CEO Global Insights Series

John Sutton, Director of Sales & Partner Development of Dartware, LLC

What trends have you noticed as a result of the current economic situation?

We have seen a couple of new trends as a result of the current economic situation. First, the growth rate in new domestic accounts has decreased. That has made us more reliant on our existing customer base which is very strong, very loyal. During a recession, consumers are more risk-adverse than usual. They stick with what has worked well for them in the past, especially when products are backed by trusted vendor relationships. Second, our interests abroad are playing a more vital role in our business strategy. The percentage of our international sales continues to rise. This is a global recession and each country has been affected but geographically diversifying our sales and marketing investments is making us more resistant to the global recession.

What does the InterMapper software do?

InterMapper, InterMapper Flows, and InterMapper Remote Access create network maps that provide instant, visual reports on overall network performance and health. Network managers can see at a glance where things are working well and where trouble is brewing. The software monitors a number of variables including temperature, traffic, wireless network usage, etc. An IT manager can, for example, monitor the temperature of the server room and receive a cell phone message when it rises above a threshold temperature.

John Sutton, Director of Sales & Partner Development of Dartware, LLC
John Sutton, Director of Sales &
Partner Development of Dartware, LLC

How has the use of internet integrated into your exporting strategy?

The great thing about software is that it can be “shipped” electronically. In theory, it would be very easy for us to sell our product online through our website but there are certain challenges to that as well. In some of our foreign markets such as Japan, customers are more hesitant to purchase a product online. Reluctance to buy online might be related to cultural traditions or concerns about paying the local taxes on the product. We’ve built partnerships with local resellers so to offer our product directly and in person.

What are some of your top markets and what makes them ideal?

The IT sector is growing very quickly in some countries. Our ideal picks are the growing markets that haven’t fully matured yet; networks are rapidly expanding, network management is a critical need, and there are few competitors. Although it is the second largest IT market, Japan’s business climate is mature and highly competitive. Targeting smaller emerging markets such as Turkey, Greece, or Egypt where the industry is growing but is not fully occupied yet, can prove more attractive. Language barriers also play a role in market picks. Canada was our first international market because there’s really no language barrier. As we continue to expand our geographic reach, we’re taking on projects like translating our software into Spanish and Chinese.

How have you dealt with evolving technology?

Success is often tied to innovation. You have to think of new things that will serve the customers better and you have to think of them before anyone else does. Innovation is a big part of our strategy. Having a solid customer base matters just as much, and our strong customer and partner relationships help people trust our innovations. Many of our clients are government agencies and educational institutions. Both those sectors look for innovation that comes from trusted vendors.

Can you talk about one of your recent projects? How has it impacted the company?

We recently partnered with Trango Pakistan, a network and technology service provider, to work on Pakistan’s GSM and WiMAX infrastructures. It’s a great project because Pakistan’s IT sector has shown promising growth over the last several years. The advantage of partnering with another company is that you gain access to a completely new wave of existing customers more quickly than you ever could on your own. Networking through partners in other countries, mutual contacts or even social websites such as LinkedIn can be a good way of connecting with the right people.

What have you learned about exporting and what advice might you give?

I’ve learned that no company is too small to export. International sales have helped Dartware grow from a 3 person startup to a 15 person organization with partners and customers around the world. That’s not to suggest that exporting is easy. You have to do your homework, ask questions of experts and really apply yourself. Also, you’ll need to research competition, taxation, industry law and much more. When you understand those components of each country market, you’ll be able to decide which to target first.

As far as the economic crises goes, I think it is as bad as it’s going to get. I’m hopeful for the future. The important thing is to ride the recession out. Businesses can’t afford to put their head in the sand and wait for it to be over. You have to be aggressive and regroup to accommodate economic realities, whatever they are.