The problem with building a marketing engine that works 24/7/365 is that at some point you are going to have to filter the sales leads and business opportunities that come your way. It’s not a bad problem to have but it’s one you should prepare for before it hits you. My general rule of thumb is to focus first on the best opportunities that are already in front of you.
Do the work on your desk first
As business ventures and sales cycles approach their conclusion, there is a natural tendency to start looking for the next batch of opportunities to pursue. That’s a sound and logical approach to business if you want to avoid peaks and valleys in your revenue stream. The tricky part is balancing pursuit of future opportunities with completing current ones. There is no easy formula for this task, but the old cliche about a bird in the hand being better than one in the bush is a good place to start.
Future opportunities often lie in the current ones
Depending upon how you structure your business partnerships, a great deal of the revenue could come once the project is complete in the form of ongoing support or subscription revenue. You could also identify other areas where you can help your partners or customers. Just recently, a project we have worked on for almost a year for one customer turned out to be exactly what another customer needs. We worked with the first client so we could provide that solution to the second client and save them both some development costs.
Seeing that two of our clients find this solution useful will lead to this project becoming a product. Also by having two big names already using it, we’ve added to the future street credibility of the product. These are the kind of opportunities you can miss if you’re too focused on finding new customers instead of finishing the work you have in front of you.
An example from three days at a trade show
I recently worked the trade show booth of one of our partner businesses. My job was to do two or three presentations a day related to the launch of a new joint venture product. It would have been easy to walk the show floor during the off time when I was not presenting. Instead, I decided to stay close to the area of the demos. We had spent a great deal of time and effort getting the word out that I’d be in the booth. I figured why not stay put and let those people interested enough to find me, come to me? I knew I was talking to the folks who had come looking for me or those who had enough interest in the new offering to ask questions.
I’ll close with another cliche. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, it just looks like it is. That’s how an exciting new opportunity can look when comparing it to your existing one that seems to be slowing down. Never stop looking for future opportunities, but make sure not to do it at the expense of your existing ones.