How to Stand Out Among 100 Mil Other Software Houses? Podcast + Video

September 21, 2020 By Romeo Man

Summary of the webinar:

The webinar is dedicated to Tech Companies that struggle to position themselves in a crowded market. Talk about how to stand out from the crowd, do positioning for the sales pitch, outreach and offer next to some big CRM  giants.

Here is the video recording  intro of the webinar. 📺

 
intro

Listen to the webinar in a podcast 🎙️ format:

On the go? We got you covered here is the podcast format of the webinar. Plug in you headphone 🎧and listen while on the go or in the gym 💪.

 

None of these work for you? You prefer reading 🛋️.We've thought of that too. Here is the full transcript of the webinar.😱

Table of contents:

00.00 Introduction

00.47 Jeroen Corthout self-presentation

02.48 Content

04.15 Targeting the right leads

04.31 Step 1: Choose a tech stack

07.43 Step 2: Focus on a specific location & industry

10.04 Step 3: Solve a specific pain

12.32 Step 4: Target companies who have this pain

13.53 Step 5: Target the right people at these companies

17.50 The power of customer interview

19.44 Learn from your current customers

20.22 Understand the Four Forces

22.50 Strong positioning & customer focus

24.13 Build up proof

27.00 Get your foot in the door

27.17 Reach out through the right channels

34.38 Follow-up and close leads

35.33 Make an offer they can't resist

42.00 Q&A

Resources and links mentioned in the webinar:

SoDA

g2.com

Crunchbase

Salesflare

Full transcript of the webinar:

Introduction

Romeo

To position your software house, among other million other software house. Great discussion with both of these guys. Enjoy the webinar.

Jeroen

So I will hide this little thing at the bottom. Cool. So, as we've already established, the point of this session is to understand how to position and sell better as a software house.

And as we also already established for the people that just join my background is in a sort of a marketing/software house,  you could say we made some software as well. But whatever, before and now I have a CRM company. It is a CRM that fills out itself versus the system you might be using. That is, that is pretty manual. Ares pulls data from your emails, your phone calls, your meetings and web tracking, and email tracking, databases, e-mail signatures. It basically lives by itself. You can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn or email. Email is probably the worst way to reach me. If you are watching this, I would recommend you to send me a connection request on LinkedIn and specify that it is from this webinar because otherwise I probably ignored.

Jeroen

Just to start off with a funny one. This is a very general example of what can be wrong. So I will quickly read it. It is someone saying that they're interested in cooperation with companies, la la la. And then Mike Griffin, the person (here you will see a lot of examples of Mike Griffin, who gave me permission to use what he's often sharing on social media in my presentation). So he says, what about my product, makes you think we are fit? And the guy doesn't even know what the product is. It is that makes it selling. And then he asks and he keeps insisting that he would like to know what the product this instead of making a very easy click, mixed face and finding out he just does not care to know first what his customers in. And that's, I think, summarizes a big part of the problem. And we'll go into that in a moment.

Jeroen

What we'll cover in the bit of structure is the content in different steps. This is different steps in chronologically. The steps really should take to up your sells. It is one focusing on the right leads. Second, building up a bit of roof because that is going to be hard if everybody's gonna bring the same message. Then first you need to find a sort of exclusive message and then build a proof for it, because, for instance, I get people contacting me for software development every day. My main action I take archive e-mail or ignore the LinkedIn connection request because it is just so many. I would die on me if I would have to respond to every one of those. So getting your foot in the door next step after you have these things together is something we'll look into. And then when that all worked out, following up and closing these deals. Actually, this is also something that is extremely important because the leads that we get then, you should use try to maximize the amount that you can close. And we'll go into how I would recommend to you to do it. So to start off with the first point, unless there are already questions, I still see four questions. So I guess I will just move on.

Targeting the right leads

Jeroen

So targeting the right leads, I think, is the very basic first problem that should be attacked. Where it is often starts and I think most software houses kind of have this down.

Choose a tech stack

Jeroen

They have decided on their tech stack simply for the reason that you cannot offer everything. If your developers do everything in JavaScript, you will not start offering Java developments. That just doesn't make sense. So this step is mostly in place and it is a very important thing to do and very close from here. There is the Kronos Group. It is the locally here, the biggest IT company. And they basically set up a structure in such a way that they have companies for every tech stack and sort of application and they make a specialized IT company that basically goes through the exercise (that we're gonna go through at the moment) and focuses very specifically on a certain XPAC application industry because that works well.

