Learn your client’s lifetime value and know your sales cycle.
Most IT consultants that are sole proprietors are not big fans of marketing. But ignoring marketing altogether means that your company’s survival and growth depends entirely on marketing to your family, friends, and former co-workers. Unless you have a bottomless supply of family, friends, and former co-workers, you’ll need a strategy like this to better market your small business:
1. Figure out the lifetime value of your best client – Lifetime value directly influences how much you can afford to invest in acquiring new clients. For example, an IT consultant that works with SOHO clients that have a $500 lifetime value really can’t afford to do much lead generation and lead nurturing. Contrast that to an IT consultant that specializes in high-end CRM implementations that average about $120,000 each.
2. Know your sales cycle length – Generally the larger the average sale, the longer your sales cycle. While a SOHO client may only need a few days to ponder a $200 WiFi router installation, the mid-market client investing in a $120,000 CRM system will likely be in your sales funnel for several months, or longer.
3. Decide what percentage of projected revenue to budget towards marketing – For some IT consultants with lots of steady clients and minimal growth aspirations, budgeting a mere 5% of projected revenue for marketing may make sense. However, a company that has client churn problems and more aggressive growth goals may need to budget as much as 25% of projected revenue.
4. Build a marketing calendar – IT consultants that are anti-marketing often procrastinate marketing until the lack of new revenue escalates to a cash flow crisis. Putting reasonable, bite-size campaign steps onto your calendar, you can get your time management and client acquisition priorities under control before such crisis occurs.
What’s your favorite way to manage client acquisition? Let us know in the Comments below.
Joshua Feinberg is co-founder and CMO of SP Home Run Inc., an IT channel inbound marketing agency and HubSpot Certified Partner that helps companies generate high-quality website traffic, leads, revenue, and ROI. To follow through on the marketing strategies introduced in this post, download your free IT Channel Inbound Marketing Planning Guide.