Dubai Post 66: Last Trip to Saudi?

Once I realized this was my last possible trip to Saudi,
I started to take a few random photos.  This is what the side
of the road typically looks like.   Easy to get around right?
Last night I returned home from a two day trip in Saudi Arabia.  It very well could have been my last trip to Saudi during my stint in Dubai.  I concluded that it could be the last time I ever step foot in that country in my lifetime.  I won’t be running back any time soon for a leisure vacation and who knows if I will ever go back for business.  It is probably the only country, with the exception of Oman that I can say this about.

For the most part, majority of the trials are winding down in Saudi Arabia.  We have moved onto the proposal/contract negotiation step.  The problem with this step is it can be the longest depending on the client we are working with.  For instance, one client is an investment management shop attached to a bank.  The bank requires a number of procedures before a contract can be signed even though both parties might agree on the terms.

American fast food chains are common not only in the UAE
but also in Saudi.  Can you guess what this one is?
Our concerns are no longer whether the clients will like FactSet or if it will be useful to them.  The two clients in Saudi that I have been working with the most have already expressed their interest in purchasing FactSet.  This is great because the client is happy with the workstation.  However, as I explained before, this does not make it a done deal.  The last factor is cost.   

This can be quite frustrating because this is the point where it is pretty much out of my/our hands.  We have clients in higher-up positions going to bat for us with executive management but that does not guarantee us a deal.  Budget constraints and revenue figures not being met are some challenges that some of our prospective clients are facing.   With these types of challenges, the lowest costing workstation still might not be "cheap enough" for a client.

Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) is the largest company in
the GCC region.   Above is SABIC's headquarters and is
a sight I always pass on the way to the airport. 
Even with all of these speed bumps, we believe that our proposals are favorable.  It might no be the exact deal we hoped for but we are getting our foot in the door.  That is the most important aspect of the Saudi market because it is mainly an untapped market.  So many potential clients have not yet been infiltrated by our industry and they are all ripe for the picking. Getting just a few deals signed is huge.   Not only will it increase our footprint in region but also lead to organic growth with the existing clients. So for me, the fact that the clients like our product and are presenting it to their boards is a small victory in our books.  Yet in the end, it is all about getting the pen on the paper. 


Saudi license plate. 


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