Romeo

I just have a question. This is something that a lot of SoDA members do. Are you guys those into software house? Did you choose, like a particular stack or it is everything doesn't matter who comes or how do you see this as a software house?

Damian

Yeah, I think it depends. It usually starts with a bunch of people who gather together. There are some IT guys and they have specific tech stack and they keep it and they switch only in they have clients. For example, let's say I have five dollars. This is my core team. As a small company and I'm growing and I see that we are strong in this technology and we can get clients. But sometimes clients, they need more. So they need some Robin release or Python. And this is a decision from the company. If they are willing to extend the tech stack, or they are willing to keep the JavaSkript and keep this need away to some other company. So it is usually about the strategy of the company if we are focused on tech stack or something different. Right now it is a different company. So, for example, we have KDB from Kraków. They are focused on the industry. So energy and utility, they have the technology behind that. So that's one thing. On the other side, we have a tech stack, Python, our house. That's how they call themselves our house from Poznań. So they are fully focused on Python and they don't care much about the industry. But, yeah, it helps them a lot because it is easier to trigger clients who're looking for Python only. So I guess it depends on the strategy of the company and quite a lot depends on the origins of the company.

Romeo

Yeah, got it. Thanks.

Focus on a specific location & industry

Jeroen

Like Damian said, you don't have to necessarily combine it, but I think the narrower you grow, the better. The second thing is to focus on a specific location and industry: you don't go selling all over the world, that makes your life more difficult. You choose a specific region. Let's say you say, oh, I'm going to focus on France or something. The easy thing there is if you focus on a certain location. And maybe even more specific of it in France. Take a region or something and then say, 'OK, I have one customer there. I'm going to expand there'. The chances are higher that these people know each other and that they will recommend you. And if a few people recommend you, that makes your position way stronger. You can also use this when you approach people, you can say we already work for that company that is in the same city, which gives a lot of confidence and you can use it when you go there. That's obviously easy done because you can visit multiple customers at the same time and you can even do something like organizing meetups. So there're a lot of value in choosing a location. And secondly, there is a lot of value, and that's actually in the company I used to work. That was a digital marketing consultancy, you could say, for pharma. The reason why we got in very easily in pharma, because it is because we focus on pharma. Other agencies would go to the pharma companies. And tried to nail down a problem, while we understood all the problems already because we had sold it already for another company. And this gave us an enormous step ahead versus the other ones because our expertise was already so much deeper that we could skip that step and actually start focusing on solving the problem in the proper way. In the survey, when we share a presentation later, you can click this link. But it is a survey by my linkedIn contact of mine. He did a survey towards companies, like what they're looking for in an agency and expertise in the industry was the top thing that came out for them to choose an agency.

Solve a specific pain

Jeroen

Third step. And if you go even even further, it is focusing on a specific pain because you might have said we're choosing this stack and then we're focusing on that industry and stuff. But then you need to figure out, is there a specific thing that there that we can solve. Again that will make it easier to focus on the right companies. And I will get into that.

Romeo

When we are talking about pain, let's say, maybe some people have problems with QA right. Like they cannot find the sense, right?

Jeroen

And in that sense, I will get to it on our next slides. This is an example of how not to do it again. This person here says, 'We do projects, waiting for a positive responses'. He says, 'I don't have a positive response'. There're OK things. There's a project and he asks like, 'How do you think, what can I improve?' And he has no idea what he can improve. So that's sort of if you go to a client and you say, 'We can do stuff for you' and the client is OK. But what can you do for us? And you have no idea. That's what we're going to try to find out here. So there're a few examples I listed here, but it is obviously way more. There'sre companies that don't have an in-house mobile developer and they want to make a mobile app. They might not want to hire someone, so they'll outsource it. That's something you could focus on. There're companies that are scaling really fast and just gone to hire developers fast enough or they need to have a prototype made that's not on the list. But that's also a possibility. They don't have a technical co-founder in a startup. So they need to fill that gap somehow. They've made something, but the UX is really crappy and they want to have a proper next version or at some point they have they're stuck with some technology and they want to upgrade it, they want to replace it. Those are the pains you could have or you could have an issue with QA and you need someone to take care of that. That's all possible.

