The World of Govtech & Public Sector Sales

June 26, 2024 | 10:00

Season 3, Episode 8

What does it take to be successful in government sales?  And how is this different from selling to business buyers?  Is it worth the hassle and dealing with bureaucracy to get deals done?  

In the latest Talent GTM episode, we speak with Jordan Abramson, Vice President of Sales at Profit.co, about his experiences in government sales, some of the common misconceptions about it, and how this can be an attractive pathway for today’s aspiring and most experienced sellers.


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Transcript Text

Chuck Brotman: All right. Hello, everyone. Welcome to the latest, the greatest edition of Talent GTM podcast. This is Chuck Brotman hosting our episode today, and I am excited to introduce you all to Jordan Abramson, who is joining the podcast. Jordan, welcome to our podcast. Thanks for your time.

Jordan Abramson: Absolutely, Chuck. Thanks for having me.

Chuck Brotman: Yeah, excited to get into this conversation.

We’re here to talk about the world of GovTech sales. And before we jump in a little bit more for audience about Jordan, he is based in Prosper, Texas. He’s currently the VP of sales at Profit and has spent the last 13 years in SAS software sales, in leadership roles for the most part, working with companies that are bootstrapped, privately owned and publicly traded companies.

He has three boys under the age of seven. I can imagine that taking a lot of your time and is involved in youth sports, neighborhood golf, cart rides, and a lot else. I get Jordan. I appreciate you. You joining us here?

Jordan Abramson: Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate you inviting me on and also inviting me and allow me to talk about a topic that’s a little near and dear to my heart in GovTech.

Chuck Brotman: Yeah, it’s something I’ve had limited exposure to over my career, often, having like GovTech as a segment of responsibility, but something I’ve always found really interesting and particularly, in running a recruiting firm. So maybe before we get into that, I’d love to ask you kind of a narrative question.

We often start a podcast as when I always find this interesting and insightful way to kick things off. Tell us how you originally got into sales. From the get go. What, got you into sales? And then maybe as you tell your story, Jordan, how did you get into government sales, specifically in GovTech?

Like love if you could walk through like your background and pathway into that niche, if you will.

Jordan Abramson: Yeah, it’s interesting because I, if you would have asked me, I don’t know, 18 years ago, 17 years ago, like, I wouldn’t have told you I’d be here right now, right? My, my dream and my goal in my life was to be a firefighter. That’s what I always thought I was going to do. And went to school for that originally, right?

Like, that was my, plan and goal. But. Obviously, I’m here. Things didn’t work out for different reasons. When I was 16, I started working at a circuit city. If you remember those back in the day, my job was to, to sort CDs, right? Help you find the DVD. And what oftentimes was happening was I, they, found me drifting over to computers and TVs, right?

Things that a little bit more complex to sell. And so really at 16 years old, I kind of got my first, chops at sales, selling computers and TVs at Circuit City. always very kind of money motivated. So I went from 16 to 18 at circuit city and then jumped into selling home phone and TV and all that kind of stuff.

It just continued that kind of rise. 

Chuck Brotman: before we depart that what did you in your gravitating to the more complex products, like what did you learn about sales in, your tenure there out of curiosity?

Jordan Abramson: I think it just taught me to be like personal and have a, how to have a conversation with a stranger. Cause like, I think naturally like I am naturally an introvert. Right. And so I think sales like kind of taught me how to get out of my comfort zone, how to have conversations. I also think my very early career is like, taught me a lot of respect.

Like, I worked with a lot of older gentlemen that I’m saying, like, they’re, I’m 16, they’re 50s and 60s on computers. Then it was a lot of like, yes, sir. Yes, ma’am. And all that kind of stuff doesn’t still, and it’s something today. That is always kind of pulled with me. Right. So that element of respect.

but yeah, it taught me just again how to have a conversation as a natural kind of introvert, how to have respect for people that I think are 2 things that have carried me through. but, as I kind of said, I was constantly. chasing that next rung, if you will, in sales, but, there was a supposed to be an off ramp for me.

that was go be the firefighter, go do all that. And unfortunately I graduated school in 2008 in a very bad economic

downturn that.

People just weren’t hiring for jobs. Right. And so, I had a girlfriend at the time who’s fortunately now my wife that it paid off there, but she was finishing school in Arizona.

And I told her, hey, go back to California where she is from. And unfortunately, that dream kind of died there when, you go for 100 jobs testing with, like, 200 people in Arizona to 100 jobs testing with 5000 people. in California. And so, I kind of lost that dream or that ability to be a firefighter.

and so I just kept pushing through, sales, right. And just continue to, chase the next opportunity, kind of the mastering of what I was doing and just continue going. GovTech kind of came up, interestingly, it’s funny how my personal life has really driven my professional life because, at the time I was managing a sales team.

That covered all verticals and we had done really well in enterprise and we had done kind of well in, in public sector, not, by, intent, like it was kind of by accidental. And so I was at a point in my personal life where I couldn’t travel for a period of time, just for the things that were going on in my house.

