How to Generate Leads for Software Development Projects

Outsourced software development has become big business, and it comes in many different flavors: from quick integrations to fully blown outsourced technology departments, complete with Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and development team.

This article will demonstrate a few ideas and recommendations on how to generate leads for software development projects.

Unfortunately, competition is fierce and technological disruption has changed the landscape. Freelance developers can connect with customers through sites like Upwork, freelancer.com, and dozens of others.

So, in the new and ever-changing ecosystem, how can software development companies connect with interested decision makers in need of long-term projects?

You want the bad news or good news first?

Ok. Bad news it is.

The Bad News

When a company has identified a software development need (like almost anything today) they're already searching for it.

And if they're searching, unless they miraculously stumble upon you, you’re sunk. Finding this needle (your company) in the proverbial haystack is no easy task–coupled with the fact that buying keywords in this area is expensive with inconsistent outcomes.

So now we're searching for companies that have a need, they just don't know it yet. Or, put even more simply: your future customer doesn't know what they don’t know.

For example, a potential customer has no clue that if they custom developed a CRM, it would save them immense of time. Or if they decided to develop their own accounting solution, they could automate much of their current manual process, etc.

But if somehow they knew, they'd pay for the project in a heart beat. Now you see the pickle we’re in.

That’s all of the bad news.

The Good News

The good news is that demand is crazy right now for software development services. More and more companies are outsourcing. And if your sales team is good, the probability of expanding your client roster is high.

So how do we get to these clients so we can demonstrate how competent we are? How do we lock down this opportunity for expansion?

Check out these 3 tips below:

1. Position yourself as strategic, NOT tactical

In other words, if you position yourself / the firm as your client's outsourced or fractional CTO in lieu of a developer or development shop, it brings about 2 critical advantages:

  1. An expectation of a commitment (you're expected to be around after 1 project)
  2. In your initial meeting with the prospect, you're a consultant and not a mercenary. Consultants are in it for the long game. Mercenaries do the job and move onto the next one. Demonstrate a genuine interest in their company. What long-term ROI do they see going with you vs. the random Upwork hire?

2. Outsource your lead generation

You should be spending time ideating / strategizing in meetings -- helping your future customers recognize that their problems (some of which they do not know they have) can be solved through technology.

There is absolutely no reason for you or anyone on your team to be "beating the pavement" prospecting. Find a firm that understands the space and let the leads flow.

3. Micro projects:

I know. Small projects don't make you money, so don't think of it as a project, but in place of your free "needs analysis" you were going to do anyway.

At the end of the day, you’re going to have to go through some sort of needs analysis or audit, and it's going to take time. And, that time could be wasted if the prospect goes with someone else.

So, spend the time on a small project that could lead you to other issues, build trust, and entrench you deeper into their organization.

Some good news and some bad news; but the bottom line is that the market is out there for you, and with the right strategies in place, you have the opportunity to win lots of new business.

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