Target companies who have this pain

Jeroen

The advantages of this are is that you can actually target companies who have this pain, and I listed a few possibilities. Like, if you are looking for companies that have some mobile development needs, then you could look for instance on g2.com, which is a softer view web sites. You could start looking for companies where the reviewers complain about the mobile app. When you find one, you can use that as your foot behind the door, lets say. You can contact the company and say, 'OK, I see customers, I'm not super happy with your mobile app'. We do mobile development services. We have already done work for this company, you know. And we're happy to help to solve the problem. This is a big advantage when you start focusing like this, there'are a few other examples, like if you say I cannot fast enough, you could look for companies that just raised funding. So they just got a lot of money to hire people, but it just cannot go fast enough. There're a few more examples here in these lists. When we show the presentation later, you can probably check that out.

Jeroen

And then also, depending on the issue, or trying to solve for you as a salesperson, you'll also have to get in contact with someone different. These are just indicative here, but it is sort of to try to show that that's not always the same person you reach for it. It is another problem, if there's no in-house mobile deaf than the CTO, probably wants to take care of that. If there is no technical co-founder, then there's probably no CTO [laugh].  And if it is a product problem, then you might want to focus on the head of products, which might also be the CEO, because if you go to the CTO, that they'll maybe think that they can solve it internally, while the head of the product might have another idea about that. They might say, 'OK, we need to fix this', but I know that our internal folks will not be able to do this.

Romeo

What we saw working with the software houses in that this part is a little bit ignored. And I know that it can be hard, this distinct. But what we started to do is coaching and mentoring our software houses to start making business cases. But these business cases might be totally different for depending on the people in those organization, especially when these organizations get more enterprise.  They have different pains, have your solutions which are totally different. So I will urge you to look into what you are solving, but also what you are solving for that specific person in that organization because they would look at it totally differently. I don't know if Damian would have some insights here, but what we see is that if we send it to a CTO, we totally focus on different things, than if we send it to a CEO or if it is a product guy that later on will pitch our whole software house service to the decision makers, which can be the CEO. So it is very important to also understand the dynamics of those people within that organization and which has which pain.

Damian

I totally agree, because you have different people in their organization and they have different goals. For example, for the CEO, the guy is more strategic. Look, into the organization from the top of it and look at the external tech team as some kind of resource that helps them achieve their business goals. But for the city, for example, it is more about bringing the product life, making it faster. So he will have different parameters when choosing a partner, that sortware house. And if you want to sell to the company, you always have to think about the person you are selling to, or sometimes you are selling to people. So I had a situation when during the meeting there ware a director of engineering and a CTO and there are two completely different roles. And when you start talking to these guys, they transparently tell you what is a goal, why they are looking for the software team and they have different reasons for picking up the software team and different criteria. And if you listen carefully, you can win both of these guys, because if you will just convince one of them, you might lose the site itself.

Romeo

Exactly. Cool. Thanks for that insite, Damian.

Jeroen

I Move on?

Damian

Yeah.

Jeroen

So I just went through a few things to figure out. Now, one of the ways you can figure this out is by interviewing your current customers. This obviously only works when you already have customers. And just starting out with some decision you need to make. Or you could do some customer research before you starts. Like in a SAS company like salesflare. This is actually something that is heavily recommended is to interview potential prospects with the issue you will be solving to find out whether an issue is actually validated. And then as soon as you sort of create the software then you go back to them and say, 'Look, you said this is your issue. Did we solve it?' I don't know whether that exactly is applicable to software houses as well, but if it is, then you should certainly try it. But if you already have customers, then for sure there is a lot of value in asking them questions. I personally did interviews with our top 40 customers in December. We looked at the customers that were happy bringing up a lot of revenue, being with us for a while now, this kind of stuff, using the software actively. And we did a whole interview covering some of the things here. This is obviously like what expects they had, it is not something I asked. Something that is more for you to ask. But we tried to map the whole process of why they chose civils flair. What they enjoy about it, what they think can be improved and where the CEO is going etc.

Jeroen

Now, if you are doing that, it is good to understand who are your customers? What text tech industry location? This will inform you towards the things I said earlier, the pain they were having. How they got in touch with you and why? A very interesting one. Why did decided to hire you over others? Because that might give you very good indicators of what makes you different and inform your positioning. And it is also good to use testimonials, obviously, which we will get into in a moment as well.