And I was fortunate to the company that I was worth. It kind of said like, Hey, we want to keep you. We want to figure out, we have this like idea to go focus on government. Why don’t you spend the next, however many months it takes to handle things at home to, to figure out this government thing.

And then once you figure that out, hire people, right, build it and scale it. and then from there it’s kind of become like the government guy. we are a little bit like specialized and we’re not, there’s not a ton of people have a government leadership experience, just growing on trees. And so I’ve been asked to continue either building new segments or kind of expanding upon teams.

And it’s just, that was in 2000 in, I think 15, 16 kind of range. And ever since then, it’s really what kind of has become my, specialty. And now I’m fortunate with where I’m at today to be continuing that, but also getting an opportunity to work in the private sector enterprises as well, which is, which has been cool and stuff that I hadn’t been had that opportunity to do in a number of years.

Chuck Brotman: Super interesting. And I want to jump into like definitions of government sales and GovTech and going back to that initial exposure there. And where you all had success. But before we do that I’m curious. Curious if you see any connection your own narrative you mentioned kind of interest in firefighting and obviously firefighting, is a, a public service right?

Like, like working as a, a police officer or other fields, right? Where you’re serving. taxpayers and citizens and providing public services. Do you see any connection between your initial childhood passion, and beyond for firefighting and eventually kind of getting into, selling to government?

Or is it more accidental there?

Jordan Abramson: no, I mean, I think it was accidental in the beginning. Right. But now that I look back and say, like, no, it’s by design. In a firefighter, you’re serving the public in a very different way. Right. Making meaningful change in your local community. Right now, obviously, in the gov tech, I’m not doing it in that same fashion, but like, if I sell a piece of technology that increases engagement with citizens, right?

Or how the business, the government operates and it reduces costs or things like that. Like, I can see that tangible benefit that you wouldn’t necessarily see if you sold to ABC, individual company. Right. And so it’s really kind of cool and interesting now to be able to see the impacts on that local community, things that I can, especially feel.

If the community that I live in, buys my product, but regardless of it, I think that it’s important for. Local government communities to continue looking at technology to take it to the next level as as demands and things rise from consumers and taxpayers and in different things.

I think technology is the way that we’re going to bridge a lot of these gaps that unfortunately have kind of played government for a number of years.

Chuck Brotman: totally. And I want to get into more of that for sure. It reminds me of my own interest in government in many ways has been sort of stimulated by my work with my local city and advocacy for involving in certain issues and just becoming aware of some of the challenges there and thinking about that as someone who’s also been in tech and textiles for a long time.

But before we talk about that, let’s maybe start with some kind of. GovTech 101 and some definitions. And even for me, I’d love to get your perspective. I mean, the acronyms for GovTech sales. They seem like they vary a lot. And sometimes this is called public sector sales. I’ve seen, B to G.

I’ve seen sled. I’ve seen GovTech. Are these all synonymous? Like what’s the best way to describe some of these terms for, I guess, what is government tech sales? And what are these different acronyms mean? And maybe how do these terms vary, depending whether you’re selling to The Department of Defense versus state agencies versus local cities and counties.

Like, I’d love to get your breakdown of how to organize all this.

Jordan Abramson: I mean, I think if you go into the government sales, no matter what you want to call it, right, get very used to the acronyms and stuff like that. I think that’s a very normal thing, but the way I’ve always kind of personally identified it is if you’re a GovTech company, right, to me, that means you only sell to the government.

Right? Like that’s your, silo, right? I think oftentimes if, you’re a company that has a private focused business entity and a public, oftentimes you’ll differentiate that I think by calling it a public sector sales team, a sled sales team, a DoD fed sales team, whatever you want to call it.

But I think for me personally, and I think maybe I’m backed by the market years, I think if you call yourself a gun tech company, that’s all you sell, right? That’s all you focus on is government. Right. and I think every business is a little bit different, how they slice and dice, public sector, some public sector agencies will say, hey, it’s all city, state, local county, maybe it’s higher education, right?

That maybe it’s K through 12. I’ve seen some instances where health care is even an instance or a part of a public sector organization. Same thing with nonprofits, right? I think every company is a little bit different. And I think depending on a ICP profile of like how granular they want to get oftentimes determines what they call themselves.

Right. But again, if I think of a GovTech company, I think of they sell nothing but to government. Whether that’s K through 12, higher education, right, or your traditional city and state, like, I think that’s how they have how I’ve always recognized and identified the differentiators.

Chuck Brotman: GovTech, whether you are a GovTech company or a company that has a business to business practice complemented by a public sector or SLED team. What I guess. What, makes that even that team like public sector we’re talking about selling to any form of any type of government body that basically is not profit driven as much as driven by serving the constituents of a specific region.

I guess I should frame all this by saying we’re kind of operating in some we’re talking about the United States. I assume a lot of this can apply to Canada and globally, but maybe just to put some parameters on this, let’s focus on the United States. So in the U. S. Is that a fair way to find me? Is a public sector and or gov tech focus?

