Small IT service firms often find themselves struggling to generate the potent leads necessary for substantial growth. Their heavy reliance on referrals and the CEO's involvement in nearly every aspect of the business can be a significant roadblock.
In this article, we're about to unravel some essential strategies that will help you tackle your revenue generation challenges head-on. Get ready for a game-changing journey!
Understanding the Current Scenario
Despite the consistent growth of the IT service market throughout the last decade and its potential to mature even more, individual startups barely break even in most cases. As per our experience and backed up by stats, the primary reasons behind the instability are:
Over-Reliance on Referrals
Referral marketing is a great revenue generation strategy. But it can prove to be a Faustian bargain for startups over-reliant on it. They fail to bring consistent business and often dry up after a few cycles.
Limited Lead Generation
Small IT service startups show a slack approach toward building marketing channels and a prominent sales funnel. We’ve even seen our clients lacking a simple Contact Us page on their website. This is predominantly because of the readymade client base brought in by the CEOs and referrers.
Small Client Concentration
Small IT service startups build their business around a small client concentration that can run dry any day. Even the loss of a single potent referrer or client can prove to be detrimental to you and your employees.
Lack of Scalability
The mentioned points above ultimately result in uncertainty and organization-wide decidophobia. With the absence of proper planning and optimum capex/opex investments, scalability is sacrificed and replaced with marginality.
The Roadmap to $1 Million in Sales Revenue
With the negatives realized and accepted, let’s discuss a few robust strategies that can bring your organization a million dollars in sales revenue.
Client Acquisition Systems
After all the discussions about limited lead gen and overreliance, this is what you might already have started to consider. Client acquisition is the process of securing clients with higher ticket sizes at a competitive ROI.
As an IT service company, there is nothing that seems impossible to you with your skill set. You want to cover as much ground as possible with Ideal Client Personas (ICP) and targeting. That puts you in a position of being able to build anything.
But, that undeniably dilutes trust, confidence, and your overall marketing approach.
Our initial strategy revolves around pinpointing a set of ideal clients and targeting them before moving to other areas.
This involves developing insights, case studies, using proven channels, generating leads, and curating solid marketing copy that caters to that particular set of clients.
Small agencies like yours can’t practically be expected to hire, manage, and sustain talents for every popular technology and service. While you may have an in-house team for the majority of the services, software reselling is a great sales revenue generator for startups.
As per HTF Market Intelligence, the resellers market is expected to observe a 10-11% growth between 2023-2028. Which, if leveraged, can generate massive ROI for your company through the existing workforce.
Service and software reselling models rely on:
Distributing software that has already been created by a SaaS company.
White labeling and rebranding the software under your own name.
Building subscription plans and improving profit margins.
Relying on the SaaS company for updates and maintenance, not hiring talents for any element of the software.
Upselling your own services with the resold software and vice versa.
Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Dell, Oracle, Microsoft, Lluminant, MAGNOOS, CDW, Ingram Micro, Quest, and many other IT solution providers partner with service companies to distribute their products to end-users.
Client Retention Systems
The IT and software industry maintains a customer retention rate of 77%. For new companies, it can be a bit higher due to a smaller number of clients and projects. As you grow, maintaining a good customer retention system will bless you with:
Increased revenue. As your customers are now familiar with your services and trust you, they’ll be much more confident to invest more.
Reduced marketing costs. You don’t have to retarget and start from scratch to secure existing clients.
Increased customer lifetime value. Existing customers generate a higher lifetime value than new customers. It’ll also help you with low-average ticket size issues.
A few tips that’ll help you with client retention are:
Excellent customer service. Ensure that your representatives are trained, friendly, and knowledgeable.
Quality assurance. Test your products before going live with them. Don’t let your clients find obvious bugs for you. We had a client delivering scheduling software to their client with “test_day2” replacing the “Mondays”.
Personalized interactions. Use their names, remember their preferences, and offer them relevant offers to provide a personalized experience. We recommend using a CRM tool to manage the interactions.
Maintenance and updates. Don’t forget to provide periodic updates and initiate maintenance cycles to the delivered services. This increases dependency and helps retain clients.
Incentivize loyalty. Loyalty programs, discounts, and free upgrades help retain clients and get repeat orders.
Increasing Average Ticket Size
Average ticket size is the average amount of money that a customer spends in one transaction. It can vary depending on the type of business and services provided. For example, the average ticket size for a fine dining restaurant will significantly vary from a casual dining restaurant.
However, as IT services don’t get as many clients as, say, retail stores, having a higher ticket size is almost critical for survival. We’ve gathered a few reasons from our experience for small average ticket sizes and ways to increase them.
Common or generic IT services tend to attract lower prices—leading to smaller ticket sizes. These services may include basic IT support, data backup and recovery, domain registration, hardware maintenance, and repairs.
Consider offering services that require specialization and resources, such as web development, server-side integration, and custom data integration.
Limited Service Portfolio
Limiting your portfolio to a few services does two detrimental things. One–it throttles your opportunity to upsell and cross-sell, and two–it reduces the confidence of the prospects.
Mitigate this issue by offering tangential services at the least. For example, you can offer data backup and restoration services with cloud computing solutions; or offer cybersecurity training with security management services.
As a small IT service company, the majority of your initial clients, unsurprisingly, would prioritize cost-saving. It reduces average ticket size but is mitigable by offering add-on services at an increased price point.
Lack of Differentiation
Justify your premium price by distinguishing your services from your competitors. Tailored solutions, quality of service, customer support, niche-focused services, and case studies can be useful in this regard.
The Bottom Line
Small IT service companies can achieve significant growth, scaling their sales revenue from $100K to $1 million by implementing strategic changes in their approach. Key strategies include focusing on client acquisition systems, exploring service and software reselling opportunities, establishing strong client retention systems, and increasing the average ticket size.