09 December 2016
Late last month, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise hosted a networking lunch for 12 New Zealand technology companies hoping to crack the Australian market.
“Gaining scale in Australia is a challenge for many New Zealand tech companies, particularly when they try to use the same growth model in Australia that they have domestically,” said Chris Romano, NZTE Business Development Manager. “Others struggle because they are unsure of the right order of doing things – when to invest in digital marketing and when to build their people capability.”
To help tech companies better understand how to do business in Australia, NZTE enlisted the help of Melbourne-based tech industry experts Gavin Appel and Jonathan Jeffries to share some important insights and tips to the group. Gavin and Jonathan are co-founders of OneStack, an organisation which works with tech entrepreneurs to help accelerate their growth through experience and connectivity.
According to Gavin and Jonathan, it’s not just start-ups that can find market entry hard going. When Dropbox decided to enter the Australian market, it relocated 13 of its people fresh from its US headquarters. It failed. Without proper knowledge of the market dynamics, its people weren’t adequately equipped – no matter how much cool-factor their brand had. The Dropbox team tried again, re-strategised and worked harder on networking, and eventually achieved success.
Here are the top ten tips from the event for building a successful technology business outside of New Zealand:
- Invest initially in events and networking and build your market understanding.
- Don’t place a sales person in the market straight away.
- Understand how business events run in that market.
- In Australia, consider roadshows, dinners and lunches.
- Consider the macroeconomic environment and how that particular market does business.
- Listen to the market and assess whether it’s ready for your product or if more market awareness and education is required.
- Once the leads start coming in, invest in a sales team.
- Find local points of contact to reach people at the appropriate level – executive, mid-management or otherwise – depending on who your buyer is.
- Trust is a major barrier to overcome in a new market. Sending a junior person to sell to enterprise won’t work – they will want to meet the founder. Show you care.
- If you are new to the market, create a strategy on how you will get your first 10 customers and build the strategy around how you will reach these people.
- Good internal communication and transparency are crucial. The best managers have weekly meetings to discuss progress. Company vision and values need to be regularly and consistently communicated.
- Reports to investors are also critical for building your company reputation and profile in the market.