Building B2B Markets: One Entrepreneur at a Time

Last December I wrote about Building B2B Technology Markets, looking at how to penetrate a market with almost none of the traditional characteristics of a mature technology market? As technology vendors increasingly look to emerging markets as a significant opportunity and source of growth, this question becomes more pressing.  The report explored some of the elements of Cisco’s Country Transformation initiatives in order to identify steps in the process of building market infrastructure:

For example, the report looked at partnering with governments to encourage market-friendly policies and investment in the necessary technology infrastructure to support market development and overall economic growth.  And, from a sales perspective, trade associations provided an alternative channel to reach small and medium businesses in markets where distributors and resellers weren't available.  

But, another element critical to successful market development is the ecosystem of partners developing solutions specific to the particular market, or even just contributing local innovation for new approaches to broader global issues.   Building B2B Technology Markets discussed finding local organizations to act as partners in the market, and even investing in educational initiatives, but missed the next step of how to help create these new local ecosystem partners. 

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Upside-down is right-side up for Telefónica: Latin America shows growth and opportunity

The word for “crisis” in Chinese apparently comes from two roots meaning “risk” and “opportunity” – there is both a downside, and the potential for an upside.  That’s how César Alierta, Telefónica Chairman and CEO, began the opening keynote of their 2010 Leadership Conference in Miami (where I spent several days last week).  For Telefónica, that definition has played out with the global economic crisis.  While results in Spain have been their downside, Latin America has been the opportunity.  Telefónica has a presence in 15 countries in Latin America (and 42 countries worldwide), with offerings in mobile and fixed telephony and in IT services.  Not all offerings are available in all markets but in many countries Telefónica has leveraged a strong position in one offering to expand into the others becoming the first integrated operator in the region. 

According to José Maria Pallete, CEO of Telefónica Latinoamérica, Latin America represents 65-70% of their total customer base, 40% of revenues and about 40% of the operating income. In the enterprise space (as opposed to consumer services), 37% of Telefónica revenue comes from Latin America.  That corporate segment (including public sector) marked double digit growth in Latin America in 2009, with its biggest markets in Brazil and Mexico. 

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