As a sales outsourcing company, we sit at the crux of clients and their prospects, knee-deep in the European tech market. We’re right now delivering international expansion for 40 active clients — and, over the last year, have spoken to hundreds of other tech companies about their growth plans.
We feel like we’re in a unique position — a sort of canary in the coal mine, if you will — to reflect on the ups and downs and ups again of the last six months. The approach of leveraging local sales outsourcing partners is extremely flexible. That certainly adds value in uncertain times, and when things are going good in the market — or bad — we are often the first to notice it.
There has definitely been some moments of fear and worry, but, for the most part, we feel that a sense of optimism and community is what’s driving most tech organizations.
Today we reflect on this challenging year, and we share where we see the tech industry is now heading, amidst these unusual times. And why we feel optimistic for 2021.
Technology is about building the future. And even when the future seems less certain, tech organizations have a better ability than most to pick themselves up, reflect, pivot and re-emerge stronger. We're watching it happen right now across Europe.
March left us all a bit shaken. For companies, the first stage of lockdowns was focused on team health and scrambling to go remote. Nobody was canceling deals, but nobody was signing any either. It was the month the Earth stood still.
Then, waking up from that initial jolt, the next stage was reactive or maybe even over-reactive — moving from on-hold to a full halt. Organizations concentrated on minimizing impact and cutting costs. That included cutting people, of which contractors are often the first to go. If budgets weren’t trimmed, VCs weren’t going to fund next rounds.
But as soon as the tech industry hit rock bottom, it seemed to bounce right back. By early Summer, everyone seemed to accept that this will be the status quo for awhile longer. And if you don't focus on growth now, your business may not last the year.
It was important for companies to cut costs at the start of this crisis. It’s equally important, now that European markets are improving, to start investing in growth again. Now more than ever, no company can afford to sit on the sidelines. Now is the right time to focus on pipeline growth and international expansion.
After the initial paralysis turned big cuts, the last six months have seen a rebound in tech sales in most parts of the industry. In fact, some areas like telecommunications infrastructure, cybersecurity, and team collaboration tools have seen expansion. Most areas of tech had a strong Q3 and are going to follow for a stronger Q4.
We've witnessed the crisis travel from Asia to Europe and now to the United States. As Europe recovers from the first wave of the pandemic, it has emerged as a stable growth target. But it's still one that needs to be looked at not as one big market, but as 50 different economies and cultures. And European expansion has to be approached with a way of doing business that can ebb and flow in response to what's happening in each of those 50 markets.
Flexibility has to be the priority for any organization right now. The gig economy isn’t just for delivering people and food anymore. An exponential growth in temporary contracts means people will work together for as long as it works. Without the need or even desire to be co-located or within a traditional corporate structure. We are able to engage with the best people for the job, wherever they are, and under a variety of contract models.
Services outsourcing continues to stand out as a fast, low-risk, high-growth strategy to take during periods of uncertainty. It can take months to hire internal sales representatives and then you’re adding risk and new financial commitments with full-time contracts. Sales outsourcing, business development and marketing teams that are already active in your local targets, allow you to launch those same services in just a matter of days.
More than ever, community is key to unlocking new markets.
Travel is limited, but customer relationships can still be cultivated. We are at the most communicative time in human history where we can circumvent borders with just an internet connection and a webcam. In fact, without business travel, we've found that many have more time to consider innovative technologies.
When face to face with a handshake isn't possible, it's more important than ever to leverage existing customer relationships and to speak the enterprise buyer’s native tongue.
There’s a benefit in having locals selling to locals. They already have the local contacts and know the local markets. They share the context and culture, and now even the local lockdown experience. They are uniquely able to position your tech offering as a solution to your future customers' problems.
Plus they are there already. Business is definitely opening up inside national bubbles allowing for face-to-face meetings. And a lot of deals are being successfully made remotely. We know that now is the right time to consider partnerships with people already on the ground within your target locales and verticals.
So, while you can’t hop on a flight to connect with new customers this doesn’t mean your global expansion plan has to be grounded. In fact, our clients are showing us there’s still reason to be optimistic. For many of them, their tech solutions are more in-demand than ever.
We believe 2021 will be a turning point. And as tech is building the future, we know it's being built by stable, resilient and optimistic companies like yours.
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