China is a growing economic market, full of potential. It has the world’s second largest economy and a population of 1.4 billion. If you’re looking to expand your business, it’s an attractive market to consider.
But the Chinese market isn’t one you can just run into, it’s a vastly different culture and language. Understanding the market and respecting their culture is key to business success. Research online only goes so far, advice from experienced consultants who can educate and develop your team takes you further.
Red Circle Network helps global brands engage with Chinese audiences in the West and in Mainland China. Their clients include New Zealand’s All Blacks Rugby Team and BestStart Educare, New Zealand’s largest childcare education business. They previously helped global brands like Heineken and McDonalds.
Their leadership team is based in Auckland, New Zealand; Perth, Australia and Los Angeles, US, so they use the latest technology to work as one and deliver a stellar customer experience.
Together they’ve developed programs to take the pain out of expanding into China. They educate and train on the digital pathways that help companies enter the market successfully and scale up quickly.
We caught up with Simon Young, Director of Global Operations, New Zealand; Glyn MacLean, Managing Director based in Perth, and Adrienne Kohler, Regional Director, North America, to hear about their fascinating work and how technology helps them create real value for their clients.
It was back in 2012 when Red Circle Network invested in Capsule. Since then Simon admits to becoming addicted to custom fields, a feature in Capsule that allows you to add additional information to each contact record to segment and report on.
“It’s simple and yet we can customize too. There is so much to be done with custom fields. It’s rare to find something that you can tweak so much without getting confused and tied up.”
Glyn fell in love with Capsule’s simplicity, along with the great user experience and automated workflows. He’s been an advocate for Capsule ever since, using it to research clients and manage the whole lead to sales process.
Adrienne, who is fast becoming a Capsule superuser, explains how Capsule’s ease of use has had a significant impact on the business.
“Thanks to Capsule, we can identify, rank, and then prioritize channel referral partners. By quickly adding financial opportunities, we assign both qualitative referral reach and quantitative dollar values to each Channel partner. We were able to add all of this in a single remote session. With Capsule being so simple and quick, it has given us reach to over 1 million US businesses that want help with China.”
With the team based across four countries and clients all over the world, Glyn has carefully selected a suite of apps to help drive efficiencies and deliver real value to their clients. When collaborating across continents, Glyn’s advice is clear:
“Hop on an App, not on a plane”
People buy from people, and if you’re working across countries through virtual channels, it’s important to see and understand the person before you meet.
Simon, who is fluent in Mandarin, was the face and voice of the 2017 New Zealand election campaign for the local Chinese community. He has a following of over 20,000 people on WeChat (China’s social media platform) and knows what it takes to flourish on social media and in business.
“Capsule is good for research when you’re exploring a new client opportunity. You can connect up the key players and little features like pulling in a photo from social media is really useful. Seeing a person’s face when you work virtually helps build trust and empathy quickly. It’s so important. I always know exactly who I am talking to. Even seeing their logo while we research, is an effective way to emotionally engage with their work.”
The research piece is key to Red Circle Network’s success. They’re focused on adding value to clients who are serious about building long term relationships in China. They seek to understand their KPIs, key milestones and all that makes them tick before they meet.
They build partnerships with their clients and Capsule is core to this process. Every piece of research along with every interaction is recorded in Capsule. This gives each member of the team, in any country, a complete overview of the customer before they meet.
With all this information at their fingertips, they provide a seamless client experience that builds trust and loyalty.
“We are called a network, our business is built on great connections. We research a client to get finely tuned to their brand so when we meet to discuss our proposal, we know as much about their company as they do. It shows we’re serious about adding value to their business.”
Another big challenge for Glyn, is keeping on top of his client’s staff turnover - one client had three changes of personnel in 12 months.
It could be a full-time job keeping contact details up to date but instead, he invests in tech to do the work for him.
Most of their clients have a WeChat account. As it’s used for social media and payments people tend to keep it up to date more than anything else. Using PieSync, Capsule and WeChat link together through a simple automated connection with Microsoft Exchange. Every time a person updates their WeChat account, the new information appears in Capsule and Microsoft Exchange. Capsule then updates MailChimp for email campaigns.
Keeping contacts up to date has a commercial benefit too. When they see a client has moved to another business, they become an opportunity which is nurtured and tracked in Capsule.
The team are currently working on big strategic partnerships, using Capsule throughout the whole process and it just makes life easier.
“It things like when you initiate a call from Capsule and it pops up to ask if you if you want to take notes. That’s cool!”
And it’s not just the features in Capsule that have helped the team over the years. Simon recalls how our responsive our support team were when he needed help in China.
“I needed to decouple Google from my account so I could log in while I was in China. You did it straight away and it saved me a lot of headaches!”
With so much planned for the future, the team rely on great tech that’s easy to use and they put Capsule at the heart of that suite.
“I think Capsule is a great company, it’s nice to see good people support SMEs on the rise. We’d like to celebrate how Capsule has helped us by offering all Capsule subscribers a whopping great 30% discount off any WeChat for Business training (1on1 or Group) product. Simply use the code CAPSULE30 here until 30 September.“
Glyn and Simon also offer a free Value Discovery Discussion at Red Circle Network, if you’re thinking about expanding to the Chinese market, or to the local Chinese community.