Background & the Client Challenge

A large Business Process Outsourcing company (BPO) was looking to grow their business into new international markets. The organisation had previously attempted to sell their services outside of Ireland, but in an ad-hoc way with no clear strategy, and with little success.

We were asked to help the business come up with a ‘product’ that they could sell internationally and in a structured way in order to be able to replicate this across multiple sectors and markets.

What We Did

Our starting point was to examine the value within the business and how that could be packaged to sell in other markets.

By looking at the client’s largest service offering it soon became clear that this segment was in a highly regulated area with complex procurement processes, and this meant that time to revenue in new geographies would be considerable.

As a new entrant into this market a significant amount of time and money would be spent just getting onto the procurement frameworks, rather than winning new business. This sector was therefore discounted as an option for export.

Instead, we looked at another sector in which the client had considerable experience, which was transferable outside of the Irish market. This ‘product’ was tested against different geographies – examining disruption, maturity and the relative strength and experience of other participants.

The UK market was selected as the target for a variety of reasons. The market was relatively mature but was going through a period of extreme disruption with many new players that were crying out for an experienced service provider.

The concept of BPO wasn’t new to the market, but the existing players didn’t have a great reputation or history of success, and it was clear that we could match the client’s experience in this area to a proven customer pain point.

Once the rigorous process of developing the proposition and testing it against the market was completed, we were able to get on and deliver. It was vital that there was a lot of rigour built around the sales process – as we were developing a model that the client could follow with other sectors and geographies. And as this was a totally new market there were no pre-existing relationships to rely on.

Getting the structure right for a successful sales journey depends very much on creating the right ecosystem. Our experience dictates that not all conversations are created equal, so it was important that we started with the right introductions to the right people, so our starting point was to identify the key players in the sector. We knew the business had a hugely credible story to tell, it was just a matter of delivering it to the right people.

It was also important that the entire process was as lean as possible. The business did not want to invest in additional headcount or other resources until they were clear that this approach would yield success, so the project was delivered without setting up a UK base or bringing in additional Sales resources.

From a position of zero revenue, zero contacts and zero brand awareness, we had developed a revenue line of €11m for the client.

Results

  • €11m revenue line (and highest margin business unit in the company)

  • Created platform for significant additional revenue growth

  • Constructed a powerful network of industry advocates and influencers

  • Firmly embedded the client’s business within target market

  • Proof-of-concept sales model that could be rolled out across different sectors and geographies

Brian O’Brien

Partner & Head of
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