The hardest thing about running a ColdFusion development shop is getting in front of the people who might need your help. Thousands of companies could use the expertise we offer but it can be very difficult to approach them. In spite of our culture, our transparency, our chameleon-like flexibility, our unique reputation, our high competency and our focus on communication and productivity, CTO's and CIO's tend to lump CF Webtools in with the outsourcing crowd. That's just not who we are. The truth is, once we gain the ear of someone who needs us we have an amazing record at closing the deal and retaining the customer. We alleviate the pitfalls of ColdFusion (oh yes, there are pitfalls) and allow the benefits to shine. We simply bring too much to the table to ignore.
So that's the Gordian knot the Muse has been trying to unravel for the last 18 months or so as we have doubled and tripled in size. How do I get the name and reputation of my fantastic company in front of the folks who need us? I mean, besides a holocaust cloak ("...Then why wasn't it listed among our assets?") what do we have to work with? My executive team and I have spent a few weeks mulling this over and we have concluded that perhaps our greatest asset is our connection with developers within the ColdFusion Community.
The truth is that when a developer who has developed for a decision maker recommends us to that individual he or she is far more likely to listen and take our pitch seriously. After all, finding good ColdFusion talent is difficult. In our experience it is referrals that seal the deal. We began thinking, both the Muse and the CF Webtools staff tends to be engaged in user groups, forums, lists, and events focused on ColdFusion. Instead of dedicating a big chunk of money to a marketing budget (of dubious return) we had an epiphany. Why spend money on promotions and ads when the connection we need is right in front of our cfnose. Let's pay our friends in the community for their referrals.
The Big Plan
So our big plan is simple, we are going to generously reward any developer who refers a company to us that subsequently becomes a customer. The rules are simple. First, you need to be a part of the ColdFusion developer community. We are not looking to line the pockets of recruiters. But if you are in IT and work with ColdFusion you are a candidate. Finally your lead must result in a sale for you to get paid. In short, for forwarding a name to us you could get a check in the mail - that's it! Read on for the nitty gritty details.
What Sort of Lead is Appropriate?
I'm glad you asked. CF Webtools has a pretty big group of developers and customers so we work with many different kinds of applications, companies and situations. Here are some of the most common.
- Backlogged Work - Many customers come to us with a simple problem - they can't find enough high level ColdFusion talent to complete their list of tasks or change requests. This often happens when a SAAS type site or application experiences growth and success. Suddenly there is more work than the current team can handle and there are not enough people to both vet incoming candidates and continue to clear the task list. In these cases CF Webtools is an awesome resource. We have extensive experience in coming up to speed on existing applications and we can start making contributions and clearing your task list far sooner than an average consulting resource.
- New Projects - Do you know someone with a great idea who needs a team to bring it to life? CF Webtools has a long list of end to end projects under our belt. In addition we have internal domain knowledge in Pharmaceuticals, Insurance, Financial services, Stocks, options and commodities, and high volume ecommerce. This internal knowledge of our "aggregate brain" means we hit the ground running.
- Niche Maintenance - Occasionally a customer will have a problem maintaining a ColdFusion application. This happens most often in large companies with a lot of breadth in their IT stack. If a company is standardizing on Java for example, they might have a host of Java application and a core team of Java programmers. ColdFusion sits on top of Java and seems like a good fit, but in reality their core Java programmers may get frustrated trying to maintain ColdFusion applications in addition to Java applications. Generally in such situations, ColdFusion is a minor player in the overall stack. CF Webtools can take over that maintenance and allow their team to focus on what matters to them.
- Soup To Nuts - Some customers come to us with a "ColdFusion application gone wild." They hire a contractor to bring a fantastic idea to life. The site launches and gains traction, and suddenly they can't seem to get change requests done, the site fails to scale, and minor "bugs" become major customer service issues. What they need is the full SDLC treatment from Agile to SVN to CI to QA to regular deployment schedules. Such a treatment requires a team and resources - enter CF Webtools. We can get them on the right track, tamp down the fires and get the site moving forward again.
- Ginormous Legacy Code - Sometimes a site has "evolved" as it has succeeded. Such sites are generally a morass of spaghetti code and multiple approaches. The best thing for the site would be a complete rewrite (just ask any developer) but that's not a cost effective solution because there are change requests and additional work ongoing. You can't stop the world for 6 months to put the site into the latest framework. In such cases experienced, practical developers know how to find a middle ground, refactoring as they go. CF Webtools maintains dozens of such sites to great effect for our customers.
- Small Potatoes - Finally there's the small site or application lead. We sometimes refer to these as "Mom and Pop" sites. They tend to be for small business who are cost sensitive. CF Webtools is not always a good fit for these business. But there are many cases where we take a chance and make a deal - usually to the benefit of the customer. We do this because at least 2 of our largest customers started with us 10 years ago as these sort of customers. We honor our roots and still try to help the customer who's dream may outstrip his pocketbook from time to time.
Of course, along with this list we do many migrations, security scans, troubleshooting, load testing, optimizations etc. Perhaps, you have just moved on from a company with a challenging complex code and chaotic SDLC because it was too stressful. Not to worry, such customers are our bread and butter. Perhaps you are at an existing
employer who has been wringing their hands about load testing your ColdFusion stack. That's up our alley as well. The bottom line is, if you wonder if something might be a good fit, talk to us. We'll let you know.
What's the Payout?
You probably think the Muse is going to pay you in WOW gold or a raffle ticket for my bitcoin mining server. Nope! We are offering real U.S. currency. Here's the scoop.
The type of contract we have with our customers varies considerably depending on volume and resource. But to make things simple for you, CF Webtools is offering an 8% of fees as a recurring bonus for the first 10 months of a contract. In other words, if a customer spends $10,000.00 you will earn $800.00. Given that our average buy in for new customers is well over $20,000.00 in the first year you can expect a nice return for simply clueing us in to folks who need our help.
Oh! Oh! Mr. Kotter I Have a Lead! What Do I do?
Simple, send your lead with as much information as you wish to email@example.com. Before we call or email your lead we will contact you via email (or phone or carrier pigeon, whatever you prefer) and discuss the details and how to move forward. We'll look to glean from you any information that can help us be of benefit to the prospective customer. That's it really - just reach out and let our staff do the rest. Easy right?
So that's it. The Muse is sitting here with a stack of Benjamins waiting for my developers hook me up. Here's hoping you grab the brass ring.
One more thing. If it goes well CFWT will be adding a tracking module to our system so you can see how much to expect within you 10 month residual period.