We’re talking about you’re selling to entities that rather than being motivated by top or bottom line are motivated by serving the needs of their constituents. Is that a fair way to define that?

Jordan Abramson: I think it’s fair. I think a lot of times when you look at what’s public sector, not as like funding sources, right? Like, if you’re a taxpayer funded, oftentimes, some places will do, Funding via state government, like a nonprofit, things like that. I think oftentimes the way people will segment is funding source, right?

Like, again, if you’re a, if you’re a business that charges other businesses, like you’re a private sector entity. But if your funding comes from sometimes donors, but oftentimes it’s taxpayer funds, then you’re going to identify as a public sector entity. I think that’s oftentimes how people look at dividing it.

Now, some, there are instances where, there are some nonprofits and some healthcare entities that kind of dabble in both. Right. There’s some higher education that dabbles a little bit in both. Right. And so, I think every business is a little nuanced and what they, typically will like, hey, what’s the differentiating factor between government and non government?

but I think oftentimes people look at the funding source, and if it’s, taxpayer, sometimes donor funded, then I’m going to put that in the public sector, government focus team.

Chuck Brotman: Got it. That’s a healthy way to look at it. Now, going back to my background, early exposure to, public sector sales. It’s interesting because I think back to conceiving of early in my tech career as being all about like bureaucracy and constraints. Like, I can remember When I remember if I was a peer or managing this person, but we had at a company I worked for previously, we had somebody that was focused on government sales and she taught me a lot about GSA schedules and the complexities and challenges of getting on a GSA schedule.

I mean, I’ve forgotten a lot of that, but you know, candidly, it wasn’t stuff I, relish like, does this help us get to deals or not? And do we have the right, person in seat to like navigate bureaucracy? Like how much of that is, is like, is core to understanding GovTech sales is having to understand like the bureaucratic parts of it or the like the complexities of like selling to government and their requirements to do business with the vendor versus understanding value props or understanding business and in other ways.

Like, can you talk a little bit about that?

Jordan Abramson: I think it’s both right. I mean, I think one of the misnomers in government is everything’s an RFP. I don’t want to sell the government because it’s a nice, it’s automatic 18 month sales cycle, and it’s going to go through an RFP. And I may or may not win it. Like, that’s a complete misnomer. And I think that’s frankly, in some cases, a cop out, right?

Like, if you do the things you mentioned, go through a GSA schedule, go through some of the state and local contracts that are out there. Those have the capabilities of helping you avoid. Those RFPs, right. And having the prescriptive nature to say, Hey, listen, did you know, these are pre competed contracts and it gets you best pricing.

And so I think it becomes where you become a, I’m going to say a customer expert, right, is as important in a government setting as it is a product expert or a business expert, like you really kind of have to understand and know your customers, like how do they buy, right. And being very prescriptive and kind of guide them into to that way.

Right. And so I think, as part of that is, is it’s important to know how to buy and how to be prescriptive in that approach to avoid kind of, again, the most, common number, but the end of the day, you, it’s great. You have a product. It’s great. You’re on a contract. You still have to give them a reason to buy it, right?

They still have to drive some kind of value to it. oftentimes people want to talk about, in the private sector, we’re going to save you X dollars. We’re going to make you X dollars and all that kind of stuff. Like, that’s not necessarily what the government is driven by, right? The government is not going to make more money.

And I think it’s probably fair to say, as a taxpayer, you probably don’t want to give the government. More money, right? Like that’s not most people’s motivation is not to give more because they had a tool, but you want them to be more effective with the money that they’re given, right? You want them to be accountable.

You want them to be transparent. You want them to be highly functioning. Right. and as part of that, again, as you have to bring a product that finds a real value and how they can take things to the next level. I think as consumer markets have. Have changed. We have adopted more technology.

I think just people have become, we become a society that’s been naturally more, I don’t know what’s the word I’m looking for, but like connected to government and like following along what’s going on. And so those expectations that we have for our government is, being impressed upon them. And so I think you’re going to see government technology is going to, or technology is going to have to fill the gaps.

Thanks. Where people can’t, right? People aren’t just jumping into public service anymore. We don’t have unlimited funds. And so it’s important for technology to fill those gaps. And that’s going to have to be a value, right? So I think priority number one, I tell people is like, listen, make it very easy for a customer to buy your product

Chuck Brotman: Yep.

Jordan Abramson: After you do that, right?

Create value, create need, find those customer stories. And you’ve got a winning combination. the great part is Contact information, public information, what they’re talking about behind the scenes isn’t behind the scenes. It’s in a public setting, right? Like all the information that you want to need and formulate your game plan is publicly available if you know where to look at it and know how to apply it.

And again, it makes for a kind of a winning combination in that sense.

Chuck Brotman: Totally. I mean, it’s easy to overstate from what you’re sharing. It’s easy to overstate the differences between selling to for profit companies and selling to government insofar as in. In both cases, like the most effective sellers are really, they’re, value driven, right? They’re understanding what are the, challenges or pain points that are impeding the ability of, stakeholders in this organization, whether it’s for profit or government from achieving, Achieving their goals and what will success look like in deploying our solution and how will that success be measured, right?

