Public sector sales and marketing can show enterprise teams the right way to discover real demand efficiently, at times even months before the buying cycle begins. This article explains how.

At one of the B2B companies where I was driving demand generation programs, nearly half of the revenue came from government and education organizations. Surprisingly though, the share of marketing budget allocated to the public sector was just 20 percent. Were the public sector campaigns able to do more with less?

The reality was that marketing’s impact on public sector revenue was only 10%, with the rest being driven directly by sales. Compare this to enterprise accounts where close to 40% of the revenue was being driven by MQLs. So why the disparity?

Selling to government and education customers isn’t easy.

The procurement process is intricate, the decision makers are numerous and each account has different priorities. It comes as no surprise then that most organizations haven’t grown their public sector marketing beyond RFP responses (too late), large events (terrible ROI) and relationship-driven sales (high touch).

It’s an approach that has not embraced what present-day technology has to offer. And as marketers we have come to accept this fate for the public sector unlike our enterprise counterparts.

But what if I told you that there is a better way.

Let me illustrate with a simple example. Let’s assume you are a vendor of wireless products and are interested in finding buyers that have a need for your product.

Try searching for “wireless” on Google.

Check out the number of results Google returns for a broad term like “wireless” – 721 million! Google shows you results that are oriented towards a consumer audience, information, news, and advertisements, which makes sense.

You can fine-tune your search so that Google only finds documents where buyers have expressed an interest in wireless infrastructure. Let’s limit our search criteria to public schools that have allocated a budget for wireless networks in 2015.

Much better. Just by looking at the top five results, you can see clear opportunities for investment in wireless technology within the public sector, with millions of dollars in allocated budget.

The total number of results is 24 million. Even if 0.001% of these are relevant, that still hundreds of opportunities for wireless network investments – and that’s just for FY 2015.

You can find opportunities for any product and across any public sector vertical by simply switching the search terms (try it out for yourself and let me know if it worked for you).

Public sector buyers are giving buying signals that are available on message boards, meeting minutes, budget documents and many other sources. The challenge is retrieving all these opportunities and parsing through the unstructured blob in a scalable manner.

That’s where big data, machine learning, and automation can help. By leveraging data science technology, you can retrieve this unstructured data and use natural language algorithms to structure it in a format that makes it easily consumable for selling teams.

You can even go a step further by supplementing this core information with multiple other signals such as user behavior and account attributes.

That’s our approach at Compile. Besides identifying the relevant signal, we append it with the contact information of decision makers– prospects who are ready to buy today.

Here’s an example of an opportunity that can be generated using this approach.

Sample lead

It’s quite simple when you think about it. Big data that helps public sector sales and marketing teams find new demand.

Follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter for more insights on how big data and machine learning can be leveraged for accelerating marketing and sales.