July 14, 2022

SLED Sales 101: What is SLED Sales?

When we’re asked what we do for a living at cocktail parties, people often ask: What is SLED sales?

SLED is just jargony business acronym that stands for State, Local, and Education. Loosely defined, SLED’s meaning is basically the sectors of the government that aren’t federal. SLED means everything from police and fire to transportation and from parks and recreation to public works.

As mentioned, the SLED acronym does not cover the federal government. So, the military and the alphabet soup of federal agencies (FTC, FDA, FCC, USDA, etc.) are outside the definition of SLED. There are some similarities between selling to SLED and selling to the federal government, but there are enough major differences that each requires a unique approach.

Selling to SLED is our sole focus here at SLED Sales. So let’s get into it!

What is the SLED sales opportunity?

In a word, the SLED sales opportunity for your business is BIG.

The US is home to over 90,000 different state and local government entities. That includes:

  • 50 States
  • 2,000+ Higher Education Institutions
  • 3,000+ Counties / Boroughs / Parishes
  • 12,000+ Public School Systems
  • 36,000+ Cities / Towns / Municipalities
  • 38,000+ Special Districts.

Each of those entities operates independently (or mostly independently) of the others. Each has different rules and regulations, different schedules and timelines, different staff, and different budgets.

Combined, state and local entities employ nearly 20 million people. The 50 states combine to spend $1.92 trillion every year. Another $2.04 trillion is spent by local government entities annually.

So when we say that the SLED sales opportunity is big, we mean it. State and local government entities require a constant stream of goods and services to continue doing what they do. And it’s B2G businesses like yours that meet those needs.

Two types of SLED Contracts.

There are two primary ways that businesses engage in government contracting at the state and local level.

State and local government GSAs.

If you have a commoditized product that is purchased regularly (for example, office furniture or IT equipment), you’ll typically sell through a General Services Agreements. GSAs are regularly put out to bid, and interested parties, including the vendor of record, must bid for the contract. To win these contracts you’ll need to submit the lowest responsible bid.

State and local government RFPs.

If you have a non-commoditized product or service, you’ll likely engage in a public purchasing process via ITB, RFP, RFQ, etc. It’s easy to become mired in bureaucracy when engaging in this kind of process. This is where our government sales consultants can really help you.

Everything you need to know about SLED Sales.

Wanna dig deeper into the world of SLED sales? Start with our whitepaper about the mindsets of government buyers. Download it for free!