Remember the old 80/20 rule in business where 20% of your customers bring in 80% of your sales volume? There is a direct correlation to the 80/20 rule within software development sales … but it’s not about volume; it’s about the results based on your software development leads … how they are received, processed, and pursued.
Defining the ideal client for your software development business combines the needs of the potential client with the skills and expertise your software development staff might have. It is a balancing act which requires more than just a hunger for new business. It requires a real-time snap shot and contrasting assessments of what the job requires … weighed against the availability of skill assets, time management, and job desirability.
Securing Projects Through Software Development Leads
A sales manager’s job is to secure new software development clients. Consequently, they pursue every sales opportunity that comes in through their website. In this paradigm 20% of your leads produce about 80% of your business. But the typical sales department pursues the other 80% of the incoming leads just as diligently, even though those leads produce little or no new business. Why? Simple, because it is difficult to turn away what is viewed as potential sales opportunities; even if they aren’t quite right for the business.
Not all Software Projects are Desirable
- Skill Sets: Rather than take any software development project, any time … consider the availability and motivation of your software development staff and the skills they have. Assigning a software developer to a project because he used that development skill 6 years ago might not be the best way to grow your business, especially if the developer really doesn’t want to use that old skill. Consider your reputation and how entanglements and delays become the long-term predictors of your ability to complete jobs and satisfy clients.
- Job too big (or too small): Consider the drain on your developer for a project that is really too big or requires software development skills you will need to acquire from outside sources. Equally, a job that is too small can take key developers off the availability roles and delay progress or even cause you to pass up more desirable work.
- Landing a software development project whether it is large or small takes considerable effort. More important than whether you can land the project, is whether you should land it. Success creates positive word of mouth and breeds more success…failure breeds the exact opposite.
- We don’t do That: You would be surprised at the number of companies who sign a client first … and worry about acquiring the actual skills needed later.
- Doesn’t Feel Right: When something doesn’t feel right about a software client or project … listen to your intuitions. Contracts like that are the ones you should strongly consider passing up. Those are usually the software projects that are poorly conceived, underfunded, or have unrealistic expectations. And those are all part of the recipe for disaster … leading to incomplete or inoperative software and outstanding/unpaid invoices (not to mention the odd lawsuit).
Shaping and Reshaping Your Focus Unnecessarily
The perception of the relentless pursuit (of sales) is prevalent throughout the Software Development Industry (among others). In effect taking any job that can be signed puts you in the position of shaping and reshaping your company and your offerings to fit the software projects coming in.
By only pursuing the strongest and most appropriate software development leads you will continual strengthen your core skills. This approach will allow your business to grow much stronger and will help ensure your business success.