Thursday, 24 May 2012
Soutron Director, Susan Beastall
On the Up Down Under
Soutron has been developing and supplying systems to librarians and information professionals since 1989, and is the longest serving software supplier to special libraries in the UK.
Synonymous with fast, user-friendly systems which simplify and streamline library processes, Soutron’s UK client base ranges from Government departments such as HMRC and the Welsh Assembly to Professional Membership Institutions and Not for Profit Organisations.
The company started as a value-added reseller for international systems from the US and Canada. Four years ago, despite the looming recession, the Directors at Soutron
took the brave decision to invest in developing their own system – one that would better meet the demands of their customers.
Soutron Director, Susan Beastall, said: “We’ve always been very close to our customer base and knew we weren’t able to give them exactly what they wanted. At the same time, we recruited a new R & D director and together set about developing our own system. Once complete, we knew it was streets ahead of the competition and we were able to actively seek global opportunities.”
Targeting new opportunities
Susan was already in regular contact with International Trade Adviser Christine Johnson when Soutron decided to target major English-speaking economies. With established networks and formative plans brewing in the United States, the Directors set Australia and New Zealand in their sights. “We wanted to research the market thoroughly to make sure we were on the right track,” says Susan. “We talked to Christine because she has done this so many times and helped so many businesses. She already knows what works.”
Christine suggested Soutron take a look at UKTI’s Export Marketing Research Scheme (EMRS), explaining: “The EMRS helps companies like Susan’s use marketing research to develop effective strategies to enter new overseas markets”
Although there is an option to commission market researchers to complete the work on your behalf, Susan decided she wanted to do the research herself and used the grant funding towards a market visit to New Zealand and Australia. She also used the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) in advance of the visit to ensure she had some quality appointments in Australia.
Doing the research
Susan dedicated her own time to completing the desk research in advance of the visit, investigating potential clients and their specific needs, competitors and their system specifications and potential business partners, their sales models, relevant experience and expertise.
“Combining the results of my research and the contacts from the OMIS gave us a real focus and a full schedule of appointments in advance of our visit,” explains Susan. “Without the EMRS support we would not have been able to dedicate resources to doing the research properly.” Susan spent four days in New Zealand attending a major library conference and gathered responses from more than 50 delegates. This, together with the pre-arranged meetings with resellers, IT companies and even competitors, uncovered many new lines of enquiry
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