Can your B2B clients buy your services easily? Or does messaging, calling, meeting, negotiating and signing take too long? Sometimes it can even take months to get paid for projects that you and your team are constantly working on.
I’ve discussed this with Matt Tarczyński – unstoppable entrepreneur, who’s founded or worked on over 10 businesses, and personal friend and mentor of mine. A few years ago Matt came up with a great solution to enable efficient sales of web dev services and easily collect payments upfront to keep cash flowing.
It involves productization – which means packaging your services as an easy-to-buy product, and can help you achieve 1100% growth in your first year.
Sales shouldn’t be a heavy-duty run for navy seals
People who are born with sales skill don’t mind spending time and energy to acquire clients and projects. They’ll be ok with sales taking long to finalise – they thrive on the game.
A long sales cycle can be ok – but only until a certain point, when it becomes the biggest obstacle in scaling your business.
This problem usually happens when:
- your business model imposes one, big payment for a project on your clients
- your services are complex, and as such need to be explained to your target customers
Matt was founding an interactive agency, working on a strategy to maintain a healthy cashflow (clients paying regularly and upfront). Getting tired of all the evil repercussions of long sales, he finally had an eye-opening discussion with his business partner.
“What if we offer packaged web dev services to designers? Then we can make sales easy with a good online order form!”
It would be product-like sales automation in a service company.
Think about it – you get a notification each time an order is placed. Already paid upfront. You just get the project done without worrying about late payments or slow sales. At the same time sparing yourself weeks of talks, meetings and negotiations.
Matt and his co-founders decided to pivot the interactive agency in this direction.
1100% growth 1st year, 300% 2nd year – currently 50+ people on board, 2000+ projects yearly
It paid off. This was one of the main reasons that led Matt’s business to become one of the biggest European companies of it’s type.
Why is sales automation a big part of this success?
Matt knew exactly what type of services his target customers often needed. Services that could’ve been easily defined, and ordered same as you’d order a product, straight from the website.
Customers like simplicity, so the first benefit from automation is:
Your clients have an easier access to your team’s skills.
You’re not selling a complex service. Clients don’t need a guide to understand it, they can quickly get your team to work on their project.
- $50 – translating an A4 page of text from english to polish within an hour
- $1000 – feature review by experienced developer + improvement roadmap within 24hrs
A client would look at this and could instantly learn what he’s buying, delivery deadline, price and terms. That builds instant trust.
So the second benefit of automation is:
Your services become fully transparent to your clients, which instantly builds trust.
Productisation and automation don’t mean that you should stop talking to your clients, or developing a sales team.
It’s just the opposite – the growth that Matt’s company achieved proves that sales strategy is hugely important. You still need salespeople – but they can be consultants, who take care of fully satisfying and skillfully upselling your customers.
Not clawing their way through leads to ultimately win very little for the company – at least compared to the work they put in.
Main takeaway – your clients like simple buying
Anyone with sales experience knows how many deals crash everyday because of a complete misunderstanding of the service. Or because someone doesn’t print, sign, scan or email the right documents for much too long.
From a client’s point of view, a productized service is much easier to understand, thus much more trustworthy.
Simple order placement makes buying much easier and more convenient – meaning more sales for you.
You can allow your sales to be chaotic when your company is taking off. That’s when you act first, and apologise later. But you need to learn from this and start simplifying your sales as soon as you possible. Otherwise, you’ll be losing cash and standing in one place, because unnecessarily long sales cycles kill your growth.
This article is based on an exclusive sneak-peek at a chapter from Matt’s upcoming e-book about the 7C method (7 Cuts to make your B2B service idea profitable – click here for more).
He’s a successful, energetic guy who’s been an entrepreneur for over 12 years. Currently co-owner of one of the biggest web-dev companies in Europe – Chop-chop.org. Built training companies, two ad agencies, dev companies and – most recently – a product company (CEO of Woodpecker.co). To see what Matt’s up to, follow him on Twitter.