5 Things to Know When Entering the SLED Government Contracting Market

April 08, 2020

Selling to state, local, and education (SLED) government agencies can be a tough task if you don’t know how to approach the market and present your product or service.

Before your business thinks about responding to a bid or RFP from a SLED government agency, prepare your company for success by making sure your business can check off the following 5 boxes.

1) Approach the SLED Market Strategically

The broad universe of SLED government contracting represents many different levels of government (states, cities, counties, education agencies and special districts) representing approximately 30,000 unique government buying agencies. Even in this complex market, the development of a strong SLED strategy is possible. SLED agencies spend more than a trillion dollars every year, so devoting time and energy to building a SLED market business plan – and investing in the tools and resources you need to make this possible – is well worth the effort.


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2) Know Your Target Government Agency’s Buying Cycle

Unlike the federal government, SLED agencies set their own fiscal year schedules and their spending patterns often align with their state’s fiscal year start and end dates. It’s important to understand your target agencies’ fiscal year and spending patterns to pinpoint the best time of year to go after their business.

Additionally, while SLED government agencies are reliable clients, it can occasionally take time to receive payment from them after the work is completed — sometimes up to 30 to 45 days after completion. Make sure you figure this longer payment cycle into your budget planning.

3) Understand Your Value Proposition

What does your company do? More importantly, how can you help solve an agency’s problems?


"It’s important to be able to clearly explain what’s unique about your product or service, how it separates you from the competition, and the value your offering brings to the table that your competitors’ offerings do not."


It’s also good to be able to explain how your customers benefited from your product or service in the past. You’ll want to be able to provide relevant examples of past government or private sector customers when responding to a bid.

4) Prepare to Sell to SLED Agencies

There are several key steps you can take to prepare to sell to state and local governments:

  • Target and research the agencies by studying past procurement habits, identifying upcoming contract renewals, and zeroing in on future spending by looking at budgets and planning documents
  • Organize and fill your pipeline with near-term opportunities and long-term opportunities to effectively balance your short- and long-term business outlook
  • Collect important agency contact information, such as job functions, email addresses, and phone numbers, and make sure your sales representatives know who to reach out to at which agency
  • Understand the agency’s missions, goals, recent initiatives, and if they have a preference for local vendors. The better you understand how an agency operates, the better you’ll be able to collaborate with decision makers, and influence your chance of winning

5) Identify the Right SLED Opportunities for your Business

When searching for SLED bids and RFPs for your company, ensure that you have the capability to fulfill all requirements of the contract first. If your business does not have the scale to fill the requirements, you may consider working with partners by teaming or subcontracting.

You’ll also want to research the competition to understand what their product or service is, what contracts they have bid on, what regions they are strong or weak in, and which contracts they have won or lost.

In summary, if your business is preparing to sell to state and local government agencies, all of these points will help you manage and scale your operations in the SLED government contracting market. Understanding and organizing your efforts around fiscal year schedules and agency purchasing patterns will help your effectively choose which opportunities to bid on.

Once your business is confidently able to check off all of the 5 boxes above, you’ll be able to begin targeting state and local government contracts, which you can find in the comprehensive database of government contracts within GovWin IQ.

If you’re ready to enter the SLED government contracting market, you might also be ready for GovWin IQ, the leading market intelligence platform that provides up-to-the-minute government contracting information and early notice of upcoming opportunities. Click here to request a live demonstration of GovWin IQ today.