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Sales Documents/case Studies For New Business

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I've been doing some thinking about how to earn some extra money on the side of my current software job. I like the day job as it's very low stress and I've carved out a niche that I'm good at and enjoy - but the wages are slipping further and further behind what someone with my experience (admittedly who is willing to work harder) can earn. So I'm wanting to run projects on the side to balance the wages, and also because I like the idea of running my own small projects on the side where I can put my own ideas into play.

Some of you may remember a while back I mentioned a job a friend and I did for a business a couple of years back. This project has been live for 2 years now and is a success, it's become essential to the front and back end of the business and has processed X amount of customers ect... After bouncing around lots of new ideas for completely new SaaS products to create, I came back to the idea that maybe it's best that we concentrate on the one customer we have as a starting point, as a springboard to getting new customers who run similar organizations, since we have built something that has a 2 year proven track record with them.

Firstly, does that bit make sense - that it's easier for us to approach a new customer not just as 'coders/software developers', but as a company who has a framework/product that they've implemented somewhere else and who can show you how that's fit into their organization/business, along with a 'testimonial' quote from someone high up in the business - director level hopefully. It seems to me that's the only way that two unknowns are going to get any more work without a big advertising budget.

So then what we need to do is to write some sort of sales document and/or a 'case study' document about the work done. I'm thinking it should be two separate documents each no longer than a couple of pages - one which briefly sells the 'framework' in an abstract form and one which is a 'case study' detailing the work done with that customer. I'm gonna look at similar materials that past consultancies I've worked for use to help with this, but if anyone here has a sales background and can recommend any good guides/books for this kinda thing please let me know.

My other big question is that once we have the promotional stuff created, is there any rules around cold-contacting companies? Say you come across a similar organization who could use your software (and you can't get a formal introduction via someone else) - is there a 'way' to contact them that seems more professional than others?

So basically if anyone has any advice on do's and don'ts in this area, it would be appreciated.

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What does your software save the company in terms of hard cash?

Failing that, what increase in turnover/profit does it support?

Is the package tied to a specific type of business?

Have you talked to the local Chamber of commerce?

There's normally a business breakfast for local companies to network at.

Normally its full of sales people selling stuff business already have - telecoms packages, stationary etc.

Maybe a short presentation - with the company you've sold to permission - would help get you mind around how to present + sell.

A few business people are interested in what other companies are doing - just out of inerest.

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It definitely makes sense to concentrate on your existing success when looking for further opportunities. Does your contract with the business you are already working with say anything about working with their competitors? Hopefully not. Is what you do relevant to companies who aren't directly in competition with the existing client? If yes it might be safer to start with them (avoid ruffling your existing client's feathers). A testimonial will be useful but not essential, the experience and confidence you can convey when speaking to potential clients will be far more important.

The right way to approach this is the hardest/scariest way - make contact with people over the phone or in person and try to arrange a meeting to talk about what they need and what you can do. A sales document might be useful, but mailing it out and hoping for the best is probably a waste of time. Advertising also probably a waste of time/money. Linkedin could be a good way of finding out who within organisations you want to make contact with, company websites might be useful too (sometimes they even have people's picture, email and phone number). There are no rules with regards to cold calling (apart from harrassment law at the extreme end!), it's a case of who dares wins. You can phone someone up, you can ask them questions, you can tell them what you can do for them and you can ask them for an appointment. The worst they can say is no!

(In that sense it's a bit like dating, except the people you'll be talking to are usually logical, rational, and rejection is rejection of your concept not rejection of you. So it's much easier!)

If you're new to this make sure you've thought about what you are going to say before you call/meet anyone, maybe role-play it with your business partner, and make the first calls to people that are low down your hit-list because no matter how good your first call is your twentieth will be better.

Good luck.

Edit: Oh and make sure you understand your pricing model for whatever you are selling and how it relates to your service proposition. Make sure your pricing model is profitable for the service you deliver. Sounds obvious, I know some very clever/professional people who have completely failed with this and ended up working basically for free because it's that or lose their reputation.

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