Over the past 18 months, we have received a number of inquiries from customers and prospects about building a list of their target accounts and decision makers for major accounts in India. The inbound leads that companies are receiving from India had gradually increased to a significant level as well over the past few years and the most important part is that a lot of these are genuine leads with interest and budget.
One of my cousins' startup that does caching and multicast stuff for large data transfers just opened up their Mumbai office after receiving inquiries from a lot of digital cinema chains about their solution for movie theaters to transmit large movies from HQ to all theater locations. This is a real deal. India is fast emerging as a large market for technology products and services and global companies are starting to pay attention to it. You must too, especially if your products are a good fit for the fast-growing domestic market in India. I have seen most companies still not ready as yet, though. They are not sure of how to proceed in terms of marketing and selling in India. They don't have an office there.
They don't understand the market and culture and they don't know where to start. It's a genuine problem and one that will be solved in stages only. There is no easy answer. The opportunity is real though and hence we believe companies must take it seriously and start to put together a marketing plan for India. Here are some of the first set of things you might want to consider to proactively cultivate and slowly build your marketing in India:
- If you are already getting inbound leads, then move quickly to put in place a comprehensive lead qualification process where every lead is called back within 24 hours or sooner to qualify their interest and move them along the process to put in the nurturing bucket or pass on to the field sales team.
- To understand the potential market opportunity, build a list of target accounts in the Indian market which qualifies as your A list accounts. Gather all the account intelligence you can to understand these accounts.
- Next, identify your key decision makers and influencers at these target accounts. The hierarchy and titles in India are fairly different than the ones you will find in the US and getting used to those is important for lead scoring etc. at a later stage.
- Unless you have a presence in India or Asia, it might be challenging to do all this yourself. The best option is to engage a local sales firm (There are few, if any, in India right now who understand how US sales and marketing works and how to adapt it to the Indian market. ReadyContacts is one of the few in the list building and profiling space that can service the Indian market with a local team, and there are few others who can do appointment setting as well.) who can do all this much better. If you can strike a performance-driven engagement model with them, then you can ensure a good ROI with your investment.
- Once you have a systematic lead follow-up process, a way to identify new target accounts and decision makers, and a local sales firm, then next step is to get a systematic lead nurturing process in place to reach out and cultivate relationships, follow-up interested leads instantly and repeat the process until you can transition the warm leads over to the field sales team.
- You can scale this process once you have consistent metrics that the process is able to deliver.