Understand the Four Forces

Jeroen

Now, I talked about this whole process of how they got to choose a salesflare. This is from The ReWired Group from Bob Moesta. And I forgot the name of his partner. These are the guys that started to hold jobs to be done together with Clayton Christensen. In case you have heard about this, and there are basically four forces working on the decision process. On the solutions side there is the present that is broken and it pushes you to go somewhere. There is the pool because of an expectation of something way better. But then, on the other hand, there are also things pulling people back towards where they currently are. And that is one just keeping things the way they are. Like the habit of this is how things are. And secondly, being afraid of going to the new situation and on the slide there are a few questions with which you can bring out these forces. It is extremely interesting to understand what happens in the mind of a customer at the moment, that they decide for you. So if you do customer interviews, I would certainly also recommend to include these four if you want to read more about these topics.

Jeroen

The second book is grate 'Competing'. And it is basically a book on jobs to be done. And the first book is great as well, if you are looking for a methodology of how to do your positioning step by step because normally you use a sort of what they recommend and marketing is that you fill out these positioning statements. If you want to know how to fill out the positioning statements and how to step by step understand this and nail it down. And then the first book is a total recommendation as well. Do you guys have something to add on the topic or questions, or?

Romeo

Not at this point.

Strong positioning & customer focus

Jeroen

Yeah, positioning for us is extremely important. You can imagine there is, by the latest count, 6+ CRM in the markets. It is very hard for us to find our position there. We position ourselves, as you can see on the left there, as a simply powerful CRM for small businesses selling B2B. And our value proposition is that you will have less work and more sales, less work because the data input is automated and more sales because the data that you have there will make that you can organize yourself better and sell more. This makes that we can actually have successful results. It is still an uphill battle to sort of competing with these companies that are hundreds to thousands of times bigger than us. And that's to be taken literally hundreds of thousands, hundreds or thousands of times bigger. But we can at least take on the battle because we focus so much on positioning and correctly and understanding what our customers want. And a second step, when you know who, where, what industry, how we know all those kind of things.

Build up proof

Jeroen

Then it is important for you to build up some proof and credibility. There are a few things you can do. I will just quickly run through some ideas for you. You can build up content like Romeo is doing here with a webinar. You could organize webinars around a specific topic. That sort of answer & questions that people generally have and with you in the spotlight as an expert around the topic. But it doesn't have to be webinars. It can be that you write articles. It can be that you write articles with opinions. It can be that you describe what you have done for customers and put them in the spotlight while also showing how your collaboration worked. It can be that people have questions on how to attack something and you give them a step by step approach. That is like sort of feed them the answer. You could write an e-book or a guide. There is a whole lot of possibilities content-wise. What is very important is to get as many testimonials as possible. Testimonials are extremely powerful. Especially, like I said before, when they come from a similar location or the same location and industry, because then you can actually show that you have been successful with similar companies, which I said before, we will have a big impact on the decision of the company.

Jeroen

A good thing is to make clear how you work because the more transparent you are there, the more trust you will create. And what we used to do at the company I worked at, we had this newsletter with some opinion pieces and content on specific topics and stuff. And then there was also a section in there that said, what we are working on. And we would highlight that we were doing, let's say, a patient portal for a big oncology company. You can imagine that when other oncology companies would read that, they would say, 'Oh, these guys do that. We might be thinking about that'. And it triggered in their minds that we would be perhaps the good partner to work on that project with. So that is something I would also recommend.

Jeroen

Then a harder step. That is something we are all struggling with, is in this day and age where everybody is already spammed, to get your foot in the door. The obvious channels, I think for you guys, are that I already used, sending emails and getting in touch on LinkedIn. It is getting harder and harder, though, because everybody is doing that.

So the more you can go into sort of networking and the actual genuine non-sales networking, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups or sharing content on LinkedIn like in the second point. If you can stand out in that way, that will immediately have a much bigger effect. Even better is to ask for referrals. Referrals are sort of the strongest introduction you can get. Aspirin drools To do the networking at live events. You always have a step ahead if you do the networking life events versus online, or you could even complement it and do networking online. And then when you meet up at live events, and you seek out these people, and make sure that you use it to strengthen the connection. And as mentioned, when you select a location, you can also do local live meetups. Then you don't need to do a webinar like we're doing now. Then we can all sit together in a room and do this talk and have again, a much more human connection. So, offline still also rules there outsing. Anything from you guys to add right now?

Romeo

I think I would like to go more into the networking sites when we ask Damian a few questions, because I know they do a really great job on this part and on meetups and travelling to customers more. And also the LinkedIn videos that I see that Damian is doing. So we can get to that in the end and just if we have five more minutes for the presentation.

Jeroen

OK, I will go a bit faster. So this is a funny thing from Marketooninst. It is basically summarizes most of the LinkedIn requests you get in a day. Number seven is someone you actually know. This doesn't happen often anymore, at least not in my LinkedIn requests.

