OPINION

Elvis is leaving the building

In eight short months there will be a presidential election. Between now and January, 2017, appointees will be vacating the premises. Some of this migration has already begun. Among these will be many CIOs and other senior IT appointees.

The new crew arrives in early 2017.

For those who don’t remember, when the ship landed in January 2009 there were some surprises for the contracting community, not all of which were enjoyable. This is not a political value judgement, this is a verifiable fact. Just go back and read the trade press, blogs and other information sources from the period.

What we will have is possibly a whole new game. Regardless of who wins, a fresh crew comes in to either re-direct programs or continue the current policies. But you can be certain that disruption will occur.

How do you make your transition period more seamless and painless?

In all likelihood you’ve already done part of this, but you need to build relationships deeper down into the agencies you serve. You also need to support these people during the transition.

CIOs and appointees are great for photo ops, but having deeper relationships in the agencies with the key staffers who will be there regardless of who inhabits the White House is a major key for keeping your opportunities open.

Don’t get me wrong. When the new CIOs come in, you will need to meet them and develop relationships as well, but they won’t be the ones in the trenches. Each will be learning from their staff what they need to know and what direction they have been going. What you need is relationships with those on the front lines.

If you don’t already have relationships with the key staff, one simply way to find them is to leverage LinkedIn.

When you look up a key player on LinkedIn, an agency CIO, chief technology officer, chief information security officer, program manager or someone similar, on the right side of their profile is “People Also Viewed”.  What you normally find here are peers and direct reports, other CIOs or people who are reporting directly to this CIO. As you look carefully at each profile, you will identify many of the agency influencers you will need to know to maintain relationships with that agency.

For many larger companies your business development staff and program managers already know these people. For mid-size and small companies, perhaps not.

When you are browsing FCW and you’re reading an article about how an agency is using a particular technology, look up the agency personnel quoted in the article on LinkedIn. If this is a technology you sell, you need to look at the “People Also Viewed” and start determining the players in that agency who might influence the direction of how that technology is used.

In a recent presentation to a group of small business executives at AFCEA I pointed this and a few other things out. After the presentation, several came up to say they would now start to use LinkedIn in a more tactical way.

We all need to do this, leverage the tools available to our advantage.

Before Elvis leaves the building, beef up your networks with key connections in the agencies where you currently do work.

Mark Amtower’s LinkedIn for GovCon workshop will be in Tyson’s Corner March 23 and in Columbia MD April 7. Details at  http://blog.federaldirect.net/

About the Author

Mark Amtower advises government contractors on all facets of business-to-government (B2G) marketing and leveraging LinkedIn. Find Mark on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/markamtower.

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