Help needed. IT sales. How to define a sales strategy?

Hi everyone,

Some of you may know me already. I'm running a professional mobile and web development consultancy. We were growing for a few years straight and I thought that everything is going great. After some conflicts with my partner I had to buy him out. Immediately after, I lost an important client (they didn't get next round of funding and had to stop the project) as well they asked for a payment plan. These two things had a pretty bad hit on my operational cashflow.

At this stage I'm facing a big problem. Most of my sales were (are) happening via the word-of-mouth and we never defined a process to sell our services strategically.

We are/were a trusted partner for many of our clients, got lots of compliments and references, helped many of them grow and become successful. While there are lots of companies facing a problem of finding experts that they can trust - we are at the stage when we can't find clients.

I have a team of experts, truly senior professionals in web and mobile, great portfolio and can't find a way to sell the service. At this stage I can't wait for 4-6 months to see the outcome of the long term strategies (I still do it ofc) or wait until our past clients will pass us leads, because I'll either have to fire half of my staff in a month or close the business in 2-3 months.

I still want to try get it back to normal. I know that there are lots of professionals on this website and I would really appreciate any advice and/or help!

P.S. If there is a IT services sales people in the group, who are looking for part-time involvement (potentially partnership) - I'll be glad to have a conversation.

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6

The focus on on a Sales Strategy is never easy, particularly in the ear of the Always On Marketing Message. There are 3 Basic Parts, and then I will ask some questiosn after that. 3 Parts are: Relationship Management, Roadmap to Revenue, and Customer Success. There is a actually another aspect to consider: What is Your Branding Strategy? This typically can ease the way into a Sales Strategy. So, consider these Questions: Do you have Reference-able Customers regarding what you provide for them- on or off the Record? When you sell, why do you Win? Why do You Lose? Have you evaluated and documented Successful Sales Cycles and see the Repeatable Elements? What I typically do is talk to the People who are hands on in getting Customers to learn what they have done. In most cases, the problem with having it all Defined internally is that you are right at Ground Level on every deal. The Advantage I have is that I come in out of the Actual Cycle. As a Result, I can help you take a look at what you are doing and how you can be more successful doing it. I call it the Sales Execution Strategy. It consists of Goals, Objectives, and Actions to ensure that it is not only Put in Place, but a Cadence is established to make sure that Business as Usual does become what happens. Phil Bush - phil@mavren.com - www.mavren.com. If what I write her is of interest, we can talk as you see fit.

5

Your opening questions was “how to define a sales strategy?” but later you seem to narrow on a more specific issue, “we can't find clients.” I would discourage using the word strategy as it sometimes it makes it seem like you are taking on a bunch of abstractions.

I would encourage you to engage your team around two questions: “What are the macro forces affecting our business growth.” AND: “How might we find more clients?” As you work through the potential answers to the questions, you’d keep in mind that there are current and potential markets/customers. Which of those are realistic candidates to approach?

Then the question for the team becomes, “How might we approach potential customers to find out their needs?”

I’m a big believer that strategy is a kind of problem solving involving collaboration. Like any other kind of problem solving, your better served to define the problem before you start solving it.

Thank you for the advice, Greg!

5

Hi Sergii, All I can say is don't give up. I would be more than happy to have a Skype call with you and give you some pointers on how you can grow sales very quickly, offline. It requires a lot of work but it beats sitting and waiting for clients to come into the door.
If you are up for it, let's have a chat and I can assure you, it will help you instantly. Session will be approx. 2 hours to get a good understanding of your business and it won't cost you a cent. Let's get you back up and running within the next 2 - 4 weeks and then we'll talk further.

If you are up for it, connect with me on LinkedIn and I'll send you over my skype details.
Otherwise, wishing you good luck going forward and hope you can sort it out. No matter if you talk to me or not, make sure you focus on creating sales, offline, not only online.

Carsten

Hi Carsten,

I appreciate your offer and would be glad to chat (sent a connect request).

