The benefits of SFE’s sales in-sourcing approach
In the current economic climate, many high-tech companies face the dilemma of generating growth and reducing costs at the same time. This problem is particularly serious when you decide to grow through international expansion. Sales outsourcing offers a practical solution to this issue, but it has some disadvantages. Enters the concept of sales in-sourcing, a twist to the traditional outsourcing approach.
Compared with hiring your own sales force, both sales outsourcing and in-sourcing present major benefits:
- Lower costs– Instead of spending scarce capital and vital senior management time to open overseas offices and recruit local staff, you engage sales representatives at a fraction of the cost of hiring full-time sales people.To give you an idea of how economical such services are, you can enter new markets for as little as a €4,000 monthly fee per market, plus commission. Compare this to the generally accepted cost of €1,000,000 to find and equip an office and to recruit, train and put a sales team on the road.Also, you incur no other costs for recruitment, legal, HR, social, facilities, IT, communication, etc.
- Reduced risks– Since you don’t have to establish local subsidiaries, you don’t need to deal with laws & regulations for hiring/firing local people, for filing/paying taxes, for health & safety, legal holidays, etc.In addition, a flexible agreement with a 30-day termination clause minimizes risk and commitment.
- Faster growth – The sales representatives are usually available under short notice. They are trained and selling in 1-3 months vs. typically 6-12 months when hiring direct. And they generate first revenues within 6-9 months on average.
However, outsourcing can have some drawbacks. In ‘traditional’ outsourcing, the external organisation usually operates relatively independently from its client and applies its own policies and processes. After basic product training, its sales representatives work at arm’s length from the client’s organisation, without much contact with the home office team.
Benefits of the in-sourcing approach
In-sourcing offers more. Sales representatives are more effective when they are integrated into your own team as one of yours. By becoming part of your own organisation, they execute the strategies and tactics you define; they communicate with you at least once a week; they use business cards and email address of your company and they conform to your processes and administrative procedures.
As consequence, you know you can trust and rely on an international sales team to represent your company to its best advantage and to resolve local problems efficiently. And you can be confident that they know their market thoroughly and will report back to you all relevant market information.
In addition, while sales representatives are able to benefit from your expertise and experience, they also get support from the entire Sales Agency team that accumulates many years of sales, marketing and technical experience. In other words, you benefit from something very valuable: an external point-of-view. Working hard ‘inside the box’, you tend to have a somewhat distorted view of the realities out there and, especially in high-tech, an inclination to see mostly the product ‘tree’ in front of the market ‘forest’.
A Sales Agency team offers a different perspective, literally, for they are out of the box, able to look at your company from outside in. As an example, during the initial phase of a collaboration, the agency team dialog with your team to assess your ‘international readiness’. This analysis allows to identify gaps and missing items in your international strategies, programs and sales support materials, and to offer help to overcome these issues, leveraging the agency’s extensive experience in international markets, channels and enterprise business.
Locally, in the countries you select for expansion, a good Sales Agency provides truly ‘in-country’ sales professionals, i.e. native persons knowing perfectly the language, culture, traditions, laws and regulations. They have the contacts to rapidly establish distribution channels and key customers for your products and services. And they manage these accounts on your behalf, supported by our marketing team, to keep the sales moving. This typically allows you to hold cost of sales at less than 20% of the income from the country/region.
As mentioned above, local representatives benefit from the agency management team’s experience and creativity for channel selection and management, defining effective marketing strategies and tactics and product design and development. An agency can help you on these matters for a small fraction of the fees charged by large consultancies.
In short, with this approach, you can in-source the agency’s sales and marketing experience, outsource most of the risks and costs associated with international expansion, start immediately and create a strong basis for future expansion.
Efecte Expands its Cloud-based IT service management solution internationally with Sales Force Europe.
The Nordic software company has selected SFE to expand international business. Efecte drastically improves organizations’ data security by ensuring only people with the right access authorization can process data. Comprehensive device management raises the efficiency of IT work and lowers costs since all hardware, including mobile devices, is registered and appropriately managed.
Their cloud-based ITSM solution is perfect solution for enterprises and public organizations. The service is provided as chosen by the customer: either through Efecte’s secure cloud service or through cloud services. In both cases, the solution is easy and fast to use, regardless of the device.
