We chatted about the successful efforts of DWS/Motorola Government Sales rep Ryan Rogado to learn more about this role and what it takes to excel.
When we think of career paths at Day Wireless Systems (DWS), rocket science is not usually in the equation. Sure, our technology can get complicated, and we recruit the brightest candidates with the right experience or aptitude. But we’re not going into space!
Our employee Ryan Rogado, on the other hand, started his career as a literal rocket scientist, working as an engineer for Northrup Grumman on missiles, lasers, fighter jets, and satellites. Even though his work is displayed in the Pentagon, he reached the point where he felt called to a new direction. After transitioning away from Aerospace, he worked as a business consultant implementing and improving processes, until he moved to his next role in Washington (state) as the business manager of a winery.
Although this is not the typical career path for a person looking to jumpstart a career in Government Sales, Rogado’s technical aptitude and business experience gave him a great foundation.
Starting out with local and state accounts in northwest Washington, within a year Rogado has grown his territory into the Federal market by acquiring accounts that include VA hospitals and National Parks, in Washington, Oregon and parts of Idaho. How it happened is an intriguing story.
What is Government Sales?
Although Motorola operates globally, for certain engagements they rely on their network of channel partners to engage with established accounts in either sales or service, particularly government accounts. As such, people like Rogado are Motorola Manufacturer Reps facilitating sales on behalf of Motorola while still being employed by Day Wireless. Although we at DWS Government Sales work on an assigned list of accounts, the deals are presented by Rogado as a representative of Motorola, and fulfilled by Motorola (with service assistance from DWS where needed).
For government sales, the idea is to uncover needs and opportunities for the wide variety of services Motorola and DWS provide. Clients appreciate the technology and backing of a large partner like Motorola while receiving the exceptional customer service, broad capabilities, and knowledge DWS provides as the local contractor.
Since Motorola and Day Wireless product and service offerings have dramatically increased in recent years, a key benefit of success in this role is having a larger scale vision of the currently available technology applications and understanding how they interconnect with each other, such as surveillance systems that use artificial intelligence to improve security response times by quickly generating actionable alerts that are quickly sent directly to security personnel via their two-way radio systems. The most important benefit to working with DWS and Motorola is the available suites of products contribute to an integrated workflow of systems and services that comprise the entirety of the emergency response process.
In Rogado’s case, his diligence and proficiencies quickly led to an expanded territory, from San Juan Islands and seven counties in NW Washington and the Puget Sound area, to acquiring territory and responsibilities in Oregon and Idaho. In developing successful local relationships, he began getting referrals to larger projects, which has resulted in larger sales opportunities and service contracts.
Maybe it’s the background in engineering rockets and satellites, or maybe it’s the working with government contacts, but Rogado’s ability to get in front of accounts and uncover their needs has been important to coming up with solutions that result in new business from existing government accounts. Presenting concepts that are new to customers, and building a comprehensive solution is a core talent required in uncovering new business.
In one example, working with a Native American tribal government, with a large number of stakeholders and challenging needs, Rogado had been cautioned of the difficulty he would face with any presentation. His response was to grab a whiteboard and dig in with each stakeholder, listing all their needs, ultimately showing them a solution that would resolve all issues. By actively listening and building consensus, he was able to win their business.
In another scenario, he went to a VA hospital that had been serviced by multiple competitors. He leveraged a sales lead and connected with the hospital Chief of Police regarding the hospital’s security needs. He was able to walk in and have a conversation with the right people at the hospital about how Motorola and DWS might integrate Motorola Avigilon video surveillance with a radio system and the benefits it would provide. He set up demos of the integration and is on his way to securing multi-million dollar contracts with three area VA hospitals.
The VA hospital projects are a stepping stone to more opportunities at other hospitals in the regional VA Hospital system.
There are a number of ways Rogado feels satisfied by his role as a Government Sales Rep. Primarily, he feels that by improving the capabilities of public safety or public servants, he is saving lives to some degree. Many of the new technological integrations offered by Day Wireless and its partners help create significantly improved outcomes for public safety operations. Successfully implementing beneficial integrations to improve safety is rewarding.
Another rewarding aspect is finding opportunities that no one else has uncovered. It’s like treasure hunting in a way. Such opportunities come from really listening to the needs of stakeholders, like Tribal Elders or local law public safety leaders, during longer exploratory conversations about their operations and current challenges.
Underlying the philanthropic benefits Rogado finds in his role is his direct management hierarchy. He knows that at any time he can reach out to his boss, the director of government sales or even the vice president of sales, to get insight/support/direction regarding ongoing activities.
After working together for a year now, Rogado reports that his boss is a very helpful supervisor who fights to help remove roadblocks as needed, and they get along great. His former boss, now director of government sales, still supports Rogado, often engaging him in strategic discussions about improving internal operations to improve opportunities for success. All DWS Sales Leaders set up their staff for success, a big part of the reason being they’ve done the job themselves and are familiar with what it entails.
Challenges of Government Sales
Like every job, Government Sales has drawbacks. The position works with diverse and complex structures and organizations, both externally and internally, which can be tricky to navigate.
Externally, there are a wide array of personalities and stakeholders with different priorities and budgetary challenges. For example, projects or departments are assigned a budget, and often, managers of those projects feel constrained to the funds allocated to that budget. They may not realize there is grant money available, or it is possible a project might be structured to be funded over a number of years, if warranted. Identifying funding mechanisms for customers is just one manifestation of the creative problem solving aptitude required for this role.
Additionally, the government sales role requires tenacity and courage to ask all the questions that have not yet been asked, even some questions that may be uncomfortable (yet appropriate to the situation). Having difficult conversations is part of the job that may stretch some people out of their comfort zone.
Internally, managing sales operations is another challenge, as there are complex processes and interfaces required to fulfill orders and service requests, installations, engineering, invoicing, and other customer needs for both DWS and Motorola. Although Rogado has a systems and tech background and is proficient, he finds navigating the interface of all the DWS internal processes challenging; however there is a plethora of experienced personnel within DWS that can help steer orders through to completion as well as help with a variety of tasks and information. There are SO many people who can help, Rogado sometimes has difficulty finding the right person.
Successful Attributes for Government Sales Reps
To do well in this position, a candidate should be consultative, trustworthy, coalition and consensus-building with excellent communications skills. Having the ability to work with complex scenarios to unravel funding is also key. Figuring out how to navigate within accounts to find business opportunities—and financing—takes a special set of skills and personality.
Rogado says every bit of information that can be gathered will impact the proposal, and the smallest detail can change the whole outcome of what would be proposed. Getting to those details helps the customer and brings new business. And by doing things others don’t do, it builds credibility quickly.
Although the DWS legacy is with two-way radio communications and public safety, both ours and Motorola’s offerings are constantly expanding. An emerging focus is security and surveillance, and we also offer in-building wireless solutions (DAS, or Distributed Antenna Systems), tower construction and colocation, vehicle upfitting, electrical services, FCC licensing, wide area radios, system design, installation and maintenance, and many other products and services to evangelize and integrate for customers. There is flexibility in figuring out and introducing new, right-fit technology for clients. DWS can help get up to speed with the technology we sell, but an aptitude for learning and talking about tech is critical.
If a job in Government Sales sounds interesting and you think you have the right skill set, visit our Careers page to view current positions and apply to start the conversation with us. We’d love to find more team members like Ryan, and although Rocket people are accepted, they are not required! We appreciate skill sets and positive attitudes, and have lots of great opportunities available. If you see something that catches your eye, feel free to let us know.