Marque Magnetics are no stranger to export. Established in 1986, they already had operations in New Zealand and China with established export markets in Australia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Switzerland for their custom magnetics and electrical transformers. But things weren’t moving fast enough, says Managing Director Paul Cook.
“We’re heavily reliant on leads,” Paul explains. “We sit across a number of different industries, and quite often we don’t know where our customers are coming from. It can be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. So, we recognised we needed to go into new markets. We had some ideas about which ones we wanted to target, but we needed help building a system to make focused data-driven choices.”
Paul had an existing relationship with Katabolt from his Tegel days and was referred to us through the Regional Business Partner ATEED. Having explored several international markets, Katabolt’s Pathfinder process put Marque Magnetics on the fast track to Germany.
Marque Magnetic sales cycle is 12-18 months and when Paul Cook came on board as the new CEO he recognised that establishing new markets and B2B customers internationally was the key to the company’s continued success.
Their objective was to find 25 more key customers in the next 10 years to meet their growth targets. They also wanted to tackle the long sales cycle. The question they asked was, ‘How could Katabolt help condense the sales cycle by targeting businesses and transition those opportunities to the business development team.’ They wanted Katabolt to work as a bolt on to the business to help speed up the sales cycle of their ideal customers.
Prior to working with Katabolt, a lot of work had been done in-house to create an export strategy and identify the goals they wanted to achieve in the next five years. The Marque Magnetics team approached Katabolt to help them get a clear focus on how to achieve those goals and fast-track their expansion into new international markets.
Through Katabolt’s Pathfinder process, Mike Poynter — Katabolt’s Head of Research — and the research team created assessment criteria to compare potential industries and customers.. Then they set to work researching sectors against that set of criteria.
The Pathfinder process for Marque Magnetics involved business discovery, initial research, and project plan development to help the business understand their position in the market and their value proposition.
“We helped Marque Magnetics to explore where the greatest product-market fit or market-solution match for them might be, both geographically and in terms of which industry might have the best opportunities for them,” says Mike. “It demonstrates our capability to do successful work with very technically sophisticated and complex technology companies.”
From this data-driven approach, the team were able to advise that Germany and Australia were the top markets to explore, particularly the agriculture and traffic systems industries.
“In the end, we chose agriculture, because it featured high up in the results and we had a lot of experience in the agriculture industry being from New Zealand,” says Paul.
Germany was a market Marque Magnetics was considering, however they planned to investigate it further down the track. Paul explains the business knew a higher-value market, like Germany, was where they needed to be, but it wasn’t until they went through the process with Katabolt that it really came to the forefront of the business plan.
“There are certain markets that have design engineering and electronic engineering design capability, and they tend to be the higher-value markets — Germany, France, Italy, even the United States. We knew we needed to target high-value western markets but it wasn’t until we had gone through the process that we were like, ‘OK, let’s do Germany then.’”
Katabolt presented Marque Magnetics with a collection of potential customers to approach, and also connected them with a potential partner in the German market. From there it was all about putting the pedal to the metal.
“With a lot of the companies we will be talking to we’ll only get one, maybe two opportunities to connect with them,” explains Paul. “For us, it’s not necessarily about going in and making a sale today, it’s more about the upcoming project work that we want to make sure we are on the ledger for.”
Katabolt’s research was a pivotal factor in fast-tracking Marque Magnetics entrance into the German market. As Paul says, “It’s expensive to get on flights and talk to people, so getting that focus down to fewer people makes a lot of sense. It helps with the investments we made.”
Katabolt’s Pathfinder process showed the export potential for Marque Magnetics’ custom magnetics and electrical transformers in Germany. Marque Magnetics is now in the process of refining their approach and marketing collateral, as well as working on the cultural piece of the puzzle to ensure they put their best foot forward when they enter the German market.