How to Sell Your IT Export Services to the US?
Indian sellers often plan to export their IT services to the US market to scale up. While earning in dollars is lucrative, you may not be prepared for challenges like a more demanding market, cultural differences, new compliances, exchange rate fluctuations, pricing issues, etc.
It’s daunting for a new exporter to break into a new market. While the basics of an export strategy are similar across geographies, let’s briefly outline a few tactics and considerations that might come in handy as you break international boundaries and sell to US-based clients.
Market Research and Analysis
- Thorough research: Study the US IT services market to understand the size, trends, and growth projections for your specific services. At this step, you can also analyze competition and key players, too.
- Break it down: Since the US market is huge, identify the target segments and niches you wish to sell to. It isn't wise to treat the US market as a uniform market. For instance, the California region will have specifics that are different from the Midwest.
- Get specific: Determine your customer segmentation based on the product, sector, and demographics you aim to target. Keep your marketing and selling strategies focused, one region, and one audience segment at a time.
Tailoring Your Services to US Market Needs
The US markets allow a business to enter and establish itself in two ways – direct selling to buyers, setting up a partnership with an American business, or using a manufacturer’s representative. In the former case, this end user can be a company, a government body, or an individual.
As an IT exporter to the US, here are a few quick fixes that can come in handy while setting up your business:
1. Highlight how your IT services can solve specific problems faced by US businesses.
2. Showcase your unique value proposition and competitive advantages to your US prospect.
3. Each client has unique demands and preferences. Adapt your services to match the communication style, meet-and-greet practices, and other preferences.
Sync your product with the demand proposition of customers. Research and find out the products and services allowed in the US markets and concerns such as:
- Certifications and licenses
- Product labelings
- FTC and FDA laws related to product labeling
- Product liability laws
- Technical regulations
- Packaging requirements
- Trademark and copyright infringements
Building a Strong Online Presence
Wouldn’t it be great if instead of you having to go to customers, your customers come to you? Having an online presence is as important as having a representative or a partner in the country of export.
Data shows SMEs using internet platforms like eBay have a 54% survival rate compared to offline businesses.
- Website: Develop a credible, professional website highlighting your services and expertise.
- SEO: For reach and visibility, incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Remember to optimize your website for region-specific and local keywords. That way, your website will be among the top results in the SERPs whenever a prospective customer searches for the services you specialize in.
- Social media: Utilise social media platforms to showcase your work and engage with potential clients.
- Testimonials: Collect and display client testimonials on the core website and social media handles to build credibility
Explore other business platforms designed for discovery of IT service providers. They bring in a lot of high-intent clients that are eagerly looking to work with cost effective and efficient professionals. Some of these include:
Networking and Relationship Building
Being present and accessible increases interest and footfall. It’s time to build your network capabilities by participating in industry events, trade shows, and conferences in the US.
- Events: The US is the home to some very popular trade shows. Choose the one that’s productive for your business. For instance, InventHelps INPEX America’s Largest Invention Show can be a great option to showcase your innovative product or service.
- Virtual Connects: Even in the times of the internet, you cannot stress enough the power of on-site link-building and networking. Leverage online platforms to connect with potential clients and industry professionals.
- Associations: Similarly, becoming a part of business associations, export promotion councils and chambers of commerce for networking opportunities can help you navigate legal waters and stay abreast of domestic developments to keep your IT export business afloat and thriving.
- Sales Channels: Build a network of partnerships with local IT companies and consultants. Work on solidifying your communication and tactics to ensure the client stays engaged and impressed - thereby referring more clients your way.
Navigating Legal and Regulatory Aspects
We cannot stress enough the importance of complying with taxation, intellectual property rights, and data privacy regulations when setting up an IT export business.
- Remember, US laws can be very particular about warranties and guarantees – express or implied. As an IT exporter to the US, you need efficient and compliant methods to sell to your US clients and simultaneously handle payments, returns, and warranties.
- Don’t forget to procure the necessary licenses and certifications to run the business as an IT exporter for the US. Non-compliance can straightaway invite large penalties from the courts.
- Take extra care to fix and form the contractual considerations and legal agreements in compliance with US IT laws. Seek legal counsel to ensure full compliance with local laws.
Pricing Strategies for the US Market
Emphasise the value your product brings to the table and ROI that clients can expect from your services. You can sell through:
- A US intermediary like a distributor
- A representative
- Engage in direct sales
Research IT export services market pricing trends before determining a competitive yet profitable pricing structure. You may also offer flexible pricing options that cater to different client budgets.
Developing a Robust Sales Strategy
Always adopt a strategic approach for your IT export business. Start by committing to one or two markets, in this case, the US.
- First, evaluate the potential of the IT export services market for your target country.
- Take into account the considerations for the specific regions within the target region.
- The stage of economic development of the product you are targeting also matters while developing a sales strategy.
- Research your prospective clients before you outline a step-by-step sales process from initial contact to closing the deal. Instead of templated pitches, work on custom yet compelling sales pitches tailored to different client needs.
- Remember to consider the sales funnel stage your prospective customers fall into.
Once you have finished product promotions, address the common objections and concerns of potential clients who contact you. Take extra care to formulate effective follow-up strategies to maintain engagement.
Providing Excellent Customer Support
Exceptional customer service leads to client retention. Timely response to inquiries and addressing client concerns can go a long way in building rewarding and long-standing relationships with clients and customers.
Establish a proper customer support channel to handle customer queries and support. If your business has a high volume of US sales, a subsidiary to care for customer service can be more economical than setting up an in-house team.
Go the extra mile to exceed client expectations. A satisfied and happy client brings sales, revenue, and more clients via referrals.
The US IT sector was going to be USD 433 billion by 2023. Indian IT exporters cannot afford to miss the opportunity to enter and explore the US market.
Acquainting yourself with the US IT services markets, customs, and regulations can help you navigate the competitive landscape and sustain success. A well-researched, adaptable, and customer-focused approach is equally crucial to building your business and network from scratch in a foreign land.
To strengthen your position in the US IT services market, continuously improve your approach to enhance results, develop pricing strategies, and adjust your compliance with US laws. That way, you can stay updated with the trends and regulations and chart a success story for your IT services business.