It’s the age-old question that all businesses will grapple with at some point or another: how can we ensure a steady stream of new business coming into our organisation? Here, we take a closer look at how to answer this question when working in the local government sector.
The local government, or business to government (B2G) sector is a unique space to operate in, particularly when it comes to growing a business. There are a number of key points and strategies that can and should be taken into account in this sector, which we’re outlining below.
1. First things first
The first thing you need to consider at the B2G level is that local governments, like state and federal governments, almost always award contracts for the provision of goods and services through a competitive tendering process, to ensure transparency and fairness.
It’s essential that councils achieve value for money for the community they serve when carrying out procurement activities, and the idea behind tendering is that it allows councils to actively assess the market and ensure this value for money is achieved.
Taking this a step further though, many councils, shires and municipalities in Australia require that any business submitting a tender be pre-registered or pre-approved through some form of pre-vetting platform. For larger councils, this might be their own pre-approval platform that they manage themselves; or smaller councils might use the services of an aggregated pre-approval platform, such as
In many instances, councils will not even consider a tender application from a business that hasn’t been approved – so step one is ensuring that you have a foot in the right door.
Make sure you’re registering directly with councils, or reputable B2G pre-vetting sources
Understand the criteria councils or pre-vetting platforms are looking for from preferred tenderers, and ensure your application addresses these items
2. Make the right connections
While almost all local government business will be awarded through a tendering process, it certainly doesn’t hurt to know and develop good relationships with the key decision makers at the council departments you’re most keen to work with.
One of the best ways to do this is through regular attendance at the major local government events around Australia. The big events are well attended by council employees, and they’re a great way to connect and build a rapport with the people who will ultimately be assessing the tenders you submit.
In Australia, some of the key events to attend include the Australian Local Government Association’s (ALGA) National General Assembly and National Local Roads, Transport & Infrastructure Congress, both held annually; Local Government NSW’s annual event; and the events held throughout the year by the state-based local government associations affiliated with the ALGA.
Develop relationships with decision makers organically
Be aware of the restrictions on local government employees – you can’t wine and dine your way into the good graces of council workers, but you can build up rapport at industry events and other professional development opportunities.
3. Ensure your brand is seen
Beyond the first two critical steps, one of the most important things an organisation can do when looking to secure new business in the local government sector is to ensure their brand is being seen by the councils and shires they want to work with.
There are a number of ways that this can be done, but one of the simplest and most effective is by positioning your brand in respected, reputable publications that the industry turns to for industry news and developments.
Social media is also an excellent platform to utilise to ensure you’re being seen by the councils you want to work with, and on platforms like LinkedIn, you can target any content you create or advertising you run to target the specific organisations and job roles you’re looking to target.
These efforts won’t win you a job if the tender you submit isn’t up to scratch, but they do complement an excellent tender submission and ensure that you’re at the front of decision makers’ minds when they’re deciding between your tender and that of your competitor.
Only align your brand with publications with a solid industry reputation, and ensure this is backed by readership and engagement stats
Use a combination of marketing strategies – for example, branding advertising, thought leadership content and lead generation – across different platforms – such as print and digital – for maximum impact.
The B2G marketplace, like many sectors, has its own intricacies and characteristics that need to be accounted for when seeking new business opportunities.
This is one of the main verticals where almost every contract is issued following a competitive tendering process, so ensuring you can compete at this level is the first critical step. Beyond this, getting to know and building rapport with the industry decision-makers you want to work with; and ensuring they see a strong market presence from your brand, are key to ensuring that your business is front of mind when it comes to decision time for local government contracts.
For more tips on how you can cut through in the competitive B2G landscape, click here.