Selling high-technology products like flash-optimized storage arrays into the federal government is not an easy task. Sales cycles are long and complex – government IT professionals are smart, experienced, and not easily impressed. Fewer than five percent of the companies looking to sell to the federal government have any meaningful success. Vendors that make it into that five percent are amply rewarded with what are often multi-year contracts and a great vertical customer base that every company needs to grow and prosper.

I’ve been selling to federal customers for almost 20 years and have built successful federal sales organizations for three different companies. I joined Nimble Storage as the first director of federal sales last July, charged with creating our presence in Washington, DC, a region I know well. I took the job because I know Nimble has a solution that is tailor-made for federal IT. Let me explain how.

Nimble Storage’s flash-optimized storage solutions are fast and efficient – in fact, they’re the most efficient storage product on the market. That’s essential when you’re handling as much data as the typical federal agency does. Finally, they’re affordable, both in terms of their price tag and total cost of ownership. Affordability is a key consideration for most customers and that’s particularly true of those in the federal government who typically labor under tighter budgets than their brethren in the private sector.

Over the past year, the Nimble Storage federal team has grown significantly, hiring individuals of exceptional skill, experience, and integrity, many of them with decades of experience in data storage, and even a couple of folks who have worked as federal IT managers. In addition to our District of Columbia staff, we now have federal teams in Raleigh, NC and Denver, CO. These are all people who have strong connections with federal IT professionals and a depth of knowledge and understanding about the challenges they face. We’ve also added a significant number of channel partners with experience serving particular groups within the federal government. They’ve eagerly embraced Nimble Storage’s approach and have helped us to significantly grow our opportunity base in a short time.

Here in Washington we’re supporting customers and channel partners with training, and access to our cleared technical team as well as special events like webinars and lunch-and-learns on topics important to federal IT professionals; plus, we’re running twice a month live webinars including question-and-answer sessions with Nimble staff.

I’m proud to report the hard work is paying off as we acquire and grow new federal customers and acquire the necessary authorizations to sell to all IT organizations within all branches of the federal government. And as Nimble Storage and our data storage arrays scale out, we believe the greatest merits of our solutions will be amplified in the largest federal data centers.