software sales revenues over £400,000, many of whom would add considerable Support revenues to this figure. I’ve looked at how they do it. 

Not all customers work with SMEs 

The total software spend on those 100 SMEs came to over £120million, but it came from only 500 public sector bodies. Focus your efforts on those showing they work with SMEs. 

Those who do work with SMEs want to work more with SMEs 

The pricing, agility and responsiveness of SMEs have won many friends in the organisations who have overcome the perceived obstacles of working with these highly innovative young suppliers.  

They want to work with more SMEs to deliver better outcomes, more quickly and at a lower price – this was the promise G-Cloud was designed to fulfil. But many SMEs, however innovative they are technically, are not taking two simple marketing steps to help the buyers to do business with them. 

So how can SME innovation foster procurement? 

Step 1: Get Found – Some buyers may look for a product from a global brand, a form of bias, ignore them. Focus on the buyers who search for solutions fitting their users’ requirements on G-Cloud. Use the sections of the Catalogue which are indexed for search to make sure your solution scores a hit when a real prospect enters a relevant query. Tip - Don’t use vague terms: ‘saves cost’ will never be a query. 

Step 2: Survive Elimination – You just need to be as good as, or hopefully a bit better, than the competition at showing the buyer that you meet their users’ requirements. Fully describe your solution, fully disclose pricing in an understandable way and explain your value proposition and competitive advantages.  

Compare how successful SMEs answer all the questions in their submissions with your proposed approach. Then do the same with your competitors.  

Each month I publish the Software catalogue as a spreadsheet. This makes the job quick, easy and intuitive. Until 20 July any reader of this blog can download it for free (use the access code SME-for-GCloud). Use it to run your eye down every section and attribute and see, if that attribute is significant to a buyer, would you survive or be eliminated.  

Tune your submission so that you win on a desk-top comparison. Then you will get the call and it’s Game On!  

That’s not all folks 

There’s more to marketing effectively to the public sector, but this should get you started on the sales success pathway. Unless you take these 2 first steps, you are invisible to your prospects who do want to work with you.  

Procurement are trying to do a good job; they need your help to do it better.  

By Lindsay Smith, Ctrl O

To read more from #procuring4growth Campaign Week visit our landing page by clicking here.​

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