Pitfalls and Opportunities with Entering the U.S. Market: A Web Event

In their current web event series, Kettering International’s CEO, John Crozier-Durham, meets with founders, entrepreneurs, and business owners to discuss their international market entry, the challenges they faced, and what they’ve learned along the way. Kettering International has actively supported organisations to internationalise in the United States since 2019, providing services in two core areas—business development and operations.

Their most recent web event featured honored guest, Ross Paull, CEO of nTrustus. Based in Sydney, Australia, nTrustus is the first and only regulatory tech platform to hone in on Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) as a new key area of regulatory compliance. The first roll out into the U.S. market, which Paull speaks to in this webinar, involved the company’s earlier iteration as Guided Resolution, a pioneering online dispute resolution technology platform. It is through this evolution that nTrustus climbed to their current success in the Australian marketplace.

Pitfalls and Opportunities with Entering the U.S. Market

The tech enterprise market is expanding and evolving. This creates exciting opportunities, but it also commands an understanding of clients and cultural differences from market to market. The globalisation of the market requires the localisation of a finely tailored sales strategy.

Paull spells out the imperative advantages of due diligence and market understanding in one’s home market first, to serve the lifecycle of sales and implementation in the tech enterprise international market:

Don’t Fall For Premature Expansion: There Are No Shortcuts

  • For their first attempted rollout, Guided Resolution found a firm based in Philadelphia to assist, but the partnership was based more in sweat equity than a cash commitment. Paull now cautions firms not to be swayed by the initial cost savings of sweat equity-based ventures, as the lack of capital investment made it easier for the hand-shake partnership to dissolve when there wasn’t profitable traction. This is particularly significant in enterprise tech and B2B SaaS where the sales cycles can be longer than anticipated. It becomes very easy for partners to lose motivation if they are not adequately incentivised.
  • Guided Resolution came to the U.S. market looking for warm leads, but didn’t have a defined target audience or a sales plan to execute. Their sales strategy relied on selling features and benefits, which consumed time and money without yielding any traction.
  • When the partnership dissolved and Paull returned to his home market, he repositioned the firm’s efforts and resources towards newer endeavors and away from Guided Resolution, a common occurrence in tech enterprises.
  • Helpful tip: Sweat equity is attractive in the outset as it appears to save money, but with that arrangement, the milestones and KPIs are looser than a formal approach. It’s a false financial promise — saving money by not investing in proper execution and metrics consumes even more money, while also squandering time and potential opportunities.

Learn From Your Missteps & Invest in Market Education

Ross Paull shares, “Tech enterprise selling is hard, so one must make friends with failure, learn, pivot and move on.” And that is exactly what he did—with tremendous success.

  • Understanding what failed in a roll out provides priceless information for rebuilding your strategy and planning for a pivot. For Guided Resolution, the problem was not the product, but in the lack of understanding of the client experience during implementation, and failing to correctly leverage market segmentation.
  • In tech enterprises, the product promises to save time and money, improving the customer experience. Your clients want to know how and when? This is a valuable answer to share before they ask. Building a portfolio for market localisation and tracing out the client lifecycle of implementation and support streams creates client-oriented solutions that communicate care and commitment for the long term. If you do not have the answers, you can build-out a pre-installation assessment that highlights your expertise and investment in client success. Ketting International offers their clients this level of niche excellence.
  • Helpful tip: In a situation where you are not upending an established competitor, there is a greater strategic need for market education. Success will require attention to the cost, time, and support of implementation for your rollout.

Focus on Sales Understanding and Strategy

  • Your company’s pitch needs to move the potential client into seeing how your product will solve their problems, versus them sitting in a boardroom hearing how well you are doing with your product. Back in his home market, Paull interviewed HR heads to identify their immediate and long-term needs, and shifted his company’s orientation to their expressed problems. It’s most cost-effective to create a lucrative solution to a market need in one’s home market before an international rollout. With a clear grasp on client-informed data points, your team can more readily discern a good client fit and avoid the common pitfall of confusing mere enthusiasm for actual buying commitment. You will understand and overcome client objections through intimate market understanding — versus hoping it will all “work out.”
  • Helpful Tip: When planning an international roll out, it’s important to build a system that other people can execute and maintain. Perhaps you are accustomed to having a hand in all levels of business, or maybe letting a client need dictate the contract so you can close a sale, but Crozier-Durham cautions, “That’s not effective when scaling and building a business because you’ve got to transfer and distribute your knowledge to partners and employees, and let them do that work for you. Without definitions and guardrails in place, it can become unwieldy very quickly; you can spend a lot of time knocking on doors and wasting time.”

Where is nTrustus Now?

nTrustus grew holistically and a market opportunity arose with The Commonwealth government to pilot the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Proof of concept, signed clients, and successful scope elevated nTrustus to a viable contender globally. However, Ross Paull is not rushing to market. Since he has befriended failure and learned how to pivot, he is taking the time to understand the lifecycle and client frustrations in his own market to make the company more successful abroad.

“Our superpower is highly intuitive plug-and-play, and now we are scaling for size. We are already planning to shift to a low, unbreakable code at a much larger scale,” says Paull. “We are planning to prove that in our home market, and we are in conversations with the U.K. doing this process in a very measured way.’”

Contact Kettering International Today

Are you ready to re-evaluate your U.S. market roll out for successful localisation and implementation? Contact Kettering International for more information on assessing where your sales strategy and international market rollout can be refined for success – and join us for our next web event, coming up in June!