Romeo

I think that the works really well, at least for us, is definitely video and definitely doing such webinars in which we can then chunk out the pieces from this webinar and then later on also put it on LinkedIn. In that way, people see that we are expertise in the field of software houses. Which brings us much more conversations, because in the end, what we actually want with all these things is to start conversations, right? Because it is much easier. It is like dating, right? Like, it is easier if you are lucky to be approached than to approach someone.

Make sure your messages get replies

Jeroen

Yeah, for sure. A few things you can do when you are actually reaching us. Like I said previously, already referred to a company they know, that works on me very well. We already work for whatever other CRM company that I know. And it is like, 'Oh, ok, cool'. Do not immediately sell. That is an immediate turnoff, if a message is salesy, people will archive or Marcus Family, whatever tried to offer value in the beginning. So that's the third point also. There are a few ways you can try to do that. You could, for instance, like I said before, we saw that your mobile up gets some bad rap. We checked it and we saw that if you want to fix this, it would be great.

Jeroen

If you want, we can do a free checkup of your whole mobile app and suggest some things that you can check. We don't charge for it. And if you want to work with us afterwards, it is sort of offer something for us before you say, 'OK, we do mobile development'. And then the last point, I will have a funny one on the next slide. Use great English if you or your friends, whatever, if you feel that the communication is not going to go well because the other party doesn't speak the language. Well, then that is also an immediate turnoff. Here is someone sending a message in Polish to Mick, who is British, and the answer is in English and the software house of, I don't know exactly, I can read it. It says, 'Polish, please!' And he says, 'Why would I write to you in Polish? I am not Polish!' And I think the guy says, 'I don't speak English' But I think you guys understand better words here. And also, if you do reach out personalized properly, this is really the basics of personalization.

Romeo

I think it is easier...

Jeroen

Yeah, it is a message of brand 24. And the guy left in the words dog walker in the email which is immediately a fail. And then this message, he sends a message and it ends with, 'If you are interested, I can pitch a topic and if the topic interests you, I will start writing the content. And then he inserts a gif, saying 'nope'. I mean, this person must have read somewhere that gifs give a high response rates, but you have to use the gifs in the right way, obviously. So do not just use things that should work just for the sake of them. Actually, think about what it will trigger with the customer. This is a funny example as well. If you are reaching out with multiple people, two companies, make sure that you split your lead lists correctly. Do not approach the same company twice. And if you do, in this case, make got approached twice by the same company and they offer different prices. The one person offers us at 350 per month and the other one at 499 per month. That is even worse than just contacting with two people to contact with different offers. Now, when you got this far, so you are actually in touch with people, you got your foot in the door. They arere interested, then you obviously do not want to lose out on the leads. Then it is all about closing them.

Follow-up and close leads

Jeroen

In closing leads, follow-up is the most important thing you need to keep following-up. Most of the deals is not closed on the first message. It will take you, according to these datas, 5 to 12 contacts to actually close a deal. So if you are not properly organized for this, you will fail. This is a guy who is following up. He offers something. Then the next day he says, 'Response, please'. This is not how you follow-up. Obviously, follow-up like you would expect to follow-up with a friend, not with a robot or something. And then finally, when you get to the deal, it is about making a proposal that really focuses on them.

Make an offer they can't resist

Jeroen

So we listen very closely to their problem and make the proposal all about their problem. Your solution and how it goes step by step. Sort of make a road map timeline to show how it will all work and focus on that. No go is getting a proposal which shows 40 pages about what the company does and why the company is great and does not focus on the customers' needs. When I get this kind of things and I know that they are not really putting efforts in us and it will not come later either. So make sure you focus on the customer there and make them an offer they can not resist. I have an extra suggestion here on the slide. And that is, for instance, when you do a review or a check-up, like I mentioned earlier, you could also do instead of a free one, you could do a paid one, but you could make it become free if they hire you for your service. So you could say, 'I am going to do a check-up of your mobile app. It costs, you know, 300 euros. And I will show you everything that's wrong with it. And if you work with us in the ends, the 300 euros will be avoided'. That's a possibility.

