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Find Your Government Use Case

February 26, 2019 / Dcode

To nail your federal go-to-market strategy, few things are more important than making sure your government use case is rock solid. You’ve already nailed your commercial use case. Tweaking it to be customized for government is a fundamental part of convincing a federal agencies or program office that they need your product or service.

How the government will use your tech will likely be different from what you think or have experienced in the commercial sector. For your product to seem valuable, the government needs to see the connection to its mission. Otherwise, it can become difficult, if not impossible, to move the relationship forward.

Why it’s so important to both find and define your use case

Each government agency is essentially a micro-market that has its own unique problems and challenges. Agencies aren’t necessarily revenue driven like commercial companies, instead they have missions and challenges to solve.

When you define a government use case, you can clearly articulate what government problem can be solved with your tech. But how do you define it?

Short-Term Opportunities

Think about potential short-term opportunities and look for those urgent or unfulfilled needs that have already had a budget allocated. There also may be emergent short-term priorities based on recent bad news about mismanagement or outside events that can drive your product’s value into the agency. You can use commercial use cases as a foundation or map, and then tailor your message and marketing to the specific government problem. This is also an ideal time to leverage any existing relationships you have with people who hold existing government contracts.

Long-Term Strategies

Some of the most obvious opportunities in the federal marketplace are going to be longer-term, so start thinking a year or more ahead into future budget allocations. When you’re not under pressure and have time to plan ahead, it’s much easier to create opportunities without looming deadlines for things like RFIs and RFPs.

Selling to the government is a long-term strategy. Quick wins do happen, but having a long timeline in mind will serve you well.


Sometimes, businesses get caught up in all the excitement and forget about defining the basic elements of their solution. Make sure you can clearly answer questions like:

What does your organization do?
How does your company help the government meet its goals and objectives?
What appeal does your product or service have that caused other customers to use it?

Define Agency-Specific Value Propositions

To ensure your message is heard loud and clear, it’s crucial that you develop a government-specific value proposition. But, don’t stop with a generalized government message — you need something that is agency-specific, since each agency operates with different missions and goals. Make yourself aware of any potential partners or resellers, and fully understand your implementation requirements and direct benefits.

Building a use case is the kickstart you need to translate your commercial technology into a government solution.

Seek Out Resources

Defining and tailoring your agency-specific use case is no small undertaking. These resources may help:

    • Read federal news publications like Fedscoop, FCW, GCN, and Defense One to stay on top of government news and federal market challenges.
    • Keep in touch with federal innovation hubs like Silicon Valley Innovation Programs, AFWERX, DIU, and others to stay on top of market trends.
    • Find an agency that has a need that matches your commercial use case. Then, use federal spending to track where the government invests its money. Once you find the programs, read up on their needs.
    • Test your use case with potential partners and systems integrators to see what they think.
    • Think mission first, not tech. If you sell predictive maintenance, who has critical missions that rely on heavy machinery? There may be more than you think.
    • Read the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reports to find opportunities. These reports can help you find areas that need help by searching through existing audits and problems.

It’s essential to have a targeted use case specifically for government to appeal to federal customers. When your use case is aligned to a specific need that you can solve, you’ll be well on your way to success in the federal market.