In addition to domestic orders, QBSW is also involved in nearshore outsourcing. We talked to sales and marketing director Peter Augustinič about the ways the company cooperates with foreign clients.
How does QBSW secure international contracts?
There are two ways. The first is our own existing network of contacts and external partners or customers that recommend us to others. It is essential for a successful business team to have a wide network of contacts. It is a long-distance run, but it is also rewarding. The second is digital marketing and campaigns. We particularly use LinkedIn as a communication and presentation tool for our company, with links either to our website or directly to our business team. With this type of communication, our previous references that we have processed as case studies play a significant role. The most ideal situation is when real people from our customer base are willing to provide public references.
What types of international clients do you work with?
In terms of focusing on a sector, we are truly versatile. We understand finance, banking, insurance, energy, and even the telecommunications sector. We also enjoy learning new things and participating in innovations, and if we are technologically strong in the domain concerned, we are also ready to gain business knowledge and deliver a successful project. Today we are in discussions about projects with our potential and existing customers in the pharmaceutical industry, telemedicine, pension funds, e-commerce, and the entertainment industry (on-line casinos).
Where are your international clients located?
Currently, for example, we are working on a project in the Czech Republic for a client from the insurance sector, a subsidiary of the Austrian Vienna Insurance Group. We have two customers in Finland. One of them is a large bank, for which we help to develop new modules of their core banking system. The second is an innovative Finnish technology corporation, TIETO, whom we are helping with a global cloud project. We recently completed a large project with this customer for two of its clients in the energy sector in Sweden, one of which was EON. Our most recent customer is Lampiris, a Belgian energy company, which falls under the wing of the French giant TOTAL. And we recently completed a long-term project for a customer in the Republic of Serbia. In the future, we would like to focus mainly on customers within the European Union.
What does a partnership typically look like?
Before starting a project, there is a phase of talks that lasts 3 to 9 months, discussions and an alignment of mutual expectations with our potential customer. We take over primarily the technological and design aspects of our future project. Due to the fact that we deliver services exclusively from Slovakia, it is important to build trust with the potential customer’s key staff. As negotiations wind up, the future customer will often come to Slovakia for a few days to take a look at how our company operates. Our projects typically start with our key people spending 2 to 4 weeks at the customer’s place of business. This phase is the most critical for the successful start of the partnership. Everything must click down to the last detail, including interpersonal chemistry on both sides. If everything goes well, the real project and hard work begin in order to deliver the desired results.
What challenges do you encounter the most when working?
By far our biggest challenge is to attract our potential client or the key staff in the company. We must demonstrate our added value and show them the reason they should work with us. The second step is to gain their trust and break through any barriers. To prove to them that they can fully rely on us and that we will help them achieve their business objectives. If we can do that, it always results in a successful project. So far, we have been quite successful in doing that.