Damian

It is stupid. It is just lazy. That doesn't put any value into the conversation. But if you have something smart to say, just comment on the blog post in a nice way. Tag the person and start the conversation with the person around the topic. So the person can receive you as an interesting, intelligent guy somewhat or the girl, someone who is this is a good person to chat with. So then you start the conversation around the topic. And at the end of the day, anyway, he will go to your profile and see who you are, what is your offer. And if he is in a need, he will anyway ask you for your proposal or something. So this is one way you engage with the content of your person as if they have content. If they do not have the content, give them some value, some insights, maybe there are some reports from the market they are in. So this is the second one. Keep something. The third one, which I use quite often is ask them for their opinion. People are willing to share their stories. And in my case, I was asking around 500 CTOs from Nordiques about the top challenge in being CTO. And based on that, I created an e-book and I already had first prospects who are distributing their book and they are willing to download the e-book. Then on top of that, I had my marketing campaigns linked on LinkedIn. I could trigger the same group. So people are similar to those guys. And it was purely inbound marketing.

Damian

So basically I gave them some free e-book about the challenges and they have downloaded the e-book. And based on that, I was able to talk to prospects and it was quite nice because they already know me a little bit, because in the book there was some video. So they could see me as a person, what I am representing, that I am real. So the interaction with them was quite positive. Of course, I cannot just tell them,'Guys, thank you for getting my e-book. Now, here is my offer'. No, it does not work that way. So because this is there is something really annoying when someone accepts the invitation and the second text messages about your services or something. But you should go deeper into the conversation, try to be relevant. Ask something about the current challenge in the position, maybe about a company and they are in on maybe about the experience in this specific area.

Damian

If you see that they downloaded your e-book or they have read your article about some hiring issues, you might just ask them. 'How about you? What is your biggest pain in the hiring process or how is it in Stockholm or Oslo? Is it easy or hard to find developers?' And then usually they are willing to reply to that. So you start the conversation. For example, a few minutes ago I just took my mobile. I had just received the message that I would just quote the message from the guy from Copenhagen. He said, 'Hey, your profile hints at you are being able to find good software developers. How do you do that?' Simple like that, because the description of my profile states this way. So the guy is asking me for it, so I need to apply for that, hotly, maybe. But anyway, it has to be very natural, conversational. It is not about you telling them what is in your offer. It is about them asking you about your house. So you start the conversation. Do you try to be this friendly spider man from the neighborhood and also the smart guy, because it is easy to be another guy sending the automated message on LinkedIn. You want to be a friendly guy. You want to be helpful, be someone who has something smart to say to share or to ask. And then you start building the relationship or the trust and most of the people, they are not anyway ready to buy your stuff. So it does not make sense to send them your menu of developers, which treats you as another sales guy. You just wait. So you follow up after a few months maybe, or after a few weeks.

Damian

Depends on the activity on LinkedIn or what you can do. You can engage that person, the prospect, asking them for running an interview on your blog or something like that. So they get more emotional. They like you. And then after all, if you fly to Oslo, Stockholm, where I used to go, to Copenhagen, you invite them for a coffee. And this is everything. So at some point, you are in the top of mind. So if they think about software development, they think, 'This is the guy. I like this guy. We had a really good chat. And he is the first person I will ask, of course'. So that's the thing. And it is not easy because first of all, they have plenty of directions and context in their own network, currently existing ones. So you are, unfortunately, as a software house, at the end of this chain. So I guess your role is really to build your position in someone's head. So if, for example, I am the guy from Stockholm looking for item developers. I think it takes next from Poland the best guys, they have plants from Stockholm. I will call the first line. So I am not promoting this stack text paper in book, it is just an example.

Q&A

Romeo

That takes me to the next question, like what is that? How do you compete with these big guys that are in the market? Actually, I can be meeting big guys, the big software houses in the market, because I suppose they have an army of the guys and developers and so on and so forth. They can have different services. Also, the power to reach out is totally different. And you are a smaller software house. So how do you compete with these big guys?

Damian

You said one interesting word, which is 'army, their armies', which position ourselves as a SWAT team. So special mission, rescue missions where we are more flexible. And if we compete with these guys, we can compete by culture, for example, because if the person is comparing only profiles of the developers, again, it is a marketplace. It is how to win the client based on profiles on it, maybe on the expertise side. So if you have some good book chain developers and meet these guys, they have everyone in one basket. They will pick you because you are the blockchain expert. Something like that as a company. So you position yourself as a blockchain one and you have more way, you have more clients in the blockchain area than those big guys. That's one thing. So the second thing is about culture. I see plenty of times that people from Nordic countries choose Polish software houses and they do not feel that this is the culture that they expect.