Jordan Abramson: I’ve told people there’s literally no difference between a traditional enterprise sale and a government sale, right? They’re one in the same because you’re going to need to multi thread. You’re going to need to champion hunt. You’re going to have to get to power, right? You’re going to have those conversations cell phone to cell phone, like all of that’s the same, really. The only difference become in my opinion is, getting to yes. Is the same once you get to yes. It’s different, right? Because if you’re getting to yes, in an enterprise, you’ll still do legal. You’ll still do all that stuff, right? But it’s not about city council meetings.

It’s not about, potentially, a cooperative contract, things of that nature. And so pre sale or enterprise that yes, sale is enterprise and government one in the same way. We do the same steps. What you have to again is what I said earlier is be customer knowledgeable to understand. Hey, I’m going to recommend you use this contract because I know you can buy off of it.

It’s pre negotiated for you like being that prescriptive. Yes, or a prescriptive salesperson. And so gov tech enterprise one of the same. So yes, is where it gets a little bit different. There’s a mini sales cycle that opens up after that. But again, if you know what you’re doing, if your company’s put you in a position to be successful to get or get to close, you got to win in combination.

And so that’s where I say, there’s is all kinds of opportunities in GovTech sales, as much as there is an enterprise, your skills are just as the same, if not more in some cases. Taking government sales reps and try to do enterprise and vice versa.

Chuck Brotman: Really interesting. Are there, obviously in B2B We’ve had, like, a huge uptick of interest in AI and opportunities to leverage AI to drive effectiveness and efficiencies across business. Are you seeing similar trends, in the world of GovTech or in public sector or are there other trends in terms of, like, Like government challenges that are becoming like deeper and wider today versus yesterday.

Like, what are maybe some things to be aware of that are taking place in the world of government that you’re seeing more and more like tech providers like focus on?

Jordan Abramson: I think AI is going to change it for, I don’t care if it’s selling to ABC company or government, right? I think there’s a unique opportunity for AI to make everything more efficient, right? More scalable, more, cost effective, right? And so I think you’re seeing gov tech companies adopt that right and as part of their practice and as part of their portfolio.

But I also think you’re seeing, governments expect it and also incorporate it, right? Like there’s very oftentimes easy enough. You can just personally use chat GPT to ask it a question or have it like, hey, tell me about this situation. So whether it’s formal or informal, I think AI is becoming a very real thing.

I also think, you’re seeing the rise of the title in government, like chief data officer, right? Where you’re having those people that are owning more of the data element of government and making things more transparent. Right? So I think you’re also seeing people that have that data expertise.

On the private side, not jumping over to the public sector, right? I think it’s more common. And I think as we change economies and things like that you’re seeing a lot of people get jobs in government and vice versa. I think you’re seeing companies selling more to government right before, because the government buys everything, they pay their bills.

Right. they’re somewhat, somewhat scalable and repeatable. And so I think you’re, going to continue to see the rise of GovTech. You’re going to see more companies that sell to private sectors today, sell to government. and I think AI is going to lead the, charge in a lot of ways.

Chuck Brotman: I mean, you’ve talked about some of the benefits of selling to government, certainly in paying their bills on time being, being one, I’m sure that has a CFOs happy with that as a segment. Let’s talk maybe about, about some of the challenges. I mean, is it fair to say for all the misconceptions out there?

I mean, am I over overstating things and say that government buyers do tend to be, a little bit more risk averse, do tend to be more conservative on change, generally, like, slower to adopt. is that is that legit? Is that a misconception? And because your perspective on that and then in general, like, what are some of the real challenges?

Someone who’s, done this and also managed B2B. What are some of the real challenges in government selves that make it distinct?

Jordan Abramson: I mean, I think you see a little bit of that like, what did they say? The, old dog who doesn’t want to learn new tricks, right? Oftentimes, like, Hey, I’ve done it this way for 30 years. and I think you’re seeing that but I think what you’re also seeing is younger leadership at the mayor at the city council level, right?

In constituents that are saying, hey, we’ve got to, we’ve got to do this. And you’re seeing people who are, sometimes more risk adverse being told, like, hey, we’ve got to do this. Some of us seeing like, hey, we’re not able to, hire as many people ABC company. we need to hire, people, but hey, I can’t get people to come to government, let’s use technology.

Right. And so I think you’re seeing, I think you’re seeing some of that done, but I think as we continue to see, the generations change and retire and things like that you’re naturally going to see that. That progression in adoption of technology. but I also think that’s where it becomes super important for any company to make it less risk adverse give.

Again, give people the ability to buy your product, right? But also making sure you have the resources and the tools in place to make successful outcomes, right? Like it’s one thing to sell it. But it’s a whole other thing to ensure that it’s deployed and successfully used in and adopted for a long term.

Right? Because it’s also you keep and remember is like city councils get voted in every couple of years. Mayors get a couple of years governors. And so, like, you have this kind of somewhat revolving leadership door potentially. And so that’s where it’s super important to get value to create impact, right?

