Ask the expert: your questions on growing the business answered
FinTech Futures is introducing a new fortnightly column, Ask The Expert! The column is designed to provide readers with practical advice on how to grow their businesses.
Greg Watts is our resident expert. He is the founder of Demand Creation Partners, a London-based growth consultancy that helps fintechs and payment firms to scale. He was previously head of market acceleration at Visa Europe.
QUESTION: How do launch my fintech into new markets?
You’ve successfully launched your business in a single market with a number of live clients. Now you now need to prove to investors that you can scale.
The question is, what geographies should you target next? How do you know if they’re a good fit for your business? Will your proposition resonate with local end-users? What changes – if any – will you need to make to accommodate new markets?
These are just some of the questions you’ll need to consider before entering a new geography. Here is a three-point plan to help refine your approach:
- Define the criteria for a market entry.
To assess whether or not a market is a good fit for your business, consider the following:
- What is the potential value of the market opportunity?
- Which target clients have operations in the market? Do they have bricks and mortar operations or online channels – or both? Engaging existingclients with operations in a target market can often be an effective approach to entry.
- What is the primary language? If the language is different to your current market, consider that you’ll need to invest in local expertise – so it may make sense to consider a different language as a third or fourth market.
- Which competitors currently serve the market? How do you compare?
- How much resource will the market require? Will you need to recruit local hires or can you use existing resources?
Once you’ve identified the criteria, allocate a score or weighting to each market based on the answers. Add up the weightings to provide a total score, and this will give you a prioritised target list.
- Develop a go-to-market plan.
Now that you’ve defined your target market(s), the next step is to develop a go-to-market plan to ensure successful entry. Here are some considerations:
- Recruit local leaders and sales and marketing personnel with a good understanding of the market. In the short term – while momentum is being built and resources are constrained – support functions such as product, legal, operations and technology can remain within HQ.
- For each market, identify prospects and partners. Who are the local banks, acquirers, PSPs and retailers you need to cultivate relationships with? Identify key stakeholders within each.
- Understand local business issues and market nuances, and develop a value proposition that resonates with key decision makers.
- Identify and approach potential local partners who can help you raise awareness and introduce you to prospects – for example, local chambers of commerce, payment associations or retail consortiums.
- Differentiate yourself from local players. Re-do your messaging guide to fit with the local market.
- Create an integrated demand generation plan to qualify opportunities for the sales team and identify must-attend events where you can build relationships with target clients and partners.
- Identify a local PR agency to support your launch; develop a map of local market influencers to form relationships with – for example, journalists, bankers and retailers.
- Review all collateral using local market experts to ensure your messages resonate and cannot be misinterpreted through subtleties of language.
- Provide a framework and support mechanisms to ensure success.
Once the market has been identified and the go-to-market plan agreed, the next step is to provide the local team with the resources they need to be successful. For example:
- Before launching into a new market, ensure the local team has a thorough understanding of your business and products; bring them to your head office for training and to get to know the rest of the team.
- For the first few months the local team will rely heavily on HQ to provide support and resources – so, set up weekly calls to check progress.
- Identify an executive sponsor for each new market. Sharing markets across the executive team helps imbue knowledge across the wider business.
- Finally, develop a local market dashboard that is reviewed weekly, incorporating no more than three to four KPIs focussing on sales pipeline progression.
Bringing it all together
Many fintechs underestimate the planning, focus and resource it requires to launch into a new market. Many believe that success in one market will lead to replicable success in another. That’s rarely the case.
However, with careful planning and support from HQ, a fintech is more likely to scale into new geographies successfully.