Damian

So if you think about the Nordic culture, it is more about family culture, closeness, being friendly to each other and then keepings small things sometimes. So they prefer to have smaller parties than the bigger one. So are you. That is the thing. And the rest is about, I guess, chemistry, because unfortunately and fortunately, the B2B business in software development is based on trust. So people need to like each other. Somehow you don't buy the products from the shelves, like in any case, it is about the product. So you have parameters. Of course, you would have to create a customer support and make sure that it works as it should. But at the end of the day, you compare it with different CRM. It fits criteria, yes or not. For software companies you are not able to compare 20 of them in details because then you have to compare motivation. You have to compare against the cultural stuff they do performance there. Yeah, I guess. What kind of human they are, if you like them.

Romeo

Keen on the musician culture, right?

Damian

Exactly. So this is like saying the most difficult part for the clients to have the cultural fit as well. So. Yeah.

Romeo

In the end, this is how we do it also because we have a very small team of boutique growth marketing agency and what we see is that clients like us mainly because we have the expertise in the software house business, but also that we can easily fit in and be agile within their organization. Simple as that. And we can easily understand what we do. We can fastly move. So based on their needs, we do not have endless onboarding processes or, I don't know, complicated things to do. So, thanks a lot for this descender answer. So it is a very interesting question that I got from also from the book that you shared, the book from April Dunford. It is more around, 'How does the type of clients you take at the very early stage of your software house life affect the future position?'

Damian

I guess a lot, because if you start with unsustainable start-up and they will be weak in product management, you will be building some shitty software. Like, let us be honest. And on the other hand, if you have a really strong corporation or enterprise company that have existing markets, clients and you can go like very fast with your product and you can also learn agile in such organization, you will learn way more. Plus, if you have the LEGO or someone as a first client, it will bring more attention to you later on because you gain credibility and accountability by having this first strong client. And if you have unknown brands out of nowhere. First of all, they might not collide. They might have half clients. And you will be still digging into the start-up scene or some small little companies can be your clients. They can pay for your service for six months, maybe twelve months, but then they might disappear. And I guess bigger clients or middle-sized clients who already exist in business and just need more digitalization. They are way more interesting for the software company for start. Because you can become their tech partners for long term as well.

Romeo

Got it. Thanks. Do you have any questions at this point?

Jeroen

No, not really.

Romeo

We have a question. You mentioned Jeroen that sending a proposal which specifically answers the problems of the client. Can you a bit elaborate on that and maybe just Damian if you have ideas on this on this site?

Jeroen

Well, first good thing always is to hook people, I think. So you write an introduction which summarizes everything, sort of like an executive summary. We are this company, we are really great at solving this. You have this issue. We propose to solve it like this. And we are gonna do. You basically summarize the whole document so that you are sure that people get the picture. I think that is really important. You start off the debts, then you are in the next step in a proposal, I was focused on the issue. So your issue is this. This is the solution. We suggest we are going to go about it like this. You could already sort of give a high-level approach to solving it somehow. It depends on what we are exactly talking about here, of course. Then you make a timeline of if we start then we can have this then, this then and this then. Then I mean probably typically in the projects you do you have a sort of timeline like that. Then you state what they  would get, sort of, the deliverables.

Jeroen

Here it very much depends on the basis on which you are selling, whatever how you want to present this. But it is very good to understand for people what are they getting for their money. Then you specify the same sort of stretch. Also, how much it will cost and why and maybe specify a few things like this is what is included and this is what is not included. Like, for instance, if there's design included, there are two rounds of review and there are not seven or something to make sure you are kind of covered there. And in the end, you could do it again. It is a bit of a pickle. But do not talk too much about yourself. But at least show why you are the right company to solve it. So show what your company focuses on, the Somali or so say, OK, these guys worked with us and they're happy to do. Also sort of get them convinced that everything you said now that it is going to be real as well, that they can trust that this is what is going to happen. That is how I would build it up.

Romeo

Cool. Thanks. Anything to add to this, Damian? Just point.

Damian

No, I guess it was covered. I guess you just need to think about the risk that clients have because they usually when they make a decision of hiring an external software development team. If they do not have to, they would not do it. It is risky for them. They spent money, it costs them. So if you can convince them that picking you as a partner is safe and will make the client secure. And we will address his issues and risks. You should think through that into the proposal. So, for example, in different cases, you see if you have to make extensions. For example, we need three more developers because we need to deliver this product instruments. So you have to convince them that your developers are productive and fast and they will hit the deadline. That is one thing. But then if you have the CEO without the team and he is looking for a full tech team, he has completely different needs to be addressed. So in this case, he will need more about that product partner, someone who will convince him that our way of building products will help your business grow. And he will not be specified about the technology stock and about that performance. He will be more about the safety issues. You can convince him that you are the right team to create the products that will grow his business.

