Entering and growing in the federal market requires experienced executives. This is the first in a series of interviews with Insight portfolio executives about the federal market. In this interview, Insight Senior Advisor, Nick Sinai, spoke with Chip George, VP Public Sector of Alteryx.
Tell us about your career history. How did you get into working with the federal government and federal sales?
I was in the Navy and after getting out, I joined a technology company that had a small Federal sales org and I initially covered, guess what, the Navy. I later moved into commercial sales for 6 years and then went back into Federal Sales as a Rep, then leader of various sized public sector sales groups at multiple companies.
Where is Alteryx in its efforts to serve the federal government? Why is the time right for the federal government to adopt your technology?
Like many companies, we entered the Federal market by first gaining traction with a number of Civilian agencies where the barrier to entry is somewhat lower than the Department of Defense or the Intelligence Community. We landed these initial accounts via our commercial sales team basically being responsive to these Civilian agencies who had needs. We later built out our Federal team with Reps in Civilian, DoD and the IC along with SE, Channel, Sales Development and Marketing support. The time was right to make this investment in Federal because the demand for our type of technology, and end-to-end self-service analytics platform, is accelerating rapidly in government organizations, from large to small and from CIV to DoD, who are trying to do more evidence-based decision making based on the huge mountains of data they have and continue to collect from numerous sources and in multiple formats.
What would you tell a management team thinking about entering federal?
The Federal market can be lucrative to companies with great technologies. To raise the chance of success as you get into this, my advice would include:
- Hire an experienced leader and allow him or her to hire experienced Sales Reps and Sales Engineers…and eventually Channel and Marketing people.
- Patience is key as it takes 2-3 years to see impactful results in the Federal space.
- Make sure the leaders of each business area (Sales Ops, Legal, Product, Channel, Marketing, CFO) are bought in to the success of the new Federal team as some time and unique support will be required from each of their teams.
- Visit the market—the CRO, CEO and other key leaders should come out and meet the customers and partners in this market to understand both the huge potential and some of the challenges.
What are some misconceptions about federal sales?
You do NOT have to create a unique product specifically for Federal in most cases. The concept is more that there will need to be tweaks in some areas of the product offerings such as around security features, contract terms and conditions, support approaches (US Citizen-routed calls), and part number management. But, having completely unique offerings just for Federal is not a winning strategy and not required for success. The Federal Government wants to buy what has been proven to work in the Commercial market (called “COTS” for Commercial Off the Shelf), but does need a company to support it and secure it in a few unique ways.
How would you describe the partnership with Insight Partners?
Insight has been pivotal to helping our Federal organization get up and running by cultivating support within the company, and by helping to engage our team with key government programs, events, partners, and leaders. We continue to partner with Insight almost daily on numerous topics to include overall go-to-market approaches in Federal, team growth and structure ideas, and some specific opportunities.
What do you like to do when you aren’t at work?
Helping my wife raise my kids is job one! We love to travel as a family and play tennis…and I am ecstatic that one of kids in very into golf…golf buddy on-demand and golf outings are now supported and encouraged by my wife! Huge breakthrough.