5 tips for winning business as a software services startup
When you’re a software services startup, business development is your lifeblood. In a country like Pakistan, where the development of intellectual property in the software space is hampered by various factors including limited investment channels, software houses are often built around service models.
Business development is essential to maintain positive cash flow. While project managers can orchestrate teams of software engineers to ensure quality, your business absolutely must depend on a dedicated team of business development and sales professionals working to earn enough business for the business. .
It is an ongoing process; While business development professionals often start with a very large number of leads, many fail very early in the process. It is important to persevere in order to win an acceptable number of projects.
Based on my experiences in this space, I would like to share some tips for the many people looking to win business in software exports from countries like USA, Australia and UK:
1. Develop a niche. While you might think your engineering team is bright enough to acquire new technology and new executives, the entire industry is gravitating toward a more specialized specialization. It doesn’t matter if you have the best iPhone engineers on the planet, if they’ve only worked on productivity apps so far, gaming space customers will be reluctant to assign work to your team. Identifying the specific genres, platforms, and products your team wishes to specialize in will make it much easier to target the right clients who are often spoiled for choice among the multitude of service configurations across Asia and Europe. ‘East.
2. Increase your offers. The truth is, finding new customers is always a low percentage business. You could make dozens of cold calls on LinkedIn and send hundreds of emails per month, with less than 10% of people contacted even responding. The best way to grow your business is to extract more work from your existing clients. One way to do this is to transform yourself into a one-stop shop offering all associated services: graphic design, project management, interface design, and quality assurance. Another way is to stay proactive in your relationship with your client: make regular calls to understand the client’s strategy and anticipate when their demand for services will grow. The client will appreciate the strategic role you play as a service partner and will always see more value in expanding their relationship with an existing partner than in building a new relationship with someone else.
3. Nothing beats Face-Time. While there are successful examples of business development conducted entirely in the virtual realm, it is difficult to develop a long-term relationship with a client without ever meeting them in person. The most successful service configurations regularly send their business development and sales managers to attend relevant conferences and meet foreign clients in person. This is the best way to forge tangible connections with the customer and communicate how serious you are in serving them. The costs of traveling and attending conferences are quite low compared to the business value you could earn by meeting a potential client in person.
4. Take more Tango. Newbies to business development often think that their potential success in winning the project is based on the initial call. The truth is, most contracts are won on the basis of multiple calls between the client and the service company, spread over several weeks. The initial call might just be a chance for the client to get a feel for and understand the credibility of the potential service package. The same client would likely expect a follow-up call with a senior technician on your team to capture your technical capabilities as a business, and they might expect a third call with individual engineers working on the project. Sometimes customers are reluctant to offer so many follow-ups, but they will feel more comfortable if the service configuration suggests it.
5. Do your homework. In the end, nothing beats being prepared. When you initiate a business development call, you should know that the client expects as a matter of principle that you have case studies and references prepared in advance. Many potential clients ask to see formal business presentations and lists of successful projects. It is always worth investing the time and money in developing and polishing this marketing material and having it on hand when needed.