Government and education institutions are big buyers of IT products and services. Gartner estimates that the two verticals constitute almost thirty percent of the overall IT market – in 2014 they accounted for over $190B in IT spending.

Yet despite the large numbers, marketing to IT decision makers in these organizations has not evolved beyond RFP responses and relationship-driven sale.

The core challenges of marketing technology to the public sector still remain:

  • Engaging early – By the time the RFP is announced, the buyer has already defined specifications and shortlisted possible vendors.

  • Navigating the hierarchy – It is a challenge to identify key decision makers and influencers as the organizational structure is complex and purchase decisions are made by committees.

  • Crafting a relevant pitch – Public sector purchase decisions are evaluated against wider goals, some financial, some social. This means that “one size fits all” approach does not work as the engagement must be tailored to every organization and its unique needs.

Marketing and sales teams need a more contextual, time sensitive source for discovering active opportunities in the public sector.

Every day buyers are giving out signals which, if correctly interpreted, could alert you to an opportunity very early – months before an RFP is announced. The challenge until now has been that these types of signals were hidden in the deep web. It was also hard for machines to discern buying intent from mundane text.

By applying machine learning and natural-language processing algorithms, it is now possible to unearth this data actively.

This approach lends the following advantages to public sector marketing teams that overcome the three major hurdles:

  • Discover active opportunities early – The ideal time to reach out to a public sector prospect is when they identify their needs and start building recommendations for the committee. By discovering these opportunities months before the RFP is formalized, you can design targeted campaigns for influencing project requirements at an early stage. Reaching decision makers earlier can improve your win rates by up to 5X.

  • Sell smarter with rich insight into the project – With the right context into the requirement, you can also understand the reason why the project was proposed, the urgency of implementation, the budget which has been allocated, and the identity of influencers who will impact the choice of solution purchased.

This intelligence can then be leveraged to build specialized content and campaigns for the account that are aligned with the objectives that would appeal to decision makers of the project.

  • Reach the right contacts – By accessing contact information – title, e-mail and phone number of the decision makers, you can focus your efforts on the people who matter the most on the purchase committee. You can also wield a tighter degree of control over the flow of information about your products in the purchase process through personalized outreach.

By leveraging data-science and machine learning techniques, demand generation teams can now automate the opportunity identification process, completely reshaping how public sector marketing is driven.