The company develops IT Service Management Cloud solutions, an easy-to-use Self-Service Channel, and Efecte Identity software for identity and access governance. The company was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Espoo, Finland. And Operates in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Italy.
More information: www.efecte.com
What position do you occupy in the mind of your customers?
There is a joke circulating in top management circles, saying “I know that half of my marketing money is wasted, but I don’t know which half.” Is this really a joke? In most cultures there is a proverb stating that there is never smoke without fire.
Our observation of large and small businesses in various industries and countries indicates that most companies waste money because they work from nonexistent or weak marketing foundations.
Marketing foundations, or fundamentals, are about differentiation, positioning, and focus on sending a consistent message to the market.
The challenge for all companies, products and services is to stand out in crowded and noisy markets. The key to standing out is to be different in an attractive and meaningful way. The choice of one major differentiation factor is the toughest problem most marketers are facing because they all have a tendency to bombard us with endless lists of specifications, features and benefits (including the proverbial kitchen sink). They don’t think hard enough about what not to say.
Clear differentiation is, in turn, the key to successful positioning. Positioning is the act of imprinting a unique, credible and memorable message in the mind of the customer and to consistently work at defending and reinforcing this position. This takes time.
The subtitle of the seminal book on positioning, published in 1981 by Al Ries and Jack Trout is: “THE BATTLE FOR YOUR MIND”. The term ‘battle’ is a tad unfortunate because it suggests the possibility of a quick victory. Positioning is more like a war; it takes years. It’s a long-term investment. Scan, in your own mind, the brands that have the strongest positive image. Most of them have been around for years, haven’t they?
The good news is that it is difficult to dislodge a category leader. Volvo is still the leader for safety, Mercedes for reliability, Rolls Royce for prestige, Ferrari for speed, VW for value, etc. The other good news is that, once the essence of your message is created, you can use it as basis for your entire market communication and quickly earn benefits from this important investment.
Last, but not least: positioning is an art. It works better with the objective, external point-of-view of a specialist who looks at your company or products from a different angle and who brings fresh ideas. You need a second opinion like a doctor needs a colleague to perform surgery on himself. You want to avoid throwing good money after bad, don’t you?
An effective positioning message has to be about half-way between your actual position in the market and the vision you have of the future of your company and of its products.
To be memorable and effective, your message should be as short as possible, different, attractive, relevant and persuasive. So, it should achieve the right balance between facts and aspirations.
Finally, your message has to pass credibility tests including:
- Laugh test – if your claim is grossly exaggerated, implausible or unimaginable, it will provoke general laughter and you lose your prospect’s confidence.
- Yawn test – if your message uses conventional, hollow and boring business speak, you lose the prospect’s attention and potential interest.
- Blank eyes test – if your statement uses esoteric or fashionable expressions with obscure meaning, you probably irritate your prospect from the beginning.
Then, your positioning message can serve as consistent basis for a series of documents such as:
- Your marketing plan
- Tag lines and one-sentence statements
- One-page company / product briefs
- One-paragraph to half-page summaries
- Elevator pitches, 60-second speeches, ..
- Website content (e.g. “about us” statement)
- Brochures, newsletters, direct mail, advertising
- White papers, manifestos, case studies
In addition to its Sales Services, SFE can help you on marketing matters, creating solid marketing foundations including positioning, and developing important materials and programs.
PrivateWave selects SFE to expand its sales. PrivateWave Italia SpA was founded in 2005 with the objective of marketing innovative products to secure voice communications. Since its inception, the company chose to cooperate with universities in Italy and Switzerland to develop its technology platform. In October 2010, PrivateWave launched its Enterprise VoIP Security Suite (EVSS) designed to secure phone conversations between landline VoIP phones and mobile devices, protecting business communications. The software is compatible with Nokia, iPhone and Blackberry mobile devices and will soon be fully compatible with devices based on Android.
EVSS is the result of the encryption of mobile communications and the development of secure VoIP solutions. This integrated system guarantees full protection of voice communications from intrusions, securing all PBX conversations from landline phones to mobile devices, as well mobile to mobile calls, resulting in maximum privacy of all conversations.
