Winning – 2
Handholding of customers: US martech companies are focused more on delivering the product via the cloud, and then letting the brand use the solution with its internal team. This is what the large brands want. But for the mid-market brands, this may not work very well. Martech products tend to be complex and thus can do with some customer success team to handhold them, especially through the early months. Netcore has done this well in India and other emerging markets, and this experience can stand it in good stead in the US mid-market. In this context, another interesting idea can be the Progency, a product-led martech agency, which can take up specific KPIs (key performance indicators) and charge based on performance.
20:80 staffing model: Companies from India can use their cost advantage with human resources for the customer onboarding and success teams. A lean team in the US, backed up by a bigger team in India, can be a winning advantage. This is what the IT services companies pioneered in the past 25 years. Most functions can be driven from India. Only those functions which have a customer-facing element (sales, marketing, onboarding, support, customer success) require a small local team. This can create a competitive advantage in brands for whom pricing can be a key factor in decision making. Netcore has been doing this successfully for its email customers in the US.
String of acquisitions: One of the biggest challenges an Indian company has when entering the US market is to build its brand by getting the initial set of reference customers. This is a Catch-22 problem: customers do not like to be guinea pigs, so few are willing to say Yes and sign on the dotted line. And without a set of good brands, expansion becomes hard. One approach is to spend big on marketing and create a brand quickly. A second approach can be to consider acquiring US companies with an existing customer base with an adjacent product. This acquisitions strategy has three advantages: an immediate US footprint in the target accounts, the ability to then cross-sell products to these customers, and also to take the acquired company’s products and cross-sell to customers in India and other emerging markets. Over time, a set of targeted acquisitions can help create a “House of (Martech) Brands” approach, thus also strengthening the full stack story. Cross-border acquisitions are never easy to execute so this will need extreme care in execution. Done right, it can cut time for the go-to-market (GTM) by a few years.