Imagine this: Suddenly 2012 has arrived. You’re happy because you’ve successfully completed all your projects for 2011. But you’ve got no deals in the pipeline. Scary scenario, right? It’s also a very likely scenario, and it happens to far too many Nearshore IT firms.
2012 is looming. As a Nearshore provider, you may be so busy with projects that you may have forgotten to fill your pipeline. But don’t panic just yet. Here is a way to fill your pipeline quickly without having to sell your soul or stress out your overworked sales people.
It’s a very effective, original, yet cost-effective marketing campaign that you can implement even without a marketing director or a marketing department. This is a marketing campaign that sales people would be happy with, because it generates sales-ready leads, not the type of lead you have to throw away or “nurture” over time.
Identify Your Targets
Identify 50-100 highly targeted companies. These should match the profile of your ideal clients: those customers that you enjoy working with, who don’t buy on price, are profitable to you, and refer you to others.
If these ideal customers share common traits, then develop a profile of your ideal target customer. Go out and find 50-100 of them, and start building a database of these companies. Research as much as you can about them on the Internet: what software platforms they currently have; their revenues (if they’re publicly traded then that’s public information), what their goals are, their vision, their mission, and more importantly, their problems and challenges.
Identify Three Target Executives Within Each Company
Then you want to get even more granular. Identify their CEO, CIO, CTO, or their CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, or their CTO, CEO, CFO or any number of combinations. Make sure to get a business or operations executive, as well as an IT or technology executive.
I’ll explain why later.
Find out as much as you can about them, using LinkedIn, Google, Manta, Plaxo, Jigsaw, friends, acquaintances, publications, etc. What articles have they written? Do they participate in discussions on LinkedIn or Quora? Do they have Twitter accounts?
Craft a Compelling Offer
Many IT services companies or custom software developers make the mistake that their services are the offer. Frankly, nobody cares about your services – yet. You’ve got to give them a reason to care, something compelling that will make them want to talk to you.
You must come up with a way to get in the door, and no more. Don’t think about selling them anything yet.
What can you offer that’s quick, inexpensive and provides a lot of value?
• Can you offer a two-hour onsite software audit?
• Can you provide a mobile-specific mock-up of their current website and offer to show them, in person, why 40% of users who navigate to their website from their smart phones or PDAs will click away if it’s not a mobile-specific site?
• Can you offer a free webinar on “The Seven Reasons Why You Must Get On The Cloud Yesterday?”
• Can you provide a free one hour ‘one-on-one’ consultation on how they can save money and improve their competitiveness with a more efficient IT infrastructure?
What else can you think of? These offers are designed to get you in the door NOW by providing something of immediate value.
The offer has to be valuable, but it also has to be non-salesy. You’re not trying to close a sale, you’re trying to get an appointment and share your expertise for free.
Write a Letter to All Three Executives
In this age of digital everything, direct mail is back.
But you’ve got to do it the right way. Write a short, professional letter to each executive you identified above. Mention you’re also sending the letter to his/her colleagues, naming them specifically.
Say: “I’m also sending this letter to John Smith and Jane Jones, because I’m trying to determine who is the best person to share the following information with.”
Why is this important? It will generate a psychological desire in all three of them to take care of the issue you brought up before the other executive does. They need to show they’re taking care of business, so they might just call you as soon as they get your letter!
State a potential problem or challenge or goal they might have (remember, do your research – use the information you’ve gathered, don’t wing it). Then present your free offer that ideally should be a way to solve their current issues.
Close by saying you’d like to schedule an appointment, and that your assistant will be calling their assistant to put it on the calendar.
Finally, send the letters via FedEx or Priority mail.
What, do I hear you say this is too expensive? Hey, if you want to fill your pipeline with some 2012 deals, you’ve got to go all out. Just do it – you’ll be happy with the results.
Have your assistant call their assistant and send a follow-up email if your research revealed their email address.
Get the appointment.
However, you’ll probably be surprised to find that some of your prospects will have already contacted you. Remember the psychological aspect of sending the letter to three executives, and letting them know you’re contacting their colleagues?
A friend of mine and fellow marketer had great success with a similar campaign. He put together a program exactly like the one I just described above for an IT services client of his. Before they made their first follow-up phone call they got a couple of phone calls from prospects wanting to take them up on their offer.
He told me this was by far their most successful lead generation campaign he’d done.
Are you ready to hit the ground running in 2012?
Try this campaign – it’s not expensive, yet it’s smart, shows you’re a professional consultant instead of a sales-oriented company, and it works!