Get those champions. And again, you, you, de risk yourself, right, by, by being able to, do all those things.

Chuck Brotman: I think your generational point is a really good one and you can almost think about how, as more and more, citizens constituents are maturing and growing and becoming exposed to tech and what it can do, whether it’s in, in college or university, or maybe in, in public capacities, right?

And then those who are going to work in other industries that have historically been legacy. Like they increasingly right as more and more people become familiar with tech expectations that legacy industries digitally transform and modernize to better solve problems are increasing. And if you are like overlooking the way this is impacting government like other sectors, you may be missing an opportunity, right?

Jordan Abramson: Well, and I think you’ve said it, like our, consumer expectations are rising, right? Like what we expect to buy and the experience that we have, interacting with a company continuing to rise.

Chuck Brotman: Yeah.

Jordan Abramson: It would be naive to think that those expectations that we have to what we buy aren’t being naturally brought on to government, right?

Like every single month I interact with my government because I pay my water bill, right? and I don’t want an efficient way to pay my water bill. I want to pay my taxes, whatever it may be, right? And so we have those same expectations of, what we’re doing to buy something to be in our government.

And it’s up to our government to continue at least to keep up. But again, they’re not always getting the tools, right? They’re not always getting the resources. They’re not always getting the budget. And so that’s where it’s important that we have good technology that makes itself available, that can drive an impact.

and we all win, like at the end of the day, if we make our citizens smarter, our community safer, right. All those different things, like we all win and benefit from that. Like, so there’s the monetary aspect of it, but there’s just the part of like, I’m doing good, right? Like I’m, making an impact of the change.

Chuck Brotman: Totally. And as someone I’ve always been both as a recruiter and as a,prior sales that I’ve always been attracted to more mission driven sales. And you often see, see these in the private sector, but you almost always see it. In a public sector or in itself, because it’s just so synonymous with how your buyers think about the value prop, right?

It’s not a given the fact that it’s not about for profit, but about better serving taxpayers and your constituents, right? Which inherently makes for a more mission driven focus, which can be exciting, right?

Jordan Abramson: Yeah. Again, it’s again, I don’t think any of most people are claiming to want to pay more taxes and give a, tool to your government so they can create more revenue. Like, that’s not what it’s about. But it’s more about taking the funds that you have and making that dollar go further, right?

Making it more efficient, right? Making things more transparent, right? How many times? Do we see, we brought on these slogans and things like that. And unfortunately they don’t come to fruition for a multitude of different reasons, but what if we had the tools to help you get those, 

Chuck Brotman: right,

Jordan Abramson: And action, right?

So like, that’s what it’s about with government. It’s not about creating more money. it’s not a creative about cutting out jobs. It’s creating that level of accountability and transparency and just operational efficiency that it’s about,

Chuck Brotman: I mean, it was funny, as we were going through that I was thinking, part of the beauty here is whether one has, highly libertarian leanings Or socialist ones, right? I mean, gov tech could be really exciting.

Whether your focus is like, how do we make government as lean and efficient as possible? Or like, as muscular and strong. Like, there’s something for everyone here. Perhaps maybe to pivot from this. I’d be curious, particularly given the fact that you’ve managed teams that have both a GovTech and B2B, maybe B2C folks as well, going back to some of your earlier work.

What are some of the competencies, skills, maybe passions as well in salespeople that lend themselves more to a GovTech or public sector sell? Versus something more B2B focused. I mean, what I’ll put out there, unless you disagree, is if you have more of a mission driven orientation, right, and respond well to those kind of value props, obviously, that can lend itself to public sector.

But what else may be in terms of like, just competencies and specific skills? You talked about multi threading earlier. And so some of these may overlap with enterprise skills, but are there any that you’d say are like, if somebody, is really proficient X, Y, and Z like tends to like lend themselves more to government or public sector.

Jordan Abramson: I don’t think from a skills perspective, there’s is one person that stands out and says, that’s the person that’s gov tech, right? And that’s the one skill that’s for enterprise. Like I said, I think for me, a great enterprise salesperson can be a great. GovTech, B to G, whatever you want to call it, salesperson, I think what it comes down to is the will, right?

And because, like, I think people oftentimes see enterprise account executive, right? And they think that’s that really strong and sexy title, whereas like government account executive, whatever it may be, doesn’t have that same panas and flair, right? And so I think. A lot of, oftentimes it’s having that will to, want to make that impact in some of the different, because I can tell you right now, there’s a couple of folks that I’ve worked with in the gov tech market that are some of the best salespeople I’ve ever worked with.

Right. And I can tell you, you could put them at any company and they would crush it there as much as they do anywhere else. Right. And so I don’t think it’s a skills perspective that takes you from, a gov tech to an enterprise or anything in that regards, but I think it’s, will right. And having that as you said earlier, that mission driven kind of mindset of like, I want to make a difference.

I want to make an impact. Now, I think you’re seeing. 

Chuck Brotman: Right. 

