“US Outsourcers to enter Europe”

Title from a news article on a Danish online news site (read it here). However odd it may seem, Europeans rush towards US and now it’s likely to turn the other way. The act and cause of confusion is a clear indication to me that the IT market is confused and very unclear where to capitalize in the current economy. Europe has for long been treated as the “last resort” so I wonder if these are the last strokes of desperate It ventures to seek capital and monetization on existing technology.

Cloud – Wasn’t it about global reach?
One thing seems odd to me though, as being in this climate. I evaluated nearly all solutions available in the market; from Amazon to Azure. From vCloud to Velocity. From SaasGrid to GoGrids, from Microsoft Dynamics Suite to Netsuite and from Google to Force. Many of these offer great online sales chat and customer reach in the US. But is asked if the technology is present in Europe the answer is – NO. So its striking me as very odd we now see many US entrants trying to leverage the opportunities in Europe. Of cause, we as Europeans has been a laugh to use the climate and window of opportunity. We are really bad at it! We are! I thought building core offerings and investing billions in technology and marketing when dealing with Cloud Computing was all about global reach and scale. However it seems that we never actually go for that global reach. US builders, build for US – and Europeans build for… sorry to realize it… the local country 😦 A true internationalize message is to lavage;

Think global, act local

US act us-local. Europe act … local-local! For a while I have been trying to establish a momentum to target the european market, but in this act and in this fight I was confronted with lack of support and energy to move the opportunity somewhere. Is this really what we as Europeans do?  Every time there is a war; we just lay down and shout for the US? And this is a war! This is currently as war of giants, and a corporate war to reach the next 6-12 years of growth in the IT market place.

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“The Chasm” as a salesmodel?

Crossing the chasm is one the best books I ever read. I go back to the book several times – what bothers me, is I seem to forget the main objectives of the book.

 

Crossing the chasm - the bell curve

But could “The Chasm” be a sales model? An input to a “new-market” sales-team? It seems like the model suits to the Software+Services (SaaS, red.) business very well, as many vendors and suppliers actually is right in the center of the chasm. And we now a few facts:

  1. Buys from a specific market/segment, buy from vendors/suppliers in the same market. Example: Small Business buy from small business.
  2. A vendor/supplier can though marketing, act as a different market/segment. Example: Microsoft does a good job in selling to small biz.
  3. People react to people that illustrate themselves. Example: Innovators like to buy from a innovative sales man.
  4. Salespeople can be divided by the bell curve – as followed by rules of (1) and (2). Example: Selling to laggards typically is though key account management, opposite to innovators whom buys from the internet.

So crossing the chasm is about understanding if your buyer is a follower or a leader – first mover vs. second mover. You could actually divide your sales staff in the same area of competency.

So my point is to understand the area where the customer is, you will need to understand where you sales people are.

From the detailed image above, we could argue that #1 can happen even though we supply bad product marketing. Just by being the first in the market, will actually sell a solution. Looking at #2 our product and staff must meet the customer expectations, and 50% of the buyers will be comparing prices, as the other 50% will be looking for comfort and support.

The #3 block will narrow the selection, and only a face-to-face meeting, a complete solution-selling approach to understanding the pain of the customer; will end in a closed deal.

Summing up, you can actually cross the chasm by setting your expectations to the sales staff, do better product marketing, and by reading the book 😉

A hint: If you own a market for a given time, you probably is located before the chasm. Be aware that is could help you move by helping you competitors – resulting in the commodity and mainstream market – which is big enough to the both (or several) of you!

Innovative Entrepreneurs & Venture Capitalists (VC)

I have the opportunity to talk with a lot of venture capitalists, innovative people and entrepreneurs. What strikes me the most, is the large difference between the two mindsets the people – the idea-makers and the capitalists! Each of these groups, have their own focus and goal of the engagement – which actually is another story to blog about 😉

In a resent discussion, it stroked me how odd some of the innovation entrepreneurs act. Their focus is to be very rich, in a short amount of time, and with probably no work. I am compelled to quote one of me very best friends;

There are no easy money – only focus and hard work!

Entrepreneurs often have a bunch of ideas, and very few of them can actually go into a business model with a séance of success. But the ones that do this – are REALLY good. So how can you as a VC help your fellow entrepreneurs? Well a Danish guy actually invented his own strategy and I would like to share that idea, as I really see the point in this.

“When dealing with these innovation people, I always have a request to get them focused on our common (the business) idea and to get on track with this. So I often start by tying the front man of the new innovation to the company on a 2-5 year business plan. I then transfer USD 500.000 to his account, making him suddenly rich; which actually get the man on track – and only focus on this one idea I share the vision about. All his other ideas disappears and the need to get rich also disappears.”

Not many VC take this risk, by I would give the investor credit for some good understanding of the innovative entrepreneurs mindset and actions.

Take that for an idea 😉