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SLED buying calendar: tasks and timelines to keep you on track

Your essential planning guide for SLED buying season

April 06, 2021

SLED buying calendar: tasks and timelines to keep you on track
If you’re a reseller partner who’s new to the public sector, it helps to have a roadmap, some directions and a general sense of SLED buying season timelines. No matter what month it is, state, local, education (SLED) buyers are always doing something to advance their technology roadmaps—either planning, actively buying or implementing their latest IT programs.
 
Knowing what’s happening when—and how your work should align—is a fantastic way to stay productive, strategic and one step ahead of critical deadlines.
 
Use this SLED buying timeline as a handy reference to keep your team’s work on track.
 
Q1 (July–September) – Planning Cycle Begins
 
What’s happening: Every year in Q1, 46 states receive their new state budgets, which prompts a flurry of project kickoffs and technology planning. SLED teams start to advance their technology roadmaps, and review new project plans based on emerging business challenges and needs.
 
Work you can do: Q1 is a great time to connect with customers, discuss their pain points and review their new budgets. Learn about their large-scale project plans—including what they will purchase immediately and what’s ear-marked for the future. It’s also wise to get familiar with how SLED customers plan to buy their solution, whether through preferred purchasing contracts or possible grant funding opportunities.
 
During this quarter, you can bring value by creating justifications for deployments and assisting with implementations. Your pre-sales technical consultants and implementation engineers will also play a pivotal role this quarter, helping to craft bills of materials and statements of work.
 
Q2 (October–December) – Identify Obstacles
 
What’s happening: Each state’s current year spending kicks in, and governors already shift their focus to next year’s spending. As the slowest time of year, Q2 is when SLED customers continue their planning for projects they identified in Q1.
 
Work you can do: While there’s not a lot of procurement activity this quarter, it’s a great time to do some behind-the-scenes work to identify potential project hurdles. Spend your time identifying financial obstacles (e.g., CapEx vs. OpEx), discussing procurement strategies (e.g., leasing vs. outright purchase), resolving potential gaps in funding, and preparing implementation plans and rollout schedules in case of supply chain delays. Since Q2 is relatively slow, it’s also a great time to look ahead at future project phases and start building relationships to support them.
 
Q3 (January–March) – Confirm Challenge Resolution
 
What’s happening: State legislators begin reviewing next year’s budget.
 
Work you can do: In preparation for the massive buying to come in Q4 (“SLED buying season”), make sure all technical and financial challenges have been addressed and that procurement methods are secured. That way, when SLED buyers pull the trigger in Q4, you’re all set. Meanwhile, you should also be setting the stage for next year’s buying cycle—answering questions, performing demos and assisting with project planning.
 
Q4 (April–June) – Fiscal Year Ends
 
What’s happening: During this quarter, the fiscal year ends in 46 states and “use-it-or-lose-it” spending sparks a frenzy of purchases—making it the busiest quarter for public sector partners. Meanwhile, legislators are working to pass next year’s budget.
 
Work you can do: During this busy SLED buying season, you should stay actively involved with customer procurement, facilitate contract vehicle purchases and support the ongoing bid process. Make sure you understand all the procurement codes, how SLED customers will be procuring solutions (e.g., releasing a bid, releasing a purchase order) and over-communicate to ensure there are no curveballs.
 
Whatever the season, don’t forget to rely on the Ingram Micro public sector team, who stands ready to assist with your pre- and post-sales technical support, financial solutions, technology roadmaps and distribution needs.

 

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