Contract Watch Helps Government VARs Identify LeadsBy Alison Diana | Print
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Access Distribution's search system provides customizable, consolidated information about government sales opportunities in a daily e-mail format.With the release of two new services, Access Distribution is helping its government solution providers wade through the reams of data associated with selling to and supporting federal, state and local agencies.
The Westminster, Colo.-based value-added distributor launched the Government Contract Watch Directory Services Program, also known as Contract Watch, to help resellers identify government IT contacts and learn about relevant sales opportunities.
"We wondered, 'What can we provide our reseller partners and our vendors that can identify leadsa lead source?'" said Mike AtLee, director of Access' two-year-old Government Systems Group. "I [now] have a data-mining company in the back end that goes out and pulls out the data on a daily basis. [Solution providers] will get any RFP [request for proposal], RFQ [request for quotation], RF-anything. We give this to them at no cost."
"It's an amazing time saver," said Roberta Munch, president of Gemini Facilities Core Group, a woman-owned reseller based in Warrenville, Ill. that specializes in local and state government sales of infrastructure technologies and solutions. "[We] don't have to go onto every Web site of every government agency in the state of Illinois. It's a nice, consolidated report. It comes nightly in e-mail, with a PDF attached."
In addition to giving Access' clients the opportunity to bid on contracts, the tool also helps them find potential partners for larger deals, said Munch. "It gives us insight into which system integrators we may be able to subcontract with," he said. "We're working on one now."
The City of Chicago had posted an RFP that was too large for Munch's organization. Gemini Facilities contacted longtime vendor-partner Sun Microsystems Inc., who referred her to another VAR that was interested in bidding on the contract. "We are looking at a joint venture on it," said Munch. "That's an opportunity I probably wouldn't have tapped into without Contract Watch."
Gemini recently signed up for Government Contact Directory Services, she added.
For this servicewhich is free to Access' solution providersthe distributor worked with a third party to data mine the location and contact information, such as titles, addresses, phone, fax and office numbers, and e-mail addresses when possible, of more than 400,000 government decision makers, said AtLee. The database also features an organizational chart that pinpoints an individual's position within a particular government agency.
"This service also tracks these people [as they relocate]," he said. "It's another tool to help our partners drive business. It's all about creating incremental business."
Today, government accounts for about 25 percent of Access' sales, according to AtLee. The distributor conducts quarterly reviews to measure the success of its government programsincluding the recently released Contract Watch and Contact Directory Services, which currently are being used by between 40 and 60 Access VARs.