Running A Sales Team For A Web Development Agency

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You’ve put in the work and time to get your web development agency off the ground. But – as with every business startup – it’s not a one-and-done deal. You got your business up – but now you need to figure out how to keep it running. That can be a challenge, given that so many web development projects are one-time efforts.

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Obviously, you need a consistent inflow of new customers to both grow and scale your business. But how do you achieve that while maintaining your own workload? Bootstrap a sales team.

Plan For Growth

You’re keen to take your web development business to the next level – but that’s not going to happen without steady lead generation and sales.

Ideally, you’re aiming for high-ticket projects for long-term clients. Web or app maintenance projects, for example, require ongoing work – which assures an ongoing revenue stream. And when negotiating with potential clients, it’s best to arrange to bill them by the hour, rather than by the project. This will ensure that you’re fairly compensated for revisions or scope expansion on the work you’ve done.

With your target market defined, it’s time to bring in a team that can help you mine it.

Find The Right Fit

Plan a gradual build: initially, in the early days, a sales assistant may be enough to start generating the leads and sales you need to gain traction. Your strategy for building your sales will depend on your target customer profile. If you’re selling sizable projects to large accounts, you’ll want someone who has experience in doing hefty deals. On the other hand, you may be able – at least initially – to make use of younger and less experienced salespeople for smaller clients or projects.

Decide on a division of labor that works for your business.  An inbound salesperson could handle the incoming leads through email capture or contact form submissions through landing pages, or through free offers, for example. An outbound salesperson could engage in cold calls and emails, that culminate in a meeting with the prospect.

Beyond selling product packages, projects generally have a custom scope. That means your salespeople need to have a certain amount of domain knowledge, in addition to the ability to sell solutions – particularly if they’re selling to a corporation’s marketing department. That demands a level of expertise that typically comes with more experience. Be prepared to pay for it.

Get On The Same Page

You want everyone on your team to be on the same page – which means you need to create a digital workplace where all your data resides in a central location and can be accessed by all team members. Think of it as a digital repository covering the full gamut of information pertaining to sales: prospect data, sales leads, communication, closed leads, inactive clients, lost clients, pricing, etc.

When it comes to handling the information, you’ve got a couple of options. You can take the traditional approach, whereby sales development reps (SDRs) are responsible for end-to-end interactions with the clients they attract. Or you can make team members who have expertise in a particular area solely responsible in those specific areas.

To ensure smooth operation, it’s important that you fully integrate every sales team member with other members through messaging apps. These should include (at a minimum) Slack, Zoom, and Google Docs. Now that so many businesses are operating remotely, there are more tools than ever that you and your sales team can access to stay in touch. Enabling your teams with the tools they need is a no-brainer. Be smart in your selection, and you’ll soon be seeing results in both your funding rounds and in your outbound sales.

Take A Test Drive

Minimal viable product (MVP) creation is crucial for any business – particularly one that’s still trying to find its place in the market. Before diving in and doing a full-on launch (and possibly decimating your bank account), you need to get a clear sense of the public’s appetite for what you’re offering. So make someone on your team responsible for MVP building. You don’t have to be - or employ - a coding genius for this. Again - thanks to the explosion in the growth in software to accommodate remote work – you have a wide selection of tools to choose from that will enable quick and efficient MVP creation.

Know Your CLVs

Getting customers is only half the battle: you want them to keep them coming back. You have to spend money to both acquire new customers and retain existing ones, but keep this in mind: the former costs about five times as much as the latter. If there’s a single metric you need to get a handle on, it’s customer lifetime value (CLV).  Customer lifetime value can help you predict future revenues and assess long-term business success.

How do you calculate the CLV? The formula is pretty straightforward: multiply the average order total by the average number of purchases, then by the average retention time in years. The CLV metric is a good predictor of how much profit your company can expect from a typical client throughout your relationship with them. Equally important: it helps you estimate how much you should invest to retain the customer.

Of course, the amount you should invest will be determined by your margins. One business may spend under $1 to retain a customer, while another may spend up to $50. To figure out how much you should invest, you’ll need to know the customer lifetime value metrics for your business. Generally, Customer Lifetime Value should be at least three times greater than your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). So if you're spending $100 on marketing to acquire a new customer, that customer should have a minimum CLV of $300.

Boosting CLV

Obviously, the longer you can retain your customers, the more value they’ll bring to your business. So it’s important to focus on increasing CLV by building on your baseline metrics, including:

  • Average CLV: the average order total, multiplied by the average number of purchases in a year, multiplied by the average retention period in years. This provides the average lifetime value of a customer based on existing data.
  • Average order value (AOV): the higher your AOV, the more you’re earning from each customer — and the more you’re getting out of every dollar you’ve spent to acquire that customer. This will help you evaluate your pricing and online marketing strategies. It gives you the information you need to assess the long-term value of individual customers. When you improve your average order value, you’ll improve profit and revenue growth over the long term. Studies show that customer engagement tools like chatbots can increase AOV by as much as 17%.
  • Repeat purchase rate: the proportion of customers that have shopped more than once with your company. These are the people you want to target. Studies suggest that 28% is a healthy rate to aim for.

In the long run, your success will be rooted in retaining the customers you have and enhancing their value by building loyalty. How?

  • Create a customer loyalty program offering points as incentives
  • Provide bundle deals and bulk options
  • Cross-sell complementary products
  • Upsell your products
  • Offer limited-time promotions
  • Incentivize loyal customers to refer your business to their network.
  • Reach out to customers regularly to maintain contact and let them know they’re valuable clients

Don’t expect results overnight. It will take time for you to find your place in the industry, generate income, and be able to count on a steady revenue stream. So plan strategically, know how to market your product and reach your customers – and build a team that can back your efforts.  When you can plan a few months ahead, you’ll be in a position to grow your team – and they’ll have the tools to help you grow your business.

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