Singapore offers fantastic opportunities for those in the B2B sector. This vibrant and advanced nation has a potential for foreign companies in practically every sector, and the World Bank currently rates it as the second easiest country to do business in the world.
Despite the nation's secure position, many businesses in Singapore are still cautious in their approach, particularly when it comes to foreign companies. You need to do your research before targeting these businesses in order to have a better chance at engaging them, and this is why business intelligence should be a key part of your strategy.
Whether you're considering expansion into Singapore, or are looking at setting up a whole new business here, there are plenty of reasons why doing so can be a great choice. As well as being the only country in Asia with an AAA credit rating across all three agencies, it also has the following advantages to offer foreign businesses:
Economy - Singapore is the world's fourth leading financial centre, with an innovative market-based economy. It relies heavily on imports and exports, being the world's 14th biggest exporter and 15th biggest importer.
Gateway to Asia & beyond - Half of the global population is within a six-hour flight, and the country has a fantastic infrastructure with a world-class transport and logistics sector.
Skilled work population - Singapore's labour force are highly skilled and educated, with a strong command of the English language.
Business-friendly regulations - Regulations are clear and effective, with one of the strongest intellectual property protection policies in the world. There's also very little corruption and business-friendly tax codes.
Singapore offers good opportunities for foreign businesses.
In simple terms, Business Intelligence (BI) is simply using tools and methods to make better business decisions. There is now a wide range of tools available to help you gain vital insights from various types of data so that your team are able to make more informed choices that will increase efficiency and drive sales.
Data discovery - Tools that enable the collection and evaluation of new data, as well as applying predictive analysis in order to gain predictions for future sales etc using the data.
Data management - They enable you to standardise your data and keep it clean, as well as extracting and exporting data to specific systems.
Reporting - After the data has been collated and standardised, you can use reporting tools to better understand it and find patterns and anomalies.
Research from Gartner has predicted that the worldwide market for BI will increase by 7% this year, creating revenue of $18 billion, and by 2020 that figure is expected to rise to $23 billion.
Clearly, businesses are realising the value that conducting business intelligence offers them.
Keep ahead of your competitors - Knowledge is most definitely power. Use BI to monitor rivals and learn more about your market.
Combine data - collect and analyse data from different sources, including both internal and external.
Open data - Thanks to the open data revolution, there's now more data freely available than ever before, so you can collect and use data from a wide range of sources with no cost to your business.
Historical analysis - Analyse historical data more efficiently to better inform your current business decisions.
Future projections - Make more accurate projections and predict slumps and spikes.
If you're planning on entering the Singapore B2B market you'll need to build a solid foundation, starting with business intelligence. Thankfully, obtaining quality company insights is now easier due to the opening of Global Database's directory for the region.
Users can now access comprehensive business information for over 1.6 million organisations and professionals in Singapore completely free of charge, with records containing data such as business address, years in operation, industry, employee headcount, sales turnover, and website traffic and sources.
Screenshot of the Global Database platform showing part of the ‘Overview’ page for an example company
The data offered in the Singapore B2B directory has some limitations, but it's completely free to access and use, while still being as accurate and regularly updated as the paid-for alternative; something that's very important considering there were over 62,000 businesses set up in Singapore during 2017.
Having access to detailed data for business intelligence is just the first step; you need to determine exactly how you're going to implement it into your strategy to help grow your business. The company data provided by Global Database can be used in lots of different ways across almost every business department. For example:
Look at details such as how many businesses are in your niche and how they're performing in order to ascertain how saturated the market currently is, or if there's a gap in the market. It's also useful to look at spikes and slumps in sales in order to spot any patterns that could signify a volatile market or one based on seasonal events.
Determine who your ideal buyers are by looking at previous customers or the customers of your competitors, and build buyer persona profiles. You can use the Global Database data to do this by looking for similarities between those customers such as company size, industry, how long they've been in business etc.
You can also segment the market based on the different needs and resources of prospect companies. The platform allows you to do this quickly and easily by applying the numerous filter options to the directory, as is shown below.
Gain a better understanding of your rival companies by finding out their sales revenue, number of employees, and number of website visitors etc. You can also use Global Database to find out what technologies they're using, including distribution channels and advertising methods.
With this data, you can see who your biggest rivals in your niche will be, get inspiration for your own sales and marketing and business development, and spot any weaknesses that you can exploit.
If you're deciding whether to go ahead with a merger or acquisition in Singapore, making an investment or working with a long-term supplier or business partner, you'll probably want to carry out an in-depth background check first. Global Database enables you to get a complete picture of a business by providing financial information, details of any judgements, as well as things like structure and ownership.
Reach out to the right people with direct contact details including phone, fax and email. You can also look at details for each employee such as job title and seniority level, so you can find the best person to contact with authority to make purchase decisions. By looking at the business structure you can also determine how decisions are likely to be made within the company.
Determine whether specific clients are worth targeting by looking at their sales revenue, size, location, industry, website traffic and technologies used. If they don't fit with your buyer persona profiles you can weed them out of your selection, focusing on those prospects who are more likely to convert.
Use the data about each company to craft a highly-personalised approach when starting the sales process. Whether you're targeting a whole segment or one high-value company as part of an account-based marketing campaign, you'll be much more likely to engage them with content tailored to their needs.
As the chart above from Export Britain shows, the overall outlook for Singapore's economy continues to be a positive one. There are a wide range of potential business deals to be done across a number of industries.
The Government's focus on smart cities and desire to become the most technologically advanced country in the world means plenty of opportunities in infrastructure and ICT, with lucrative government contracts up for grabs. Housing and healthcare are other key sectors, with an ageing population requiring more long-term care facilities and a strong focus on R&D in the biomedicine sector.
The nation's prioritisation on skills development and further educations means education is another booming industry, and the large professional and financial services sector also provides opportunities for foreign businesses looking to expand into the region. If you're looking for deals in transport and logistics Singapore is definitely a great choice; not only is the current industry world-class, there are a wide range of initiatives in progress such as the doubling of the MRT, and expansion at Changi airport.
Breaking into any new market can be a challenge, even one as opportunity-filled as Singapore. By using business intelligence to gain a deep understanding of your proposed market, competitors and customers, you'll be able to put together a more realistic business plan and make better, more informed decisions for your company's future long-term.