Effectively communicate your localgov tech story

Written by Eleanor Willock

In its drive to digitise, the Government last month awarded £800,000 to local councils in support of innovative projects.

For example, Camden Council will receive £80,000 to make it easier for local people and businesses to have their say online on things like major planning projects and town centre changes.

In the grand scheme of things, this new funding isn’t that significant and it won’t go far, but as a top-up on previous local government spending commitments, it’s useful.

“Overall, in the last 6 months, the Government has worked closely with local authorities to understand their needs and provided more than £27 billion to help councils, businesses and communities through COVID-19,” a statement says on gov.co.uk.

In a state of total or partial lockdown, councils up and down the country have no choice but to knock down the barriers they normally face and embrace digital ways of working. After all, local authorities still have to provide services irrespective of the pandemic.

One could argue that for tech suppliers there is now, more than ever, a greater appetite for technology driven solutions to address the most pressing needs of local councils. But, for SMEs especially, it can still be a tough market to make inroads.

According to research group Tussell, in FY2018/19, local authorities awarded only £4bn [19%] of £23bn total contract value to SMEs. That’s better than previous years admittedly, but it’s slow progress to date, and it has the potential to be equally slow going forward.

SMEs need to do more to help themselves: building awareness, being correctly positioned and effectively communicating with local councils is half the battle won. Councils are unlikely to buy from businesses they’ve never heard of or from.

With increased funding and appetite, there is greater competition and a risk that spend will go to those already well established or well-known entities.

Tech suppliers have a choice: to sit back and hope business comes to you [it could be a long wait] or to think more strategically about how you might be able to get better known, build credibility and empathy and encourage buyers to think about working with you.

There is a necessity to show how you have helped councils, sharing examples of best practice and guiding local authorities through experience.

Ultimately, SMEs need to get better at creating stories and telling them, understanding which channels to use to reach the right audiences, and how to use that content to support your sales team and pipeline.

Here’s our 10-step guide for communicating a local government tech story. 


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