Jordan Abramson: More money coming into gov tech, which means more salaries going up, more compensation plans are. And so I think you can go out and make some of the big dollars that you’re seeing some of these other traditionally, big B2B type companies have made.

So, I don’t think it’s a money thing anymore. I think it’s just a panaz or whatever that word is right for, like, the sexiness of government account executive versus enterprise account executive. Right? Right.

Chuck Brotman: Totally. I think that’s another great call it too, right? This doesn’t, and I would say it’s for mission driven sales in general, right? A misconception about this is that it comes at the expense of like wanting to like, to earn significant money. And I had imagined many of these comp plans are uncapped just like in B in the B2B world, right?

Like if you are crushing quota, you’ll earn well, correct?

Jordan Abramson: Yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, listen there as I’ve said before, like there are some account executives that I’ve had the opportunity to work with on the government side that I would tell you if I put them in a B2B, they would be killing it just as much. And their income would be probably just as much as it is today.

Like, again, there are six figure and seven figure deals to be had in government, right? There are longer sales cycles, and there are, transactional sales if depending on your products, but it’s, possible to make a very good living and beyond selling to the government, we’re seeing as, again, the government is the single largest employer that we have in, in, in the world, right?

And so, if you do it right, why, couldn’t you do that? I mean, we’ve seen some of the deals, there was the deal a couple years ago between Microsoft and Amazon, that was $5 billion. Listen, I mean, I’m a sales guy. I thought, well, what is the commission check possibly of

Chuck Brotman: did the same thing when I heard about

Jordan Abramson: Right? So it’s possible to make money there. 

Chuck Brotman: Yeah, no, it’s one of the things that we’ve seen Jordan, not just, in government sales, but across our client bases is, a little bit more kind of tightening of candidate profiles in the last couple of years with the kind of the perception and some reality that there’s more talent on the market relative to hiring companies who are hiring for sales people are trying to make sure that they have, robust enough requirements.

They can hire people that have the skills they need today. Right, along with the well, but who have the skills, so that there’s less onus on them to, to teach and faster ramp and faster productivity. And oftentimes like that comes down to, like we’re going to hire for industry experience.

And we see this a lot in industries, spanning healthcare, tech sales. FinTech and GovTech, how reasonable is that and where does that come from? And as somebody who’s, hired, public sector and GovTech sellers, like, do you think it’s important depending on the cell to hire for that kind of experience?

Or, can you hire, upmarket and or enterprise sellers to, hit the ground running quickly in a GovTech focus cell.

Jordan Abramson: I’ve always looked at it as a nice to have, not a must have if they had government experience, right, because I’ve always kind of said, like, I, the expectations when you come into new companies, I’m going to have to teach you that product, right, and how we, do it in business. if I don’t have to teach you government sales, like how do they buy, how do we be prescriptive, right?

Like, those are all really nice things to have, but like, for me, the most as are you coachable, right? Are you natural, are you naturally motivated? Are you naturally curiosity? Right. You that curiosity level to say, when I tell you, no, you’re going to ask me, well, why not?

Right. And then the other part too, I think is important for me is like, are you investing in yourself? Are you listening to a podcast? Are you reading right? Like those are the four things that are must haves for me over. Do you have government experience or not? Right. Because again, I can teach you government.

Right. What I can’t teach you is to be motivated, to be curious, to realize you should be learning and investing in yourself and not just by what I tell you. Those are the things I can’t teach. And those are my like non negotiables, but as far as everything else, listen, there are skills, there are, skills requirements to just be in sales in general, depending on the level you’re hiring versus, an entry level role versus an enterprise.

But to say like somebody has to have government sales experience, I can teach you that. I just can’t teach you those other things. Right. And that’s where I look for more than anything else.

Chuck Brotman: For those who on the job seeker side, whether they’re, fully in job search or like passive looking for new opportunities, maybe they’ve listened to this podcast like, you know what this I should explore these kind of opportunities. what are things that. like early career B2B sales people can be doing now to get exposure and access to GovTech and public sector sales if they don’t have that background.

Because not every hiring manager necessarily has your point of view or there’s things that one can start doing now, whether it’s like skills development or how they position their backgrounds on LinkedIn or any other guidance you would have for people who are kind of intrigued by this and want to like explore opportunity here further.

Jordan Abramson: Yeah, I think, again, as I said, I kind of said throughout, like, I think honing and crafting your enterprise scale skills, right. Whether you work for a company that’s a medic or a challenger, right, or sand or whatever it is, like learning the skills that are associated with just being a good salesperson in general.

Right. I think is, foundation and key. Number one, if your desires are be in, in a GovTech sale, like, listen, there’s a GovTech 100 list tells you the top 100 government go look at the list, right, follow them on LinkedIn, send, outreaches notes. Listen, I think it’s crazy in today’s world.

If you’re a salesperson, you’re just hitting the easy apply button on LinkedIn or something. And you’re not who’s the hiring manager, potentially who’s the CEO of putting yourself in the, Into a sales, sales process with them, like, that’s crazy to me in today’s environment.

