So here we are again! G-Cloud 12 is now live with over 36,000 services from 5,500 suppliers. That’s a significant jump on G-Cloud 11 (29,000 & 4000+) and an even bigger jump from v1 in February 2012 (258 & 1,700). Given the Digital Marketplace spend to date through G-Cloud has topped £6.9bn, with over 44% going to SMEs, its no wonder that this framework continues to be one of the most popular with Buyers & Suppliers.
My experience with G-Cloud goes back to late 2011, when I had discussions with the Procurement lead Rob Macleod about possibly finding HR suppliers whilst I was on a project at East Sussex Council. I then looked again at the framework whilst at Croydon Council. As most people know, I’ve been a huge fan of G-Cloud and its use in procurement transformation, (paraphrasing Chris Chant) by using it to turn Procurement from the department of No, into the department of When!
I also used to recommend it to any SME tech supplier that tried to sell to me, as an easy way to overcome Procurement Barriers – this lead to the formal launch of Advice Cloud 6 years ago on 1st October 2020!
So, I thought it would be helpful in these challenging times to give a few reminders on what we have found out and what the most successful suppliers on G-Cloud do to make the most of the framework:
It’s not for inbound leads!
I still get incredulous when I hear CEOs/Sales Directors who come to me dismissing the framework and saying they’ve never had a lead in x years of being on it! It’s a marketplace with over 35,000 services on it. Whilst we regularly see inbound leads (and have just closed a £700k cloud migration to a previously unknown supplier on behalf of a Housing organisation), the framework should be used as part of a wider Business development strategy. Treat it as a door opener or barrier remover.
Know how the framework works
Most of the top suppliers’ sales teams (and we’ve trained a fair proportion or bought from most of them) know in detail how the framework works in context to the Public Procurement regulations and can easily position their services to prospective clients.
Make your listing Buyable!
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I’ve lost count of the many times we’ve gone through the shortlisting phases to find that a supplier has shot themselves in the foot by making their services un-buyable. Its not CCS’ job to scrutinise every listing for compliance. Common mistakes include:
- Issues in the pricing doc: Price on Application is an instant fail, as are 5 year terms…
- Incorrect filtering: Make sure you’re not filtering yourself out of a shortlist
- Generic service definitions: I’m not interested in how wonderful your company is. Tell me about the service and how it works!
- Terms & Conditions issues: Conflicting clauses, licensing, Liability etc
Use the spend data
We’ve had a visualisation of the transparency data on or website for years. CCS also have one, if you prefer. We use it to source who’s doing what with whom and when. It can be a great source of competitor information or to find partners. Another way of using it could be as a reference. Government organisations are notoriously reticent to give case studies. If you’re asked, then you can just point them to the spend data to show who you’ve worked with already.
The G-Cloud community is still a great place to network and find mutual opportunities. Joining places like TechUK can significantly help you accelerate your Biz development work. I don’t know of any other supplier community that works in the way that G-Cloud does. Likewise, if you’re unpleasant word gets around quickly…
So, all of the above are easy to implement and costs very little. Obviously, we can help out if you are stuck but all we want to do here is to be helpful. I’ve had many calls from people that are in difficult times right now and I love seeing how we can help people out whether we charge or not. Please get in touch if you want to chat, either via the team at TDP or direct with me at Advice Cloud.
About Chris Farthing:
Chris spent many successful years working within a variety of public sector roles for East Sussex Council, Croydon and Brighton before moving into the private sector and launching his business Advice Cloud, a consultancy firm focusing on public sector procurement and government frameworks. Chris has partnered with TDP since his early days with Advice Cloud.