, Technology

Productivity the barrier to tech being the top exporter

Kiwi tech companies urged to ‘eat more of their own dog food’ when it comes to selling

Kiwi technology needs to sell itself smarter to realise it’s potential to become the country’s largest export industry, according to the latest Market Measures report.

“We don’t face the same environmental constraints of the other two major export sectors, agriculture and tourism, so the potential for tech is virtually limitless,” says Owen Scott, Managing Director of Concentrate Limited, who organise the study along with fellow tech marketing company Swaytech.

“Improving our ability sell efficiently is one way of unlocking more of this potential, and ultimately becoming New Zealand’s primary export industry.”
In its ninth year, Market Measures gathers information about sales and marketing from over 300 New Zealand companies, and compares the results to similar data from the USA.

“In this study we found Kiwi companies over reliant on company founders and high-value sales people to sell their product,” said Mr Scott. “46% of companies said a founder was still closely involved in sales, and the average sales person in an export market was paid a base salary almost 50% higher than a typical US sales person.”

“It’s not a scalable approach to generating export sales, and is reinforced by the fact 40% of companies said productivity was their main problem when it came to managing sales teams.”

Bob Pinchin, Managing Director of Swaytech, said the fact US companies used on average three times the number of digital sales tools (e.g. email automation, contact intelligence) than their New Zealand counterparts was evidence they were more focussed on efficiency. “In the tech industry we call this ‘eating your own dog food’, but our firms are turning their nose up at these tools at the moment.”

“We have talented tech sales people who convert leads at an incredibly high rate, but it’s the volume of sales that is the issue – this productivity challenge is one we have to solve to overtake the other two big export industries,” he said.

“Our tech sales people are really ‘artists’, talented and creative and able to craft sales, but what we need more of is scientists – people operating within a rigorous system able to produce repeatable, predictable sales results at a lower cost,” said Mr Scott.

He said that more than ever before, our tech companies are willing to invest in sales and marketing, which has been a feature of Market Measures since it began in 2008. “That ranges from a stable 25% of annual revenue spent on sales and marketing (including salaries and costs) for established companies, through to an aggressive 127% for start-up tech businesses.”

“NZTE works with an increasing number of internationally successful tech companies but as the Market Measures study suggests, some of them – big and small – are forgetting to cover some of the basics that lead to export growth,” says Charles Haddrell, Customer Director at NZTE, the principal sponsors of Market Measures.

“Getting your sales and marketing strategies right isn’t just a nice to have – it’s a must have. We’ve worked with hundreds of companies and know from experience that implementing robust sales processes, developing sales and execution skills, hiring well, and being aware of the technologies to support the sales and marketing functions are vital to being successful overseas.”

To purchase the report, click here.

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