Getting ready for export growth – Part 1

This series of blogs focuses on one of our clients who is prepping for significant growth when they launch internationally.

By way of background:

They are a tech company who are widely recognised for their professional expertise in cyber security. About four to five years' ago they started to productise their IP into a SaaS-based solution and over that period have steadily expanded their client base across public and private sector businesses. They have bootstrapped this development thus far.

This first blog outlines the key activities undertaken on their journey to get ready for export growth and covers the period from March 2021 through to November 2021.

We’ll call this their 'getting fit for purpose' phase.

They started by completing our marketing benchmark – it uses the 9Boxes™ Strategic Marketing Framework that examines the nine levers of business growth. This 45-question benchmark generates a score which becomes the focus of our Strategic Marketing Assessment (SMA) workshop with the leadership team.

9Boxes benchmark score

The SMA process examined each of the 9 areas they would need to get on top of if they were to successfully step up into the international marketplace.

Much of the work in this 'fit for purpose' phase concentrated on strengthening their business plan for the local market. From the SMA workshop we identified 3 immediate priority areas:

1. Position: Position is important because it will lead their marketing strategy, and whilst we felt that they were not far off – it needed to be defined and documented.

Our definition of Position encompasses the following:

MARKET – the markets you serve

We felt that they needed to understand the markets they best served – was it SME businesses or Enterprise level accounts. They needed to give these markets some further definition.

SERVICE – the service levels delivered based on your values

Their service levels were driven by simplicity, partnership and education. They needed to understand how their customers experienced these behaviours. They needed to be up-front and centre of their marketing communications. We felt that service was a significant point of difference.

PRODUCT – the products you deliver

On the face of our early work with them, it seemed that their products were well defined but interestingly as you will see in the next instalment in this series, this was to become a “eureka” topic.

PRICE – their pricing strategy

This was well defined with no work required in this phase.

STAKEHOLDERS - Whilst they knew their stakeholders, we felt they needed to develop client personas; a deeper understanding of who their clients are and, more importantly, how they bought when engaging with the company.

Their key stakeholders in this phase were their strategic partners, sales agents and direct sales [see Channel] but they needed to work out revenue expectations from each of these three areas. We wanted them to understand more about their stakeholders as this would strengthen the marketing approach they would adopt.

2. Communication: Whilst they scored 65% in Communication, we felt that they may want to consider the following actions:

a) Messaging

They saw their points of difference being simplicity, partnership and education. We recommended that they validate current communications to ensure those messages were clear and obvious. They needed to be central to their messaging strategy.

b) Creative assets

They needed to review all of their creative assets to reflect the service-based messaging and they also needed to ensure they had the right marketing communication assets to:

a) Help partners and sales agents deliver revenue

b) Sell directly to selected enterprise level prospects

3. Channel is one of the boxes that offers the greatest strategic impact. In particular they needed to understand how their business sourced revenue. Two areas were put under the spotlight:

a) How to maximise revenue from existing channel partners

b) How they source and successfully engage with additional partners and sales agents

Specifically, the needed to develop answers to questions like these:

  • Did they have the customers they want?

  • How many?

  • Establishing the revenue value for the business

  • Developing value proposition for them

  • Who were the key decision makers?

  • How will they support them to be high performing channels?

The other key activity in this phase was getting them to clarify their business plan for the domestic market so as to provide both a historical perspective and a forecast out for three years. Sales targets, P&L and cash flows.

Read more about our Strategic Marketing Assessment Workshop

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