The majority of tech startups have international ambitions.
While tech products themselves are typically straightforward to sell across borders, a great deal of preparation needs to go into the infrastructure required to launch overseas.
It is easy to forget that soft skills are also required to make a success of such an expansion, says Kellie Noon.
Noon is an expert in helping companies win more international clients by upskilling their teams.
Through her international consultancy Onno, she helps clients overcome barriers and reach their growth targets.
“The biggest mistake you can make when growing through export is not making time to make personal relationships,” she tells TechBlast.
“If you don’t make the relationships with the people you’re trying to sell to it doesn’t matter if you have the logistics in place, because you’re not going to sell.
“It’s these soft skills that I would argue are the most important part of the negotiation and business relationship – but it’s often seen as an afterthought.”
It is also important to understand the differing negotiation techniques in new territories.
“Quite often people come to me to troubleshoot because they’ve not prepared in advance. If you prepare for these things properly it can make the process a lot more fluent and successful,” she says.
“My biggest piece of advice is to think about the approach to communication in the area you’re looking to do business: if you’re dealing with the US they’ll give you what appears to be an early decision in the process, but in the US these verbal agreements are very flexible.
“If you’re selling into the UAE or Korea or Japan it will take a long time to negotiate the sales process but when you do get a decision, it’s firm and very set.
“Doing negotiation online has made it more complicated and you lose a lot.”