If you’re

Chuck Brotman: Agree. Yep.

Jordan Abramson: Also put a little plug in follow up notes are obviously a little key to, when you do get that interview. But listen, there’s the GovTech 100 is a great list. There are enough resources out there that you can learn. The other part too is just watch what’s going on in your local community.

Right, like, go, to all for the most part, every city council meeting and commissioners meeting. It’s all publicly recorded on YouTube or live on their website. Watch what’s going on in your community. How could the product or the company that you want to work for how could it impact what you just saw?

Right? So there’s enough resources out there now to really get you up to speed. And again, at the end of the day, if you invest time in learning your local community and you don’t get that job, what did it hurt? Like you just learned about your local community and what’s going on and how we can be better citizens.

And so, I think there’s enough resources out there, but it doesn’t change the key thing for me is always be honing your enterprise or sales skills in general, right? Of how to do. multi threading or champion building writer, how we should be following up, with the tools out there again.

We talked to the AI. AI is going to kind of reinvent how we do sales in a lot of really great ways. It’s going to change some things, but it’s also making data more readily available and accessible. Like learn how you can use Chat GPT and Gemini and all those things to hone your craft. So the resources and the information is out there.

It’s just getting back to the comment earlier. It’s a will thing. Like, do you take the time to like, grab it, and learn from it?

Chuck Brotman: Yep. such great guidance across the board. And I love the, I’m actually going to a city council, infrastructure meeting, Monday or Tuesday next week. And I’ve been sort of actively involved in Some, some issues in my city, and it’s been really enlightening. It’s helped me with my own kind of project management skills, my communication skills, and just my appreciation for the, selflessness and commitment that public servants may, in the case of, our mayor and our city council, these are people who are.

Doing all this work, for public service and not they’re not paid. Right? And as someone who’s benefited from a lot of the great work that our elected officials have done for my city, it’s really giving me an appreciation for that. And for some of the, the tough decisions that these folks have to make working with paid staff on deciding how to.

how to best serve the city and the community. So I think that’s a great call and a great way to figure out. These are the kind of things that almost use as a springboard to look into, technology solutions that are helping to solve important problems here. this has been.

So great. I appreciate you coming on. Is there anything you want to share with the audience in terms of like, I believe you’re running your own podcast as well. I don’t know if you’re hiring a profit, but would love to hear from you on kind of what you’re up to and any of your services or work that you want to kind of share with our audience.

Jordan Abramson: Yeah, no, I appreciate you first and foremost, having me on and giving me this, time to share, as I said before, it’s something I’m super excited about. And so you mentioned the podcast, we took a little bit of pause. We’re, slowly getting back into like. finding our time and legs under, we’ve got about five different people that have said, Hey, if you guys get this going again, I’m on board.

And so I think we’re doing it. And reason we set up the gut tech advisors podcast was it was a thing to do during COVID right where everybody was setting up podcasts and doing all this stuff is the thing to do during COVID. But our goal, our mission was to take really good technology that’s selling to government and highlight it, but more importantly, really highlight to companies that yet today are not selling to government, to start selling to government.

Because there’s a lot of really good technology out there that can make a huge impact and difference in government, if they started to sell it. And so part of what our podcast was designed to do at the GovTech Advisors was to break down those misnomers, right? Everything is not an RFP. Don’t worry.

It’s not always going to be an 18 month sales cycle. So we’re getting the GovTech Advisors podcast going back up. We’ve got a lot of recorded, historical ones that I still think are relevant today. and then just kind of doing a little bit of, consulting here and there with some companies just you know, really again, helping them understand very early in their GovTech journey of like the things that they should do.

and so again, for me, it’s something I’m passionate about. I really want to see us continue to evolve as a society and using technology is. Probably the best and the easiest way for us to do it. So if I can help anybody out, by all means, feel free to reach out. Again, I want to work with people and support people to be successful and truly make an impact.

So again, Chuck, I appreciate you making some time and invite me on and yeah, I look forward to continuing the conversations in the future.

Chuck Brotman: Yeah, wonderful conversation. I will definitely check out your podcast and I will share Jordan’s information on LinkedIn when we post this episode. If you want to stay in the loop with future Talent GTM podcast, we have a subscription option on Apple on Spotify. You can find us on blueprintexpansion.com under our resource section.

We seek to be, a source for real conversations on hiring and building exceptional GTM teams in government sales and beyond. Jordan, this was fantastic. I really enjoyed the conversation. Thanks for coming on and look forward to staying in touch with you personally as well.

Jordan Abramson: Absolutely. Thanks Chuck for having me. Appreciate

Chuck Brotman: Thank you.

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Hiring Companies

How do you charge for your services?

We offer multiple services, depending on the needs of our clients. Please reach out to us for more information, and see our GTM recruiting services page for more details.

