Can You Score a Victory Royale in Government Sales?

February 11, 2019 by Jenn Woods

I figured this title might get your attention. This year, we will be tackling quite a few weighty topics in our blogs like budget priorities, FinTech and conflicts of interest. In the spirit of having a little fun this week, I sat down with two experts – my two sons - to understand the ins-and-outs of Fortnite (if you have kids, you probably have some experts in your home too).

What I learned was that Fortnite has some surprising similarities to government sales. And, while I am not advocating anyone start “flossing” in an agency lobby, I hope that this week’s blog gives you a laugh or two.

If you don’t have kids or have been living under a rock on a secluded island in the Pacific, I’ll offer a brief glimpse into the game itself. In “Fortnite” Battle Royale, your character drops from a floating bus onto an island with other players where the goal is to be the lone survivor. You run through forests, cities and fields, collect weapons and health potions, kill other players, build structures and, of course, break into dance moves.

Sounds a lot like selling to government, right? Parachuting into a new department?

 Ok, so maybe it is a little bit of a stretch, but hang in there with me.

 Here are some major takeaways my sons taught me about Fortnite. I think you will see a lot of similarities.

The game moves fast so you better pay attention: Some think that government is slow and officials stay in their roles for decades. Not so. Government at the highest levels can be unpredictable. Why? Politics. One slip, one investigation, one budget cut, one resignation - and people and priorities can change overnight. Much like Fortnite with a storm suddenly appearing, your sale can go from a slam dunk to an unknown. The solution – build a broad group of champions who appreciate and understand your value proposition.

Working as a team is critical – but you don’t get to pick your team. As a sales executive, you may have a team to help you sell to government – maybe an engineer, project manager or marketing department. But selling to government involves a diverse group of stakeholders to get any deal done. For instance, with a state technology project you will interact with CIOs (department and state), procurement officers, program officials, budget managers, legislators and more. This is the team you inherit to get the project to the finish line. Much like Fortnite, you don’t get to pick your teammates. You have to take time to get to know one another and agree on the common goal to work toward.

You need supplies to build like brick, metal and wood. In government sales, brick, metal and wood aren’t necessarily supplies you need on-hand, unless you are a construction company. Rather, you need data. Having information about an agency’s budget, strategic plan, procurement process and organizational structure are important components of developing a go-to-market strategy. Without this information, you don’t know who you are selling to or what the government official cares about.

Good communication skills: Have you ever overheard a conversation between kids in Fortnite? It took me aback. Kids are negotiating which direction to go, what supplies to use and how to position themselves to win. Public sector sales requires some serious communication skills too. With so many different perspectives and priorities, you need to be crisp and clear in the value you offer and a plan to help the agency achieve its goal.

Winning takes time – Victory Royales aren’t easy. Much like in Fortnite, a big win is not handed to you on a silver platter. It takes teamwork and time. Think of all of the hours your kids could spend on Fortnite just trying to organize a team and win the game. Days, right? In public sector sales, it’s years, maybe months if you’re lucky. The amount of time you invest in your market will pay off if you understand the takeaways listed above.

So, maybe there is a little something for contractors to learn from Fortnite after all. And, if you would like some help acquiring supplies, understanding your team and developing winning communication strategies, we invite you to give us a call. Our hope is that we can share a little happiness and break into Jubilation with you. It won’t cost you any extra V Bucks.

Recent Posts