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Low-code platforms can help digital agencies deliver client projects faster while increasing their margins and reducing reliance on scarce, expensive software development talent.
The intuitive “a-ha” about low code is that it lets developers spend more time writing the code that truly differentiates instead of working on the non-unique elements of a project, which can easily win over the productivity-minded who want to be as effective and efficient as possible. Instead of performing repetitive tasks, low code allows these developers to focus on the work and the code that truly matters.
Of course, some developers are “purists.” They have a strong tendency for control and choice over the tech stack while coding everything from scratch. They constantly keep up with libraries and frameworks to improve productivity, but the complexity and maintainability can cause headaches and add cost.
So how can your agency find its way forward with low-code advocates and opponents on your payroll? Below are considerations as you begin to strategize and plan for building a low-code practice:
Evaluating if low code is for you
Embracing low code is a strategic decision for your agency. Creating alignment amongst key principals is as important as selecting your low-code partners.
- Bring the appropriate stakeholders together to discuss expectations, concerns, next steps, etc.
- Find one or more developers open to exploring what’s possible outside of traditional development. Have them build the MVP or part of a client project over a few days and evaluate learnings.
- Take note of the productivity gained during the development phase and evangelize it for greater internal adoption.
- Create talking points around the potential competitive edge, estimated bid-to-win ratio, expected margins, etc.
Evaluating low-code platforms
It’s also important to bring key stakeholders from the low-code evaluation phase into the platform selection process. There are various dimensions for evaluating which low-code platform is suitable for your agency and your customers; some include:
- Economics – Will the platform’s pricing work for you and your customer profiles? Some may have high entry-level pricing designed for enterprise-level customers. Alternatively, others may be more affordable during the development phase and scale up in production due to compliance/security and runtime.
- Agency process – Does the platform feature capabilities built for agencies, such as:
- Multi-tenant use/views across clients.
- Workflows for transferring ownership and payment method of client projects.
- Hybrid client and agency team management.
- Ability to create agency-specific template libraries.
- Learning curve – How quickly can your team onboard and learn the platform? Is it something new or a better way of doing what they know?
- Developer experience – Will your developers feel constrained by the platform or feel like it enhances their productivity and ability to accomplish necessary tasks without extra workarounds or clunky architectural patterns?
- Client experience – Is using a low-code platform beneficial for your client and agency?
Preparing for sales
P&S Intelligence predicts a low-code compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.1% through 2030. Plan how to capture a slice of the $187B low-code market revenue predicted over this period.
Here are several helpful activities for new go-to-market motion in sales:
- Sales collateral – Update your sales deck(s) or proposal template(s) to include messaging around how low code empowers productivity, development, and more. Consider how it adds to your existing value proposition. Include product literature and success stories from your preferred low-code platform.
- Website – Update your website to reflect your low-code value proposition and partners. You may even build specific landing pages to optimize for SEO.
- Template library – Build a library of pre-packaged low-code templates that represent the intellectual property you have built up either in preparation for opportunities or in the process of serving them. This library will become your most valuable asset for rapidly delivering new business.
- Customer discovery – Talk to your best relationships to get feedback on this new offering without selling them on it. Ask for their help. If their interest in exploring is high, you may convert some of these to actual customers.
- Case studies – Document your success stories and include them in your future sales materials. Be sure to educate your broader team on them continually.
- Training – Educate your team on how to identify low-code opportunities and how to sell them.
- ROI calculator – Develop a calculator for sales scenarios that depict the economics involved in traditional development versus low-code development.
- Lead generation – The best way to see how a low-code platform can transform your agency business is to start with a live opportunity. In addition to sourcing a client yourself, some low-code platform companies offer partnership programs and marketplaces. Others will bring your firm leads they’ve secured.
- Selling low code – Traditional agency sales work is a highly consultative process focused on people, past work, and methodologies. Bridging the “trust gap” is often the greatest inhibitor to closing a deal.
Once you’ve successfully executed your first project, weave this new mindset into the rest of your agency. Continue the virtuous cycle of low-code education, template development, talent development, and sales to transform the business with higher profit margins and greater client satisfaction.
With low-code tools, agencies have the opportunity to move past conversations. Imagine showing a client how their project comes to life rapidly rather than simply discussing it. That’s because the right low-code tools can provide many of the building blocks in real time.
Organizing for low-code sales takes a slightly different approach. You will want to include sales engineers capable of rapidly embracing a client’s requirements and building a mock-up of the application using the low-code platform and perhaps a template library built by your agency in anticipation of such opportunities. Lastly, the low-code company’s marketing and sales support can often bolster your agency’s efforts.
Low-risk, high reward
Thanks to low code, you can offer clients more frequent CX iterations, decrease complexity, and accelerate time to market. This edge can lead to more wins, lower risk for your agency, and higher client satisfaction.