4 AUG 2017 3395
Nowadays, to grow your business and find new partners, IT outsourcing companies have to deal with numerous competitors and startups, which seem to appear every day. Most mobile development companies use freelancer platforms and social business media sources to find new projects, but there is also another way to find new opportunities – personal meetings with potential customers.
Let's assume that there's an IT expo in another city, or perhaps you have a list of customers who might be interested in your company services, and you want to deliver a personal touch. The immediate question is: does it really make sense to spend funds for the trip? Will you be able to secure a new customer? How can you cover the spent funds to make it a profitable trip?
Some IT companies decide to take the risk and organize a business trip for their sales representatives. Then, the sales guy who is going to take part in the IT Expo and meet with potential customers thinks that everything is great and that many customers are going to take in a siege mobile app development company services. There are numerous photos of the plane, which will get the company sales representative to the expo, then a lot of photos in the plane, with some corporate stuff onboard, and finally a few photos which were made from the illuminator of the first noticed beautiful city sights. Over the next few days, the business development manager meets with potential clients in their offices or restaurants, takes part in numerous meetings, promises to build strong, great partnership. He is giving out business cards left and right with a smile on the face. Sometimes, in rare cases, it's possible to even get one project to estimate, which is great news for the IT company representative, who will definitely celebrate with a glass of whiskey at the hotel.
After all, in a few days, there is an IT expo, where the company rented a booth for the sales manager, so the guy is intended to represent the company with brochures, banners and consultation... at least that is how it’s supposed to be. In truth, however, the sales manager will probably sit on a chair in the booth, drink free coffee and check Facebook messages. No one comes to many of these booths except other company representatives who ask: "Did you meet any potential customers today? Yeah, same. I’ve had no luck either." After a few days of the expo, there might be a few customers who have taken some brochures or even the company representative’s business cards, but that's all. On the other days of the trip, the sales guy walks the streets of the new city, takes great photos, eats some tasty food and prepares to come back home.
In order for this trip to happen, the IT company spent thousands of dollars on flights, some promotional material for the expo, hotel rooms and meals for the sales manager. The business development department, over the course of the week, received a few projects for estimation and some customers who might be interested in possible cooperation, but that's it. To summarize, the company spent a lot of money for a poor result, which makes top management think that basic idea of the trip was garbage. That’s how it usually happens with companies that decide to organize a business trip for the first time.
Basically, when the sales department of an IT company works the right way, one sales manager can bring in 2-3 new projects for estimation, more than 10 customers who might be interested in IT company services, and numerous so-called "cold leads" per week. Such results could be generated for a mobile development company where the sales manager sits in his office all day, and never takes a business trip. As you can see, statistics show that working internally makes much more sense than providing business trips and taking part in IT Expos.
So when does it make sense to organize a business trip? First of all, trips are important to meet your business partners in real life. This is a great chance to strengthen long-term partnerships with your customers and get more work for your development team. For example, if you work with a client for a few years, you may receive an invitation to visit your client’s location. Of course you can easily discuss your further cooperation with a client via Skype, however as you work with this customer for a long time, you can be sure that you won't lose your time and money because this client won't leave you and still want to work with your team in future.
Also, if you meet with your customer abroad, that is a great confirmation of your motivation to build a strong partnership with this person and find new opportunities. Usually, when you're visiting your customer’s country for at least a week, there is a good chance that you will be invited to lunch or dinner, where you can meet your business partner’s friends, colleagues, and other new people who might be interested in your company’s services. With your professionalism being confirmed by your partner, building new bridges and discussing potential projects with your customer connections will be much easier for you and can definitely result in new opportunities. Also, if you have other customers who you already worked with or working right now, they are based in the same location where you're going to arrive, feel free to schedule meetings with such partners as it's a good approach to discuss new business opportunities.
Another good reason to organize a business trip is to take part in IT Expos or conferences where you can represent your product. The most important thing here is not to represent your company’s services or provide commercial advertising. Even if you are able to provide the highest quality code with great project management and QA services, no one will be interested in this because every IT company says that they are the best in their field. Instead of promoting your company’s services, try to focus on a new innovative idea or concrete product that you are going to present at the conference or Expo. This should be an innovative idea that may be interesting to your potential customers or investors based on the latest technologies, such as augmented reality, for example. It's much easier for people to understand and accept ideas and products than general company services.
Finally, if your company is invited to take part in the IT conference or Expo as a speaker, never hesitate to accept it. Of course, you'll represent some separate topic of the IT field, but this is still a good promotion opportunity for your IT company’s services and products. Also, your speech might be interesting to other potential customers and investors, so it’s a good way to establish new relationships. In our case, we gladly accepted the invitation of our partner to attend the Unified Expo. We will tell you more about this event in our report.
To summarize all the major points, before planning a business trip, make sure that it will cover the spent funds. To make it work, meet with reliable business partners, represent ideas and products at IT Expos, instead of services, and take part in IT conferences as a speaker to find new customers and opportunities. One more helpful tip before you start traveling, meeting your customers, or taking part in conferences: be positive and make sure that both you and your pitches are charming. Remember, people must believe in you first… after that, they will start to believe in your company.