Orchestrate is an innovative technology software development company focused on providing unique solutions developed on the Force.com platform to the Financial Services industry. We grew up in the Advisory industry with a combined work experience of 15+ years working for Registered Investment Advisors. Orchestrate’s ProcessComposer™ is a smart engine made to compose and execute even the most complex processes within Salesforce CRM, so that users can focus on building an organization that is consistent and scalable with reduced overhead in time and resources. This robust tool overcomes many of the limitations and frustrations of the native Salesforce.com Workflow engine and Action Plans.
ProcessComposer is industry agnostic. Use it to build any client service or internal company process—from an onboarding/sales process to a client service process to a compliance process to an approval process. ProcessComposer can assign tasks to users based on their role with a particular account/client. It can also be configured to change the workflow path based on the input fields that are entered on the process. Tasks can have one parent task, or multiple parent tasks.
SFE to develop international sales for Domeskin. DomeSkin is a leading developer and manufacturer of uniquely designed 3D skins to protect high-end mobile devices without extra bulk—the result is a smooth, form fit with a personalized style.
DomeSkin was founded by a successful technology team of gadget enthusiasts, engineers and designers with years of experience in creating successful consumer products. The company goal is to provide products that offer unique protection and popular designs to match individual personalities.
The DomeSkin is specially designed to protect expensive devices while allowing users to personalize them with a unique custom style. DomeSkin products can be easily removed from the device arid come off totally clean thanks to the patented 3M technology used in the construction. Unlike thin vinyl based skins, DomeSkin products are reusable and they provide an additional 3D layer of protection. The clear dome design not only offers a customizable stylish 3D look for devices, it also inhibits slipping and allows better gripping of the device. DomeSkin products are scratch-resistant and much more durable than other thin vinyl skin products.
International business development through outsourcing sales and other critical business development processes
Once a company has achieved initial success in its home market with an innovative product or service, it should start planning for International growth. If you are strong in your home turf, you can further invest in R&D to expand your product into new applications; but you soon face barriers of saturation, competition and complexity. So, why not selling the successful product abroad?
Going international is not as difficult as it seems at first glance if you articulate your strategy around outsourcing major business processes to local partners in foreign markets. When in fact international business development requires a local presence, you don’t necessarily have to establish a local subsidiary with all the costs and risks that such a major commitment represents.
Instead of hiring permanent local employees, you can engage part-time, well qualified representatives, starting immediately on a small basis and grow. The common sense approach is to start with sales representatives who can rapidly identify business opportunities, evaluate local competition, catch RFPs in the early phase and manage marketing programs, promotions and local events, demos, field evaluations and so on.
Sales Outsourcing (also called ‘Sales Insourcing’) brings you the benefits of in-country sales representatives who fully understand the local culture, business scene and key players, idiosyncrasies and other factors, and who act as your bona fide agents (e.g. business cards, email address, etc). Specialized sales outsourcing companies such as Sales Force Europe can offer you representatives with suitable experience in all major countries. Most of these agents are former executives of major corporations with a solid background and a deep knowledge of international business. So, they can work relatively independently and take appropriate initiatives to develop business while executing the strategies you define.
Companies that offer complex products or services also need, in addition to sales representatives, local partner organizations able to perform technical tasks including installation, maintenance, support and other specialized jobs. In the high-tech sector, such organizations are local System Integrators, Service Providers, Distributors, Value-Added Resellers or similar companies that bring the following advantages:
- Increase your acceptance abroad through the window of a trusted local player
- Help you to understand the local culture and local ways and customs
- Decrease the burden on your home team (sales, support, etc.)
- Allow you to expand faster.
Your local sales representative will help you identify, qualify, attract, enroll and manage such partners, and, originally, to define a value proposition to potential partners. Such a value proposition is part of a partner program you have to develop. You have to productize and localize your offering so that it can be transferred with minimum efforts. This doesn’t concern only the products themselves, but also all processes associated with these products, such as presentations, demonstrations, samples/demo units, sales and marketing methods, installation, integration, services and support. The program must also define the respective roles and responsibilities, the corresponding financial agreements and the necessary technical and administrative procedures.
A complete Partner Program allows you to present serious win-win value propositions and to show a true commitment to give full support to partners. The reward will be the creation of a productive long-term relationship with partners and the development of solid international foundations.