Regards,
Sergii

5

A lot of sound advice here focused on strategy, branding and lead automation. However as you are only days from giving key members of your team notice, and just weeks from winding up the company, most of this is fairly academic, as it won’t stop the rot.

You have two resources that you can call on and you must call on both immediately!

If you are going to survive during the next quarter and beyond you need to let all your employees understand your precarious predicament and ask each one if they are going to start look for employment elsewhere of bring in a new client during the next two weeks. Their answer will identify whether or not you should let them go immediately. Those who promise to support your survival are the only people you need right now, everybody else is comparatively dead-wood, you can’t afford them any longer – Do it TODAY start within the next half hour.

Then look to your other valuable resource, your customer base. Contact each and every one in person to determine if there is any chance of some additional work in the next week or so. Provide an incentive that will allow you to cover the cost of your loyal employees/contractors and retrain the ones that count and who has undertaken to deliver new business revenue within the month. Do not dismiss word of mouth as at this point in your company’s development (or demise) it is likely to be all you can realistically afford. Don’t tell you clients you are in trouble; develop a positive spin on how responsive and resourceful your restructured enterprise now is. Follow this with a persuasive referral incentive, (not merely a lead but a strong and influential testimonial), that you can use immediately to gain the trust and business from someone they know and have identified as high potential short term new business.

Call this a strategy if you like but at this juncture you need ‘survival tactics’ that you must implement immediately! Don’t wait for any more responses to your business.com post, it is two days since you posted this question, you should be doing this by now!

Some have wished you luck, it sounds like that rare and unreliably commodity may have run out, hard work is all you can realistically depend upon now.

Hi John,

You are absolutely right, it's nice when luck is involved, but hard work is what leads to success.

I did ask my key employees, all of them supported me and offered to work with the reduced rate for a while it it would be necessary. They are like a family to me, so I don't feel that I should be doing this unless I'm completely out of money.

A week before I wrote this post, we've called every single client and prospect from our pipeline to see if we can up sell any services. While they do want to work with us eventually, it seems like no one is ready to start any projects within a reasonable time. Most are on planning or pre-approval stage (what means they are a few months away from the start).

I got some offers from them to introduce our services to other companies they know might benefit from our services. So that's nice.

Thanks for your advice, I'm actively trying to stabilize the company now.

3

Hello my dear fellow!

First of all you need to be strong at that stage, You should take some bold decisions and think positive and try to work hard to get clients.

If wanna get clients free:

You can go at freelancer, fiverr, upwork, guru and many more freelancing sites.

If you can pay:

You can do email marketing and promote your services or can try Fb ads.

Hi Sergii, I have seen your scenario play out on many occasions. I believe what happens is the message gets stale and companies become too reliant on word of mouth and what they believe is a trusted advisor status. One of my past clients told me that "our client's love us", but their sales were dropping like a rock. Many companies can't change and reinvent themselves, many others lose sight of what their real value is or on delivering value, they think that because their clients love them, they will have a continuous flow of business. The organizations that I have worked with have turned things around by focusing on the true value they deliver and by stepping up their game and reinventing themselves. Adding higher value services or packaging solutions that solve real business problems.

Hi Asad,

This makes sense (boards like upwork). I don't think that facebook ads would make a lot of sense, the can for sure generate lots of leads, but the quality of them would be very low.

Thanks for your advice though!

No dear If you target views smartly at facebook ads You can generate good leads can get big clients, But first you should go for freelancing.

0

I would be most happy to discuss our Lead Generation Qualification / Appointment Setting process to discuss how SCC Services Group can be a resource to get you back on track. You can reach me at 954-444-3668 / dkielkucki@sccservicesgroup.com. You can also view www.sccbusinessservices.com for information about the services we offer.

Regards,
Dave Kielkucki

0

Hi there. I had a look at your pain point that you don't want to wait for a long-term strategy. IMO, you should reach your prospects directly and that will be possible if you hire a great sales development company or an in-house sales team. This will help you to amplify your sales pipeline and ultimately that will increase the number of "ready-to-buy sales leads" and your business ROI. You can also read a very popular book: Sales Development Playbook

Best,
Rahul Thakur

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