Taimer is a cloud-based SaaS for SMB’s, offering all the business tools organizations need – from sales to billing. We’ve completely updated our product: we’re now launching a completely revised, more efficient browser version, new mobile apps, and a completely new social messaging tool for customer collaboration. The updated version will see the light of day early next year.
Along with the product updates, we, as a company, are entering international markets. This requires not only hard work but also advice and help from people outside our company. The process will be an extensive and interesting one. Our team has already gathered some experience in this field, so we decided to share our ideas with other companies who are striving to enter international markets and to make the process easier for them.
1. Networking is king
All Slush-goers know that business is all about connections and growing your network. It’s important to be active, to network, and to form relationships with different parties – even with those whose connection to your own business is ambiguous at first sight. This naturally requires legwork – participating in events, being in touch with interesting parties, and meeting new people. A great network can open new doors, help you overcome possible hurdles and make smarter decisions. It’s important to do some networking in your target market area, but remember to start networking early on – when you’re making your plans to go international.
2. Choose your target market and get familiar with it
For many Finnish organizations, expanding into the Nordic countries can seem like the most tempting option. This, however, might not automatically be the best solution. You should spend some time figuring out the most favorable target market for your product.
When you’ve chosen your target market, your message should be targeted as well. Plan your materials keeping your target area in mind and giving it your full focus. Make sure you get familiar with the cultural specifics so that your materials and tone of voice are relevant – it’s not enough to just translate your existing materials. If you don’t have a separate sales team, you might want to consider an agent who takes care of setting up PR, sales meetings and expanding in the target country.
3. Invest heavily in online marketing
When you move from plans to execution, “pull” marketing has the key position in getting a foothold in a new market. Online marketing is one of the most cost efficient and essential ways to get a good reputation and clients in new areas. Often the largest chunk of your budget goes exactly to this purpose – marketing is the very reason why you need such large resources for expansion.
4. Optimize your sales processes
This one cannot be highlighted enough – the energy you put into marketing won’t bear any fruit if the sales process isn’t up to par. Even though your product might be SaaS-based, think about your sales process from the viewpoint of an individual buyer. Go knee-deep into customer needs – understanding them and offering a solution are both vital. Product selection should be easy to grasp and demo versions and other practical assets should be taken care of. Simply put, your product should be easy to buy.
5. Get your product together
A half-baked product can wreck your launch. Even though some products or services are a good fit for the international market and have the qualities needed to do that, launching a product too hastily can be fatal. It can be especially disastrous if you need to make changes to key features of the product at a critical state. However, you shouldn’t wait for everything to be ready before launching since it never is. Your developmental version can be offered as an update for your product.
As mentioned, we’re preparing ourselves for international markets by launching a new version of Taimer. The new features and optimizations will make our product even better suited for new markets.
6. Do what you love, love what you do
Major success is born from passion. It is important to be interested in what you do, but also to get excited about the day-to-day tasks, too. Often the pace is tight and sleep can be hard to come by. But if you keep the big picture in mind and try to realize that every little task serves a greater purpose, you can hold on to that sense of excitement about your work.
Try Taimer so you can see how it works for your own business!