Technology Breakfast Event: Changing Distribution Models to Maximise Growth in Financial Markets Software

Published: 7 December 2015

Attracted by a great guest speaker, Martin Boyd, Head of Asset Management Solutions at Sungard, Berwick Partners recently hosted a number of senior and charismatic figures in FinTech Software at our Cannon Street offices.

Martin has a track record of driving global growth, efficiency and optimisation in what has been a highly volatile market in recent years. He shared his journey, emphasising some of the mistakes he has learnt from, which inspired a highly engaging debate as the audience resonated and eagerly contributed with their own experiences.

There were four main takeaways:

  1. Know your strengths. It can be easy to remain in particular international markets for too long, without taking stock of the evolving demands from customers and regions in general. It is crucial to know exactly where your strengths lie, and to have an honest appraisal of what it is you and your company want to achieve.

    It is very easy for software companies to sell all things to all men. This can actually have a negative impact on the viability of your business model, particularly in markets unfamiliar to you.

    The concept of ‘Market Sophistication’ is important to this topic. Ensure your target market is ready for your product, and be prepared to educate your clients.

  2. Distribution channels: Partnering for success.  It is hard to tailor your product to the individual needs of every client in multiple markets. Forming partnerships can provide the solution. This became a core discussion point during the session. The Partner model is extensively used throughout the industry, though it comes with a multitude of risks: One party may end up being marginalised due to the specific elements that they bring to a far broader solution. This can lead to frustration, especially when it comes to dealing with the combined, but separate, motivators of both sales teams involved. Be aware that these kinds of issues usually only ever materialise after the conclusion of a deal.

    Is there a formula for a ‘good’ partnership? The real secret is to ensure that although you have both agreed that it is better to provide a solution together, you both ‘win’ individually.

  3. Learnings from other sectors. An argument can be made that the FinTech sector is lacking a ‘sales ecosystem’, like the SalesForce model. There is some level of inhibition/reluctance in FinTech to share knowledge and details about products with other companies, partly due to the retention of competitive advantage. A collaborative solution is often more appealing to customers. There is however a balance, as in today’s FinTech sector your key client can also be your biggest competitor.

  4. Regulation. Regulation overseas can be a very quick process and can suddenly change the way that business is conducted. This can be very damaging however, particularly when it comes to cloud based services, as legislation can stop data from being transferred from a nation’s jurisdiction. An alternative solution needs to be found.

The underlying component for each of these takeaways is to FOCUS. Stick to your strengths; adapt to different markets, ensure your solution is profitable in that market; choose the most profitable distribution channel and specialise.

This event was run and managed by James Blackwood and Callum Wallace, consultants in the Technology Practice at Berwick Partners, recruiting senior leaders across the Technology Sector.

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