Proven Lead Generation Tactics For Your Software Development Company

It’s true — software is eating the world. It is progressively entering every aspect of our lives and our society in general. But don’t let that fool you. Most of people think that software companies are !@#$ money. Maybe some. Software industry definitely has more opportunities than other industries, but it’s not all fun and games.

One of the biggest challenges that software development companies face is projects pipeline.

It always seems to be either too few or too many clients/projects. Never just enough (Goldilocks anyone?).

In this industry, where developers are dictating terms, a month without work can cost you A LOT.

So you should definitely put some serious effort into optimizing your projects pipeline.

Your lead generation process should be:

  • Predictable
  • Consistent
  • Affordable

There are many factors to consider here, like:

  • your company’s size
  • market it operates in
  • your ideal customer profile etc.

There are many different tactics and channels that you can use to engage with your target audience. All of them require a certain amount of time, money, and effort. At the beginning you should choose those that you can implement more easily.

The best mix of tactics that meets the above criteria is:

1. Inbound Marketing

Website: Awesome looking website designed with your ideal customer persona/s in mind are absolute “must have” and a foundation of your lead generation.

SEO: There is nothing better than getting organic traffic to your website.

SMO — Create company pages on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter — whichever is relevant to your business and keep posting quality content regularly.

Content marketing — Content is the king! Don’t be lazy. Create content that your potential clients will find valuable. And create it as much as you can. Help people. Show your expertise. They will appreciate it!

Content types you can offer:

  • Portfolio
  • Blog posts
  • Free eBooks
  • Case studies
  • Tutorials
  • Source code
  • Infographics
  • etc.

2. Outbound Marketing

Great method of lead generation is just being proactive:

  • Ask your clients/partners/acquaintances for referrals and introductions
  • Search Google, LinkedIn, AngelList etc. and contact people that look interesting to you
  • Attend conferences and meetups and acquire leads

5. External partners

It’s difficult to penetrate new markets. You need to have people with well developed network and reputation in those markets willing to help you.

You can make them “partners” through affiliate programs, hiring them as external business developers or advisory board members. They will usually work for some equity share or percentage of each deal they bring to the table. But they will be immensely valuable for your company growth.

4. Word of mouth

In the end the best thing ever, which cannot be paid for is WORD OF MOUTH.

  • Find a way to keep your clients satisfied and they will refer you to others.
  • Get your client’s testimonials and put it on your site.
  • Ask for permissions to put the project details in your portfolio.
  • Keep in touch with your clients regularly. They’ll most likely have new projects for you in the future.

5. Cold Emailing

And here comes the golden goose of lead generation. So simple, so cheap, and yet so effective — Cold Emailing. It simply means sending personalized emails to target customers you’ve previously had no contact with. It’s a part of outbound marketing, but it’s so powerful I felt that it’s appropriate to emphasize it.

Cold emailing can make your sales more predictable simply because of the law of large numbers — for example you can learn that every 1000 sent emails get you one big project in a period of 3–6 months. Ain’t this a gold?

In order to maximize your cold emailing results you should:

  • Create a database of decision-makers
  • Analyze your results (Open Rate, Engagement, Response Rate)
  • Improve the content of your emails & subject lines
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up

And that’s all! But…

Know that business growth requires investments and regular marketing activities rather than one-time actions.

This is no area for quitters. Do it regularly and in an organized manner. And start now. Sales cycle usually lasts 3–6 months. The later you start your lead generation activities, the more you delay the moment of signing a business contract with a prospect.

Although we’re talking about B2B marketing, keep in mind that you’re still talking to a person. Personalize your talk, humanize it, engage emotions. Storytelling.

Have in mind that business people you’re targeting won’t understand a thing you say about software. You have to use their language, gain their trust, speak about things that they’ll understand. And in the end justify your price in their eyes (because, let’s face it, they’ll have to pay a lot for the thing they don’t even understand).

Have you heard about the story of brothers Wright and Langley?

Not so many people today know about the rivalry between the Wright brothers and another inventor — Samuel Pierpont Langley.

Back in the beginning of 20th century both Wright brother and Langley were trying to invent a “flying machine”. Langley was established scientist with international reputation, government support and finances for his experiments. On the other hand, Wright brothers were young men who were financing their childhood dream to make a flying machine with the nickels and dimes they could scrape. At the time public knew nothing about them.

Against all odds, Wright brothers, following their passion, managed to make their first successful flight before Langley and get in every history book. A classic David vs. Goliath story.

This is one of the reasons I LOVE software industry — small players can easily compete with the big ones. So get out there and WIN some new projects.

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