Rules for success when expanding into the Australian energy industry
2018 was, to put it lightly, an exciting year for the Australian energy industry. Between consumer discontent about price increases and a string of shakeups in the political arena, energy providers faced a number of tests, and not all were well-prepared. Here are some things you should know if you’re preparing to enter the market or want to extend your company’s reach in 2019 and beyond.
- Add real value
First and foremost, your company has to be able to lower the cost of energy production in Australia. Lower costs can come in the form of improved efficiencies, shorter lead times, improved health and safety etc. Ultimately if your company is looking to expand in Australia they need to have a very clear understanding of their value proposition.
Local knowledge will help you quickly learn if what you are offering is beneficial to the customer.
As founder and CEO of Powered, Wade Elofson has worked with a number of energy providers in Australia to develop their businesses.
“If you can’t tell your potential Australian clients exactly how you’ll help lower the cost of production in their precise location in three sentences or less, guess what? You probably don’t add any tangible value and you need to do more research,” Mr Elofson said.
“It’s a harsh truth, but if your organisation can’t contribute meaningfully to our energy ecosystem, it’s not likely to succeed here.”
- Empathise with your customer
It’s essential to understand the environment that your chosen customers operate in. How many times have we all heard, ‘Well, that’s not the way we do it where we come from’? That kind of attitude doesn’t work in the Australian energy industry.
What does work is asking a lot of questions. What local regulations do your customers contend with? What specifications do they need to adhere too? What behaviours or actions have they deemed too risky? You need to uncover all of these details and a thousand others before you’ll know if your product or service is relevant to the market.
“Our experience has been that Australian energy companies are very open to new ideas and innovations,” Mr Elofson said.
“Criticisms mostly come from those who grow frustrated when they fail to understand the motivations of their customers and consequently have empty order books.”
- Hone your sales efforts
If you want to intimately understand your customers, you have to choose them carefully.
Who exactly is going to recognise and benefit from your value proposition? If you’re pushing your sales efforts on the wrong customer or the wrong contact within an organisation, you’re wasting your time and money.
“This is really sales 101,” Mr Elofson said. “It’s amazing how often we see service companies needlessly spinning their wheels because they’re taking a shotgun approach to their local sales efforts.”
A far superior strategy is to have people with local intel who know specific companies and the history of the market, and who can help you dial in your customer focus.
- Don’t let up
No matter how good your product or service is, you should be spruiking your value on a daily basis.
“The old adage is, ‘You have to tell someone your message seven times before they understand’. I would add that you have to tell them seven times in a finite period of time,” Mr Elofson said.
“Even great ideas don’t sell themselves. We’ve seen a number of foreign-based companies spend a lot money flying over to Australia on a quarterly basis, only to give up because they haven’t made a sale in their first two years.
“We’ve also witnessed companies do extremely well here in a relatively short period of time because they learned about the market, understood their value add, and made sure that their value was shouted from the rooftops on a daily basis.”
This is the advice Mr Elofson gives to any service companies who contact Powered from overseas.
“Australia is still a great place to do business if you follow these four rules — add true value, focus your sales efforts, get to know your customers, and stay fresh in their minds — do this and you’ll set your energy company up for the greatest chance of success.”
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Wade Elofson on +61 474 128 517.