Sunday, August 27, 2017

FY 18 is here: Are you a small contractor in need of some advice and direction?


Amtower GovCon Advisory Program 

FY 2018 will be challenging: definitely another continuing resolution, possible a shutdown, further changes in agency programs and policies, additional changes in procurement policy, and more. These will impact small businesses in a big way, so be prepared.

Leveraging your current contracts, especially direct or indirect access to MACs, IDIQs and GWACs can help you weather this storm. I expect agency use of  IDIQs and GWACs to continue to grow through 2018. Your access as a prime or partner on these contracts can be critical.

But you need a plan.

If your company is not performing up to expectations, or if you feel that your marketing program is not paying adequate dividends, we should talk.

My guidance to client companies has helped hundreds of companies grow. My advice can save you time and money, lead to new opportunities, identifiy key differentiators leading to significant market share, create media coverage, and generally help companies establish a more viable presence in the government market. I have helped my clients to dramatically increase the dollar value of their contracts, often spending less on marketing.

If your marketing and business development efforts are not paying significant dividends, we should talk now.

Friends, clients and former clients have suggested I develop a program that offers advice over an entire FY, so I am offering a year-long GovCon Advisory Program. Rather than charge an hourly fee to companies tapping into my expertise on a semi-regular basis, I have created an advisory program that small companies can afford.

The Amtower GovCon Advisory Program includes    

             - An initial planning session defining goals that align with your current needs. This will provide the overall program guidance for the year, including developing a targeted visibility plan that makes the most sense for you and your company. We can make alterations along the way as necessary; 

           - A detailed web site review with recommendations;

              - A LinkedIn company profile review with recommendations or editing;

               - Customized monthly training sessions (30-45 minute sessions), content to be determined in the planning session. Training modules offered include LinkedIn training; content development; developing a subject matter expert platform; social selling; PR/media training; market research and more. Each session tailored to the client and all sessions pre-scheduled;

              - Email alerts when warranted with news about your niche, competitors and other topics addressed in the planning session. I will monitor Google Alerts and selected trade publications for each participant;

            - Monthly update calls with each participant to track progress, address problem areas, discuss opportunities and more;

             - Strategic introductions to primes, OEMs, experts, media and government managers;

              - Unlimited email and short call Q&A;

             - Advice on selecting outside services (events, associations, bidding services, proposal assistance, etc).

-       - Access to me for an entire FY.

Please call 301 854 9493 or email markamtower@gmail.com with any questions or to sign up. 


We are only accepting eight participants.


The program runs from 10/1/17 until 9/30/18. Sign up now and get Sept, 2017 as a bonus month.

The investment for this program is $2,495 down, and $995 per month for an annual total of $13,040.



Mark Amtower     Amtower & Company     www.FederalDirect.net

Thursday, August 24, 2017

IDIQ/GWAC Panel at 930Gov Sept 6



Once again I will be hosting an IDIQ/GWAC panel at 930Gov on September 6 at the Washington DC Convention Center. This has been a lively panel in past years and promises to be informative once again this year. I always enjoy hosting this session.



This year my IDIQ panel will have

   - Bridget Gauer, NITAAC
   - Joanne Woytek, SEWP
   - Cheryl Thornton, GSA
   - Omar Saeb, Alliant



Now in its fifth year, 930Gov is a unique end-of=FY event. It has five tracks covering

   - Cyber and IT Security
   - Records Management
   - IT Modernization
   - Government Customer Experience
   - Knowledge, Data and Information Management

This event always has top-notch sessions and speakers.



I hope to see you there- and at this session!


Mark Amtower


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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Is there real value in measuring your social media activity?

There are multiple ways to measure your social media engagement, but is there really any value to having a high score beyond bragging rights?

LinkedIn added in the Social Selling Index (SSI) when it changed the paid membership format, pushing the most useful functions to the Sales Navigator platform.

The SSI measures four factors and only measures within LinkedIn. Each factor has a 25 point scale. The four factors are:

-        “Establish your professional brand”

-         “Find the right people”

-         “Engage and insights”

-         “Build relationships”

You can make an argument for  including these in an index, but as the exclusive measurements, I think not.



First, brands have set components, but the value of each component and how you present it can vary from market to market, and from niche to niche within a market.

Second, these do not and cannot factor in the quality of connections you are making and the value of each viewer you are getting.  All profile viewers are not created equal.

Third, how you engage goes back to my niche statement above. Certain elements of the Government Contracting community will necessarily do less on public platforms because of the nature of the client and the business associated with that client.

Fourth building relationships in this GovCon is predicated on who you need to know: if you are focused on a single agency (account or agency based marketing - ABM) and a specialty area within that agency, your relationship building activity will taper off as you become more pervasive, and your SSI score in this category will probably fall.

Are you less successful? No.

The SSI is predicated on perpetual activity and growth. While I am in favor of a steady flow of activity, once you maximize the penetration into a specific account or agency, you will level off.

Depending on your industry, an average SSI score seems to run between 20-28, which does not seem very high. But factor in how many people do little or nothing on LinkedIn and it makes sense.

I see the SSI as a quantity over quality tool, and therefore not as useful as it perhaps could be.

Another popular social activity measurement tool is Klout.  Klout measures your social activity on multiple networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, FourSquare, Flickr, Tumblr, Instagram and others), and has multiple touchpoints for each that measure the level of your engagement.




There are some other social engagement measuring tools, but many ignore Linkedin and each seems to be limited in some way.

While I am a huge fan of LinkedIn, it is the not the only place you need to be active.  

LinkedIn still includes Twitter in its “share” function. Why? Because it will lead people back to LinkedIn. It no longer has a Facebook share, and I'm not certain if it ever had Google+. Not having these is myopic on the part of LinkedIn.

I found that as I did more writing on my own blog as opposed to writing on LinkedIn (sharing the same way, through groups, Twitter and posting the link on other networks) my Klout score went up, but my SSI went down. My Klout score runs in the low 60s (up from low 50s) and my SSI runs between 71-75 (down from mid-to-high 80s)

My issue with Klout is that it measures your activity, but again not necessarily the quality of that activity. It does make up for this by taking into account views, shares and other factors, which LinkedIn barely touches on.

The final answer on measuring social engagement must come from you. 

What are your criteria for success? Have you achieved your goals? Have you met key people and set up meetings? Have you won new business?

Neither the SSI, Klout nor any other tool can measure this for you.

Knowing your SSI and Klout scores is nice, but it may not be measuring your real impact on LinkedIn and social media in general.

Bragging rights for a high score does not necessarily translate into success.

Feedback is welcomed and appreciated!


(This post is adapted from LinkedIn for GovCon, which will be available soon via Amazon)