Romeo

And I think this also answered the Kamil's question on how to create those unique selling proposals, focusing more on technology or more on product development, right?

Damian

Yeah, that is the question from Kamil, I guess, Kamil has an answer to his question. Different personas have different needs. You need to have different communications for different people, different for the CEO, different from the CTO. So, for example, it is quite common right now on the software houses website that you have that we, for example, have the money for CTO. This one landing page that is written specifically for the CTO to address, their needs to invite them to get my input, invite them for our webinar just to get in touch. But this is for CTO. It is more technical, it is more about team extension and for CEO  e have different communication, different ads, different language, actually.

Romeo

Cool. I have the last question for you, Damian. What is like the number one advice for software house when it comes to positioning at this point? Last question for you, go ahead.

Damian

Be human. I know this is difficult one because when we started SoDA, the first of all, our photo lists for software houses in Poland were very similar. So if there will not be a differentiation, they will die. They still have not died because there is still a high demand for software houses, services. But I guess the companies, the software houses that well-positioned themselves in certain areas or certain tech stocks will win the game because then we will be able to charge more for the services. They will be more experienced and they will deliver more value to the end client. So I guess in terms of positioning, it is all about finding a super nice client that you really love. Maybe from your existing clients and make a new one and try to build your unique selling point around that client. So you are the expert in his niche or industry. And then it would be easier for you to trigger another transform this niche. Like if you are in the industry space, you have the second biggest industry player in Poland as a client. It will be way easier to get to the first one, to the third one, fourth one, and help them build some products that instead of going to different industries because they already know each other. If you have done a great shop for that first client, the huge one, I think you easily make the same to other clients in this space.

Damian

So I think that the hardest part for software houses in terms of positioning is to make a choice what to focus on because they usually go with the flow. They have money. They just take it. They are willing to win the client or they feel that I think it is my top and they just take it. And then suddenly after a few years, they have a bunch of different clients from different industries and there is no focus at all. That is why guys sending thousands or millions of calls and emails to different skills from different interests. Maybe one fish will catch this and then and they believe that. I do not know if it is a good strategy. It still takes a lot of time and energy to pick the right prospects.

Romeo

Whoo! Thanks a lot for this. I will cut this part and also put it Dunnington for sure because it is very good content.

Romeo

Guys. That's what that was all about it. Thanks for joining. And for the guys who stayed till now, because I saw that people were dropping out. I know the whole cabinet went a bit longer than expected. We are testing something out. We actually did a mentorship program in MAN Digital and the four software houses especially. I will just drop the link. But the idea is that what we want to do is not only just do a course, but also bring in mentors. So I brought in around seven mentors from the industry. And in these six weeks of different modules, we will also do one to one mentorship with the software houses. Plus we share all the workflows, all the templates that we are using with our clients. So that means that we have six modules of mentorship course. We have seven different guest speakers. These are from Google, from live chat, from different other software houses. So, guys, if you are interested, we still did not launch it. You can just subscribe you have to the button here. And I will just put the link also. So let me know if you would be interested. We are heavily discounting because we need beta testers, let u say, and obviously for the for a testimonial if this course is something that you guys need.

Romeo

So I just dropped the link also here, you have also the button. Thanks a lot. See you in three weeks. We will have a webinar with Bart. He is the head of growth from Tech Venue. They do some amazing things when it comes to customer acquisition and retention. And we will go deep into how to actually get the traffic and how to keep the customers how to do lead nurturing on and so forth. He was working for Leather.io, which is one of the biggest growth marketing agencies actually worldwide who worked with a lot of big companies from Y Combinator. So I am really glad to have him there. Learned that BandhaDigital.com. There are all the webinars that we are having peace and out. Take care, guys. Thanks a lot, Damian, thanks a lot Jeroen for the great conversations. Bye, guys. Bye.

Jeroen

Thank you.

Damian

Thank you.

TOPICS: Software House, positioning

Romeo Man

Romeo Man

Romeo Man is a Business Automation specialist and founder of MAN Digital. If you can get him on your side, you'll start attracting the right people and converting them to customers with a custom-built sales funnel built on data, not hunches. Find out how he does it at MAN.Digital, and follow him @RomeoMan. Follow @romeoman

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