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Bootstrapping from Ukraine: BPMOnline CEO Katherine Kostereva (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Aug 25th 2016

Sramana Mitra: We need to go from 2004 to 2015. In the context of what happened as you were growing within Europe, were you following the customer acquisition strategy using cold calling?

Katherine Kostereva: Yes, for outbound marketing and inbound marketing as well.

Sramana Mitra: Specifically, what marketing strategies worked for you that helped you generate the right leads? Is Russian language software a big deal for your customer base?

Katherine Kostereva: Our primary marketing channel was outbound campaigns.

Sramana Mitra: Outbound campaigns directed towards Russian companies?

Katherine Kostereva: Not just Russian companies. Russian companies and Eastern European companies.

Sramana Mitra: I guess the question that I’m getting to the heart of is, is Russian language software a big deal in your success?

Katherine Kostereva: Yes, it is.

Sramana Mitra: What percentage of your customer base is Russian?

Katherine Kostereva: It’s quite huge. It’s not in my head but it’s a big percentage. In Russia, there are huge enterprises who are BPMOnline customers. For example, the fifth largest search engine in the world is a customer. Yandex is a huge customer for CRM. All CRM-related processes in Yandex are automated by BPMOnline. The other examples are enterprises that are huge in Russia. They are included in Forbes 2000 with tens of thousands of users of BPMOnline. Those enterprises came from Russia and heavily use BPMOnline for different processes.

Sramana Mitra: Your outbound marketing strategy, heavily, targeted these Russian language enterprises that would be buying BPMOnline because of your Russian language specialization in CRM.

Katherine Kostereva: From one side, yes. From the other side, it was the Baltic region. Baltic countries like Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia are also big customers for us. On the other side, countries in the Asian region like Kazakhstan and Arab Emirates. This region is also very big for us.

Sramana Mitra: Is there a language issue there in the Baltic region?

Katherine Kostereva: They all speak Latvian, Lithuanian, or English.

Sramana Mitra: What language software were you selling in that region? Do you have localization?

Katherine Kostereva: If it’s Latvia, we’ll install Latvian. If it’s Lithuania, we install Lithuanian. We have partners in all of these regions from the beginning. They provide us localization.

Sramana Mitra: The whole language-driven differentiation was a big deal in your success in the beginning?

Katherine Kostereva: I would not say so. For example, if we take Microsoft, it has always been very aggressive in this region. It’s a huge player. It’s our big competitor in this region. When we started to penetrate large enterprises like Yandex, Microsoft was doing the same because they had very strong representative offices. They had very strong partners. They localized their system into the Russian language.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Bootstrapping from Ukraine: BPMOnline CEO Katherine Kostereva
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