In attempting to secure more North American clients, many Nearshore service delivery vendors follow a flawed approach to closing new business.
Over the last several years, we have made several observations about the sales practices that truly yield the best results, so here’s why some of the smaller, less experienced Nearshore vendors are struggling to close new business in the US, and how they can course correct when veering off track.
Mistake: Not Having a Clear Understanding of Your Target Customer
For starters, your organizations must have a clear understanding of the type of customer you really want. Steer clear of prospects that base decisions entirely on price. Quick, transactional “wins” can easily backfire if the project begins to creep, or if there is staff turnover on the client side.
Too often these partnerships can result in painful consequences for providers who chased after business without fully considering the difficulties in managing this kind of client.
Solution: The customer you really want is going to be discerning and will seek to establish a long-term relationship built on trust, quality service, and great teamwork rapport. Your entire sales structure should be geared toward weeding out the undesirables so you can focus on those that will enrich, not degrade, your company.
Mistake: Expecting Referral Agents to Do the Heavy Lifting
By far the most common error we’ve seen is the practice of relying on external parties (agents, middle-men, consultants, and lead-generators) to close business. This is fundamentally wrong on many levels!
Think about it: customers can instantly sense if they’re talking to someone who doesn’t truly represent the provider and isn’t fully familiar with the firm’s mission and vision.
Solution: Avoid the lazy path. Give customers a chance to talk to someone who can speak in great detail about the firm’s capabilities and areas of expertise, and, most importantly, begin a dialogue that can grow into a real, bonafide working relationship.
Mistake: Only Selling from South of the Border
Can you close business purely with a telesales team? Yes. Is it going to produce the best possible close rate? No. Why? Because clients want assurance, and that assurance often comes in the form of physical presence in their home country.
Yes, costs may be prohibitive for smaller firms, but the most successful Nearshore providers we know have at least one or two salespeople based in the US.
Solution: Bite the bullet and get someone set up in the US. If you really are in this business to achieve long-term success, a US-based salesperson is essential. Visibility matters.
Mistake: Failing to Connect With Your Local IT/BPO Ecosystem
Customers, especially the savvy ones who have done business with Nearshore firms already, will seek to grasp the level of involvement your company has with the local IT/BPO ecosystem.
The local ecosystem is the furnace that keeps the whole system operational. From university leadership and the training of experts, to trade/investment promotion teams and other Nearshore providers, the customer wants to be confident that your ecosystem is thriving and that you are a part of it.
If your firm is out in the wilderness, unaware of the overall health of the ecosystem, then you have just created another reason for a customer to doubt your long-term intentions.
Solution: Engage with other local vendors, government bodies, and educational institutes. Turn up the volume on what makes you special by holding industry events that communicate high-value specialization. All this will help to build a sustainable framework for the years to come and show your clients that you are truly committed.
Mistake: Failing to Integrate Your Sales Effort with Your Marketing Strategy
Companies based in Nearshore countries are often criticized for being tone-deaf when it comes to the marketing and promotion of their services.
While we have seen a lot of Nearshore vendors improve their marketing strategies in the last two to three years, the competitive stakes continue to increase as more global BPO/ITO players use a combination of online and offline strategies to cleverly engage prospects. This reality means that your marketing message should be well-aligned with your sales efforts.
Solution: Develop new case studies, perform updated research, and display a competency for thought-leadership, because all these approaches will play a key part in helping the customer understand why your firm is uniquely special and well-qualified to take on their project.
Mistake: Having Prospects Talk Only to Senior Sales and Executive Leaders
Don’t underestimate how important your mid-level managers, technical leads, and customer service floor leaders are in conveying their passion for your firm. If you’re not being transparent about the general morale of your workforce, the prospect will be wondering what you’re trying to hide.
Solution: Establish channels of communication that allow for a solid understanding of the company’s working environment, through video chats or, even better, on the ground briefing sessions. Nothing is more powerful than a prospect coming away with the gut sense that software engineers, finance analysts, Q/A managers, and customer service trainers feel great pride in the quality of their work!