April 30, 2021Tech Sales
10-minute read: Romanian Tech can succeed in the UK
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‘How to make sense of sales meetings that don’t make sense’!
This is the fourth of six articles on the subject of sales success in the UK economy. The writing has been sponsored and developed by Techmatch, Cluj, Romania with C4DI, Kingston-Upon-Hull, UK. We describe success in the UK economy as:
- Making UK sales of a Romanian product.
- Winning work within a UK contract.
- Creating Romanian/UK partnerships that generate revenue.
- Successfully sourcing UK funding.
- Marketing your Romanian talent to a UK company.
- Connecting your Romanian innovation to the UK market.
Why care about the UK
It is the Number One sales revenue opportunity in Europe. Relatively speaking the United Kingdom has had a successful VC funding period in 2020.
London is an exceptional location to raise money but less exceptional in terms of available talent and scalable capacity.
The opportunity to subcontract, partner, collaborate, sell to and engage with the UK market has more potential than anywhere else in Europe.
What is the current UK spending potential in the Tech sector?
- UK Tech VC investment is now 3rd in the world. $15bn in 2020.
- 63% of investment into UK Tech was International in 2020.
- The UK Tech ecosystem is valued at $585bn. 120% more than in 2017.
- Germany is valued at $291bn. (Less than 50% of the UK).
- The UK Tech sector launched a new business every 30-minutes in 2020.
Our articles will equip you to generate revenue from this economy
We reference cross-cultural thinker Prof Gert Hofstede. This writing transposes cross-cultural models into the context of business development. This article is specifically focused at the cultures of Romania and the UK. The model we are using can be referenced using the link below.
This creates this comparison between the cultures of Romania and that of the UK. Using the business development expertise of Techmatch Cluj in partnership with C4DI Kingston upon Hull we superimpose these differences into proven business development sales thinking.
The business development thinking that clarifies our thinking is sourced within the twelve most recognisable sales processes on the market today. It is worth to point out that not one of these processes listed below was developed and designed within the context of national cultures. They were also not designed for the coronavirus environment we all work in today. In the UK the coronavirus environment means meeting the challenge of a high percentage of communication to create sales will take place through the prism of a webcam and through the content of email. We use different parts of these models to solve those challenges and we have added our extensive experience to create this material.
Individualism versus collectivism
The comparison below is stereotypical but has a root cause as to why the measurement exists. (The measurements are continually updated to reflect societal change). You will note that the British score on individualism is higher than the Romanian score.
We explain what that could mean and then place that explanation within the context of business meetings and business buyers in general.
A high score for the dimension of individualism can be clarified as a preference for a loosely knit manner of social cohesion. Broadly speaking it means individuals only taking care of themselves and their immediate family only. Think of that as the base description of individualism and you will note that the British score is high for this preference.
The opposite dynamic of this is a preference for collectivism. This lower score for the dimension of individualism suggests a preference for a tighter collective framework within a society. The individuals can expect the members within a particular grouping to stick together. The Romanian score is consistent with this description.
In terms of sales vernacular the self-image of the business can be defined in terms of the use of either ‘I’ or ‘we’ which is mirrored as ‘individualistic’ or ‘collective’.
Valentin and I explored how this might impact regarding the different types of buying style that exist in procurement. As specialists in B2B sales we used a list of buying models shown below developed from the work of ‘Sproles and Kendall’. As we worked the buying styles through the lens of the differences in national culture, we were excited to find there were many advantages for Romanians in dealing with British procurement as we list them below.
- Perfectionist, high-quality conscious (quality)
- Brand profile conscious (brand)
- Innovative/trend conscious (innovative)
- Price-value conscious (price)
- Confused by over-choice (confused)
* (We are referencing the headings of Sproles and Kendall).
The style of buyer who is compelled or required to search for the highest quality supplier. They get to their decision in a more systematic manner compared to other buying styles. These are the clients who are not motivated to buy with a benchmark of: ‘Goodenough’. They are very demanding to negotiate with. Within this procurement style the high individualistic score engages with the conscious decision to search for quality. Our research suggests:
Buyers from individualistic cultures have the potential to be more quality conscious than buyers from collectivistic cultures.
