In the face of tough trading conditions, experts convened to discuss how to develop an effective sales and marketing strategy in the B2B technology market.
In partnership with Frog Capital, FinTech Global recently held a “Scaling with Purpose” event to hear from experts on how to develop an effective sales and marketing strategy during tougher times, and how to successfully scale in the US.
Frog invests in purpose-driven European Software scale-ups who have reached product-market fit and €3m ARR. The special partner event to the Global RegTech Summit 2023 began with an introduction from Frog’s own operating partner James Bagan. Joining Bagan was John Lord, chairman at Tred; Zoe Bucknell, co-founder of Kuberno, and Ben Woodruff, VP global sales at Evotix.
The discussion began with the panellists agreeing that there is an overwhelming consensus in the industry that there are tough trading conditions, particularly in B2B technology selling.
“Business to business selling is incredibly tough right now, as buyers prevaricate and procrastinate because of the macroeconomic environment,” Bagan said, “Whilst RegTech has some immunity from ‘nice to have’ technology solutions, it is remains far from straightforward to find viable opportunities and close deals.”
Reflecting on the past financial year, the first signs of slowdown presented themselves in Q1, which only worsened in Q2. More comprehensive business cases were having to be presented even for relatively small transactions, slowing the decision-making process.
Prior to this slowdown, there had previously been a shift away from the “do more with less” approach. Companies and organisations began to expand their budgets. However, that trend began to reverse and once again the industry saw a shift to an inward-looking approach and a shrinkage of budgets. Professionals strove to become savvier when it came to buying technology, looking for solutions that would solve multiple problems.
The panel acknowledged that point solutions are easier to buy; they have the capability to solve very specific problems. In difficult times however, it is important to empower salespeople with sales tools that enable them to sell.
In addition, some sectors are seeing their sales professionals beginning to demand salaries of £100k and over, when in reality they may only be worth £40k from a business perspective. However, in difficult times, the difference between the performance of an average salesperson compared to an exceptional once makes “the world of difference”.
Some in the industry are of the opinion that RegTech technologies are somewhat immune to the tough trading conditions. This is because in RegTech, it is often not the case that you are competing against other products or technologies. Rather, it is a case of competing against the alternative of doing nothing.
The panellist stressed that the most successful sales calls are the ones in which the pain points of the customer are truly understood, and if they weren’t at the beginning of the call, then they take the time to get there. Oftentimes, it can prove fruitful to bring on a sales professional that does not come from a sales background, but rather, knows the people they are selling to and understands the industry well. These types of professionals tend to come from a more operational background and bring with them a thorough understanding of the product. In saying this however, it was noted that a successful salesperson should possess a drive to persist in addition to these qualities.
The panel went on to discuss the trading conditions in the US and what is required to scale successfully there. It was stressed that whilst it can be easy to assume that the culture and selling market is similar to the UK, it is in fact very different in a few key ways and the barriers to entry can be higher than initially anticipated.
The US is a vast market, where companies have big balance sheets and also big pain points. However, the panellists noted that the market can be hard to enter as a European company if you do not have some kind of US backing.
Further, the culture and communication styles in the US can vary drastically. The roles within companies and their accompanying language related to those roles can also differ, therefore, it is important to do the necessary research to understand company structures and terminologies, in order to successfully scale your business there.
Bagan concluded the discussion by highlighting the importance of these events, “These kinds of discussion led events, facilitated by our partners at FinTech Global, can be enormously instructive for leaders as they think through how best to keep growing their businesses in market headwinds.
“Our panel have all worked through previous downturns and recessions, launched and built businesses in the US and it’s this accumulated experience that can be invaluable for today’s CEO’s. Everyone here at Frog was delighted to host such a well-attended event and we’re already looking forward to the next one.”
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