Why it is So Hard to Market & Sell Custom Software Development & What Can You Do About it?
We have a HUGE number of custom software development companies right here in India, but very few are really building scale at the pace that they deserve and aspire.
Getting the first few customers by word of mouth or past connects gets the business started. In the initial days most custom software companies are more than open to getting started with almost any type of project they can lay hands on from any domain. After all… you do have the tech skills to ensure you can give a solution to the customer. If not, no worries the hard working technocrat that you are, will be more than willing to burn the candle at both ends to add new skills and ensure a successful delivery.
Some lucky ones are able to sustain and grow quite nicely by building multiple solutions for the same set of customer companies. Team sizes grow from 5 to 25 to 80 and it feels like you are doubling year on year diligently growing the same customer accounts.
As the years progress, you realize that you have worked on a very large variety of ‘projects’ and solved ‘multiple problems’, yet when it’s time to pitch to that next ‘customer’ it all feels overwhelming.
A service is abstract and even more so if it’s going to be ‘customised’.
Custom software companies therefore have a tough job in telling their story. The features and benefits of their service are fluid and easily subject to challenge. Pricing is complicated as it’s based on effort estimates that can vary largely. Development is as much an art as it is science. Give three different software developers the same problem to solve and you will most likely get three different solutions.
It gets even harder, if the company who is buying the service is different from the eventual users of the solution you build.
Unless of course, you are selling just a pair of tech hands so you reach out to prospective customers and say “Hey, we offer awesome software development services in <some technology name e.g. flutter> for $X per hour. How many developers do you need?”
Umm…so how do you go about attracting and converting customers every single day, day in and day out on an on-going basis to build that scale you want?
There could be many strategies to hack growth, but the one that has been the most powerful is called ‘Building a Niche’!
In order to build conscious growth, it is important to start to build a niche that you could become a leader in. It requires grit, determination and the power to make a decision…to go narrow and not wide.
As a custom software development company most founders feel they can provide services to literally any domain having any kind of challenge. This in a way is true…but very difficult to market. You can’t go around saying I can develop any software for anybody out there…because nobody then pays attention.
The more SPECIFIC you start to become in your marketing message, the more heads and the right heads…turn your way. E.g. You stop selling AI development services for anyone …BUT choose to build a niche in the financial services segment providing chat automation for customer service, OR Virtual assistance in healthcare OR Cyber Security for hospitals OR Demand Forecasting for eCommerce companies etc. Be specific and choose a problem to solve in a vertical and create a specialization.
This helps you :
1) Generate more leads and interest
2) Gets your team aligned towards a specific domain
3) Enables you to forecast employee skills for hiring, as you can now stick to specific technology areas
4) As a company the maturity and understanding of the customer grows exponentially
5) More similar people start to reach out to you by referrals
6) You start to charge premium pricing
7) You can start to dominate in that segment
8) You can compete fairly even with bigger brands
I shot a video few months ago to share tips on ‘How to build a profitable niche”. You may want to watch that here.
Specialization can be created in a horizontal, vertical or around a platform too.
The idea of finding and building a niche may feel overwhelming at first. But I strongly urge you to not let that stop you.
Building a niche is one of the best moves you can make to grow your business, build more profitability and reduce your stress!
I’ve also written a guide on “How To Generate Leads, Even If You Are The Only On In Your Marketing Team”. So check it out here and get started to build scale in your business.
P.S: Work with me 1-2-1 as your Coach and get professional help to scale your business. Just click on this link to book a 1-2-1 catch-up with me https://calendly.com/tabishbibikar/scale-session