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Selling to the Federal Government Market During a Continuing Resolution

This month, Pat Morrison, Senior Consultant for Catalyst is our guest blogger! Enjoy!

Currently, the Federal Government is operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that expires on December 16, 2022. A CR allows the Federal Government to stay open, keeping agencies funded and allowing employees to continue to get paid. This is an intermediate step between having an annual budget negotiated and signed by the President prior to September 30 and the alternative of having the government shut down due to lack of a funding agreement.

The Federal Government fiscal year starts on October 1 and ends on September 30. For 40 of the last 43 years, there has not been an appropriations measure negotiated before the start of the fiscal year on October 1. One impediment to getting a budget passed on time is the Congressional voting calendar, specifically the House of Representatives. For calendar year 2022, reviewing the House Majority Leaders calendar (, from July 1 to October 31, members are not in session as they are out of Washington DC for a “District Work Period” 61 days. Conversely, they are in session for “Votes” a total of 16 days. It is hard to pass a budget on time under these circumstances. In this situation, to keep the government open, a CR is negotiated in Congress and signed by the President. In many years, to allow for negotiation, there have been a series of CR’s that can extend into the following calendar year before there is a resolution. It is likely that under the current political situation this will be the case for the FY2023 budget.

Six Action Items for Sales During a CR

  1. A CR funds agencies at the prior fiscal year budget level, ostensibly, no new project starts are allowed due to the funding stipulations. Be aware that if the project was funded last year with a 2 year funding commitment, there may still be buying activity available

  2. There still may be small dollars purchases, under the Micro Purchase Threshold of $10,000.

  3. It is a good time to get in to see your primary agency contacts to identify and provide budgetary support for projects “in the pipeline” for FY 2023, rather than simply waiting for the budget to be passed

  4. Specifically, DoD, DHS and VA are looked upon more favorably for expedited budget related approvals and increases over prior year funding

  5. If you are delivering and installing furniture during a CR, confirm access to the install area, that security requirements for your install team are in place and, as usual, make sure you are on-time, accurate and complete.

  6. As stated earlier, do not be surprised if there are a series of CR’s to allow for more negotiations that may not resolve the budget issue until sometime in early calendar year 2023

Regrettably, in many instances there may be a very small number of issues holding up an approved budget, in the minds of many they are largely political, passionately debated on both sides of the aisle. Best to steer clear of taking sides in the debate, concentrate on staying positive and moving forward once the budget is passed.

The bottom line…based on historical budget activity over the last 40 years or so, selling to the Federal Government during a CR should be something that all Federal Government salespeople should embrace. It has been a fairly predictable ritual. Stay close to your key agency customers, have a sense of urgency for any inquiries or requirements, build a folder for quotes and proposals that are awaiting a FY2023 budget approval and be patient. At some point over the next couple of months, hard to say when specifically, there will be a final appropriations measure approved and signed by the President. Here is the good news…with a compressed fiscal year between budget approval and September 30, 2023, in most cases there will be a significantly increased level of contracting in a much shorter period of time.

About Pat Morrison, Senior Consultant, Catalyst Consulting Group, LLC

Patrick holds over four decades of public sector expertise. He is a proven sales development executive with in-depth knowledge of successfully selling furniture to the Federal Government, especially through the GSA Schedule program.

Patrick leverages his extensive background, experience and knowledge to develop long-term compliant and profitable relationships, resulting in more sales to the federal government market.

Patrick holds particular strengths in developing federal government sales forces through implementation and delivery of training and education programs designed to increase knowledge resulting in greater sales. Extensive knowledge of the GSA Schedules program, risk mitigation, developing new business opportunities directly and indirectly, and designing effective pricing strategies.

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