https://digitalmarketplace.blog.gov.uk/2015/08/28/selling-cloud-services-on-the-digital-marketplace/

Selling cloud services on the Digital Marketplace

Over the last few weeks we’ve been running a series of regional buyer and supplier events in collaboration with the Crown Commercial Service (CCS). We’ve invited an existing supplier to each of the supplier sessions and have asked them to share their tips on how to win work via the G-Cloud framework.

Ahead of G-Cloud 7 (G7) opening for submissions in the first week of September, we wanted to share some of their tips.

Spend time on your application

Keep in mind how long you’d normally spend responding to a single public sector opportunity. Cloud suppliers on the Digital Marketplace apply once to the G-Cloud framework, and can then be considered for multiple opportunities from several buyers.

With this in mind, it’s worth investing time in your service descriptions and documentation. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time before the deadline to get it right. Don’t rush, be aware of the deadline. Use all the time you have available during the submission period to ensure your application is as good as it possibly can be.

Do your research

We publish G-Cloud sales figures, and a breakdown of spend across departments every month. Identify suppliers who are winning business and look at their service descriptions and documentation on the Digital Marketplace. This competitor analysis will help you to decide how to describe and differentiate your services.

Applying is a team exercise

Ask your sales, technical, security and legal team members to contribute to your application. The Digital Marketplace supports multiple accounts for each company so members of your team can log in and work on the submission simultaneously.

Involving your legal team early on in the application process will make sure you understand the terms and conditions of each framework, and whether you can deliver what’s required under the agreement. Your legal team can also help to design your own terms and conditions in a way that will work for your company without being too restrictive for potential buyers.

Understand what government needs

As with any potential clients, you need to understand what’s important to them when making buying decisions. Research language used by public sector buyers so you know appropriate words to use in your service description.

Public sector buyers are audited on their evaluation and buying process. Understanding what buyers need to do to run a compliant project means you can help them more effectively and gain trust.

Provide a free trial

It’s important for a customer to know how a product works and whether the features support their project. Allowing them to try something out could be a deciding factor in their buying decision.

Consider offering a discount

Offering a volume discount for commoditised cloud services can make your offering more attractive. Suppliers’ terms and conditions are incorporated into the call-off contract. Make sure your terms are clear, informative and broad enough to include customer requirements.

Clarification questions

Although buyers are not permitted to run a mini-competition while evaluating G-Cloud suppliers, they are allowed to ask for clarification on elements of the service. How you respond is an indication of what it might be like to work with you so respond clearly, helpfully and within the requested timeframe.

If you continue to get clarification questions about a particular part or your service or terms, update this in the next iteration of the framework or by editing your service description if this is permitted.

Get feedback

If you’re shortlisted but don't win the project, ask for feedback. This will increase your understanding of what public sector buyers are looking for and will help you to adapt your approach or service to better meet buyer needs in the future.

We have two more supplier events in Birmingham (2 September) and Manchester (3 September).