“At Visma, we see potential to double our sales velocity. Normally, a customer’s decision-making process related to new retail software purchases lasts anywhere from 18 to 36 months. However, the involvement of Export Credit Norway has shown that the period can be halved, since a good loan offer is easier to agree to. Financing like this makes us more efficient, and allows us to win new customers more quickly,” says Sven Arnquist, Visma Retail’s Vice President International Sales.
Earlier this year, Visma signed a contract with Export Credit Norway and GIEK linked to an agreement with UK-based A.F. Blakemore, which owns and operates 295 Spar stores and is the wholesaler for a further 780 Spar stores across England and Wales.
Our customers consider it an absolute advantage.
Sven Arnquist, Visma Retail.
The comprehensive contract provides for modernisation of A.F. Blakemore’s technological platform, with Visma acting as a full-service supplier of IT solutions. Visma Retail offers a wide range of complete front and back-office solutions, including systems for cash registers, store management, e-trading and warehouse management. Export Credit Norway’s involvement makes things easier for the customer.
“Cooperation with Export Credit Norway and GIEK has allowed us to simplify our sales initiatives targeting international customers. Our customers consider it an absolute advantage to be able to finance important investments in this way,” says Arnquist.
“Having an agreement with Export Credit Norway makes things easier for our customers. It represents an additional stamp of approval, and feels like a good match for Visma,” says Sven Arnquist, Vice President International Sales at Visma Retail.
“I have spoken with businesses that did not know of this option for ICT firms,” says Thor-Magne Johansen, Vice President, Industry and Clean Technologies at Export Credit Norway.
He relates that exporters often believe that Export Credit Norway only finances capital goods such as equipment for renewable energy and oil and gas projects, ships and ship equipment. Not everyone is aware that export financing is also available for Norwegian hardware and software exports.
“Visma has used us actively in this process. They have a product that is a great match for the right segments. There are many exciting opportunities for which it would be difficult to secure commercial bank backing,” he says.
“The wow effect is that cooperation has enabled us to identify a segment that has not been explored previously, either by us or by Export Credit Norway. The breakthrough is that European sales of a Norwegian software product have been increased with financing from Export Credit Norway,” says Arnquist.
In his view, Norwegian ICT business have greater international growth potential than many believe. Johansen would encourage more firms to contact Export Credit Norway to discuss available opportunities.
“Even if we cannot become involved directly, we can advise on options for international expansion,” says Johansen.
Results are being achieved
Arnquist relates that Visma now plans to expand further in the UK and other European countries.
“My aim is to identify new customers in collaboration with Export Credit Norway. I believe that we have a bright future. Considerable opportunities beckon in other countries,” he says.
“Having an agreement with Export Credit Norway makes things easier for our customers. It represents an additional stamp of approval, and feels like a good match for Visma.”