What does this mean? Presenting or packaging an offer within the context of the qualitative measurements required by a British buyer may well connect them to selecting your offer in comparison to others. Qualitative arguments will sound more attractive than arguments around benefits and overall value. If you are able to offer a lower price communicate this within the context of reinvesting the saving of this lower price to exceed quality in other specific areas through your lower cost base.
Brand profile conscious
The brand conscious buyer is attracted to well-known offers. Brands can deliver status and prestige on an individual basis. On a business basis a well-known brand can be an easier decision in terms of removing risk. Valentin and I hypothesised that likely means:
Buyers from individualistic cultures are more brand conscious than buyers from collectivistic cultures.
What does this mean? Successful central European brands that lack a visible profile within the UK will struggle to engage with this type of buyer. Search for comparable points of reference within the UK economy so that the buyer can link your offer to a UK brand as a cross reference. Any brands in the Romanian economy that have profile in the UK may support you present your business case. Try to source links to these brands where it is possible and viable to position yourself as a co-existing valuable offer through the power of association.
The buyer that sees themselves to be innovative in purchasing is likely to invest in new and leading-edge products. This is rather than engage with previous choices and historic suppliers. This predisposition to partner with new and different offers and brands also falls under the highly individualistic orientation. The buyers from individualistic cultures are more likely to engage with risk and innovation than collective cultures. These buyers are active information seekers.
Buyers from individualistic cultures are more innovative than buyers from collectivistic cultures.
What does this mean? Showcasing technology, modernism, talent or logic that is non-UK but innovative can create excellent conversations with this type of buyer. They can easily buy into the exciting concept that there is different thinking outside the UK. You need to connect your sales narrative into this reasoning.
This style refers to the characteristic of choosing the best product out of the budget buyers have available to spend. This is very different than sourcing the lowest price possible from the menu of potential options. This style operates in terms of connecting the price of the offer into the value that it delivers or the value that it adds.
Buyers from individualistic cultures are more price-value conscious than buyers from collectivist.
What does this mean? It is reasonable to suggest that it is likely that the cost base of an offer sourced in Romania is less than the competing cost base of an offer sourced in the UK. However, this in itself will not drive this type of buyer to buy. While they search for the lowest price that they think is available you must connect that pricing to higher quality where it is appropriate. There is a connection in the UK generally that the lowest price may not represent the highest value. If you are going to offer a lower price, make sure that you connect this pricing to a value structure that is more than a low cost.
Confused by over-choice
This engages with the buying characteristic of being continually exposed to over choice. Buyer confusion is likely to become increasingly problematic for a variety of reasons as buyers are making decisions within the context of:
- Greater amounts of information
- The number of products available is proliferating rapidly
- Product imitation strategies are increasing
- Technology is becoming ever more sophisticated
These factors combine to make purchasing offers, particularly technical ones, extremely confusing. This is even more acute in high-involvement and complex purchases where buyers have to devote more time and effort to gathering and processing information. As a consequence, they have a higher propensity to become overloaded.
Buyers from individualistic cultures are more likely to be confused by over choice than buyers from collectivistic cultures.
What does this mean? The UK market is highly diverse with an awareness of the depth and sophistication of the procurement possibilities. The sales cycle needs to be able to reduce confusion and isolate a basic offer that can encourage the buyer at ground level. Look to generate the potential for sophistication within your offer but with an entry point that has immense clarity. Try to resist the opportunity to oversell and communicate the immense breadth of what you offer as this will confuse.
This article is by no means exhaustive. It is part of a larger piece of work and in the next article we explore the concept of ‘understanding British politeness’ within the framework of a UK business development meeting.
Bob is the Director of International Business Development for C4DI, the Centre for Digital Innovation based in the UK. C4DI is part of the Barclays Eagle labs chain of 26 incubators. He writes regularly on the challenges of conducting business across culture and is the co-founder and business development lead of a Polish LawTech enterprise that conducts business in the UK. Valentin is a graduate of the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. He is Co-founder and CEO of Techmatch a B2B Outsourced Sales and Lead Generation company. Valentin is a thought leader on the subject of the growth of the Eastern European Tech ecosystem.