Our agency builds web solutions in the $10K-$25K range and some leads are in the high 5 figures. However, we are distributed, our costs are high while the local stage is flooded with low-quality services. There are no suitable customers here in general due to the limited market and low economical standard. As we are growing, our international customer base is no longer sufficient and we need to find new leads while our costs for high quality, education, licenses and such are still high.
How would you approach selling or marketing $10K-$25K development solutions remotely, without any meetings with clients, or going to meetup groups and local events?
You basically follow the same process that you would online - but think about a map of information rather than a map of geography.
1. Replacing meetup groups and local events.
How would you define a 'good' meetup group to attend?
Likely one that has a topic or theme that your main clients are interested in. Your clients (at least the smart ones) are consuming information about this everyday, more so if they are looking to make a purchase decision.
Brainstorm what the online equivalents of these places would be. Better yet, go ahead and ask your existing clients where they get their information about what you do online. If you can get in front of people here, through paid or earned media, you're one step ahead.
2. Direct sales - you didn't mention this explicitly but it's worth going into because of the cost of your solution. Direct email is a great way to open up conversations and everyone from startups to Salesforce.com are using it. Again targeting the right clients is the toughest part - a neat trick is to look for recently listed job openings in the field your developers work in and contact the companies that are listing open positions (an obvious need).
3. Closing - Now more than ever it's easy to close clients remotely. The phone can be scary and video can be even scarier but the personal touch you can get from seeing someone face-to-face is worth taking the leap. If you are generating many leads at a time (great problem to have), you can 'batch' this through hosting webinars around your services.
Lead generation and sales process is pretty much my jam so if you want to go more in depth feel free to reach out!
I have started multiple companies that began pricing web solutions in the price range you quoted. It's tough and it takes time.
My recommendation is to focus on word of mouth. You already have an existing install base so send them a survey and identify how they found you and why they like you. Armed with this market data, start creating profiles of the type of customer that would buy your services. Track more people who fit that profile--websites they visit, schools they attended, age demographic, type of solution they want built, etcetera.
The fact that you have high costs is a bit of a concern, but without knowing the specifics, I would say that you should aim for a 3-5% cost of sales figure. If you are not investing that much into your sales, you are probably under investing in your sales process. At this price point, volume is your best friend.
There is no short cut to get to your next stage. I have worked past this by asking my existing clients for referrals, really understanding the profile of my customers so that I can find them online, and understanding that its a numbers game--you get more clients when you try more prospects.
Meeting face-to-face is important, but certainly not the only way to do business. You just need to find the right profile customer that will appreciate your service offering and highlight the benefits without getting stuck on your remote location, or high costs.
This is a great question and one that a lot of firms find challenging. The main problem in the development landscape is that all development firms say they are good so its hard for a customer to know how to differentiate between firms and figure out which firms are actually great versus an average development team.
We have been in this space for a while and found that there are a few things that can be done to help alleviate the problem-
1. Focus on your clients - do great work for your clients and have their stories speak for themselves. Instead of just saying we are great have your prospects speak with your clients about their experience working with you. This will help companies get a better sense of the quality of your work.
2. 3rd party verification - We launched VenturePact.com to help companies find the best development firms, and to help development firms validate that they are approved and trusted by an independent third party.
3. Show them what you have done. Instead of simply stating that you are great, show them what you have built and why you are great or different from everyone else. This will give them a better way to validate your higher price point.
I hope this helps!