Do you recruit outside of the US and Canada?
Our focus is currently North America, but we’ve also worked with tremendous people in APAC, LATAM, and EMEA. If you have needs in these regions (whether you are based in North America or elsewhere), we want to hear from you!
What roles do you recruit?
Our team superbly recruits for any roles within go-to-market (GTM) functions, including:

  • Customer Success: Standard, Senior, and Principal Customer Success Managers, Onboarding Specialists, Implementation Managers, Community, Customer Support, & Solutions Architects
  • Marketing: Growth & Demand Generation Marketing, ABM, Events, and Content / SEO Marketing
  • Sales: Sales Development, SMB, Commercial, Mid-Market, Enterprise, and Strategic Account Executives
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I've worked with so many headhunters and recruiting firms. What makes you different?

Put simply, we aspire to be as proficient in articulating your business value prop as your internal employees. Exceptional talent does not want to speak with “head-hunters;” instead, they want to connect with educated ambassadors of your business and your brand about meaningful career opportunities.

We go deep on your business and into talent markets to foster connections that other recruiting firms tend to miss. And we work with our hiring clients to ensure excellence in their hiring process. Please reach out to us for more information!

Is SaaS experience important when hiring?

Hmm, what does this mean anyhow?! We recommend defining the skills and behaviors sought before running a search rather than using buzzwords or phrases from other people’s job descriptions. We help employees go beyond acronyms to ensure they develop robust job descriptions that tie to specific candidate profiles for targeting in the market. Need help? Let us know!

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I don’t see any roles for me. What Should I do?

Blueprint runs a monthly Transferable Skills Workshop to help early talent and career switchers find opportunity in the market and prepare to interview. It’s currently offered at no cost. Interested? Please reach out to us.

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The Blueprint team always shares compensation range information with candidates before initial screening calls. Beyond this, we encourage you to consult with review sites and other data sources to educate on the market for the roles you’ve held. Want to discuss? Reach out to us.

Is it still important to send 'Thank You' notes?

Interviewing should always be treated as a two-way street, and a candidate should never feel obligated to show gratitude and follow up first.

That said, if you believe a given opportunity aligns to your role and company interests, we recommend sending interviewers a follow-up email after every step in the process. This gives you a chance to recap your learnings & enthusiasms briefly and authentically. It also helps you stay top of mind with interviewing companies.

Check out the roundtable discussion our leadership team recently held on the topic of post-interview thank-you notes.

What are some additional basic tips for candidates?

Make sure you prep before every interview, particularly by reviewing the company website, recent new articles, and the LinkedIn profiles of relevant interviewers and company leaders.

Consider business casual attire - ask your recruiter for any additional guidance. Try to make sure that you are able to sit front and center facing your camera - test it with friends prior to running an interview. If you need to take a call by phone, it’s best to let your recruiter or the hiring manager know in advance, and offer them an option to reschedule if they prefer.

Lastly, prepare some questions in advance based on your research, but do everything you can to stay in the conversation. The more you can listen and be in the moment, the better you’ll execute and be able to vet the opportunity for yourself.

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Despite so much innovation in HR tech and recruiting, hiring remains broken. As former operators with decades of experience hiring GTM talent, we wanted to start our own business dedicated to helping B2B tech companies across a range of industries do a better job at attracting and sourcing tremendous (and diverse) talent.

How do you charge for your services?

We have multiple services packages, depending on the needs of our clients. Please reach out to us for more information, and see our sales recruitment services page for a breakdown of our packages.

Do you recruit outside of the US and Canada?
Our focus is currently North America, but we’ve also worked with tremendous people in APAC, LATAM, and EMEA. If you have needs in these regions (whether you are based in North America or elsewhere), we want to hear from you!
What roles do you recruit?
Our team superbly recruits for any roles within go-to-market (GTM) functions, including:

  • Customer Success: Standard, Senior, and Principal Customer Success Managers, Onboarding Specialists, Implementation Managers, Community, Customer Support, & Solutions Architects
  • Marketing: Growth & Demand Generation Marketing, ABM, Events, and Content / SEO Marketing
  • Sales: Sales Development, SMB, Commercial, Mid-Market, Enterprise, and Strategic Account Executives
  • Account Management
  • Revenue Operations and Enablement: Marketing, CS, and Sales Operations
  • Solutions Engineering and Post-Sales Solutions Architects
  • GTM Leadership: Front-line, second-line, VP, and SVP / C Level placements (CRO, CMO, COO)
I've worked with so many headhunters and recruiting firms. What makes you different?

Put simply, we aspire to be as proficient in articulating your business value prop as your internal employees. Exceptional talent does not want to speak with “head-hunters;” instead, they want to connect with educated ambassadors of your business and your brand about meaningful career opportunities.

We go deep on your business and into talent markets to foster connections that other recruiting firms tend to miss. And we work with our hiring clients to ensure excellence in their hiring process. Please reach out to us for more information!

Is SaaS experience important when hiring?

Hmm, what does this mean anyhow?! We recommend defining the skills and behaviors sought before running a search rather than using buzzwords or phrases from other people’s job descriptions. We help employees go beyond acronyms to ensure they develop robust job descriptions that tie to specific candidate profiles for targeting in the market. Need help? Let us know!