About Volga Trader
Volga Trader has been doing business in Russia since 1994. The initial business was a part time effort run alongside an innovation consultancy, Customer Refocus, also run by our founder. The first direction was to export semiconductor lasers made by the Russian company Inject in Saratov to the rest of the world. We obtained a large share of a small market with long product development cycles.
This continued until 2005. By this time the Dotcom bust meant that the innovation business was not particularly strong. However, helped by high oil prices Russia was becoming a significant importer of foreign goods. Volga Trader had built up a large database of Russian contacts. It was decided to use them to find buyers for foreign goods. A Russian subsidiary was set up with an office and employees in Saratov, a major industrial city. Shortly afterwards we were appointed the in-market consultants for Russia for the Welsh Development Agency. This business continues.
At the end of 2014, the oil price collapsed. Russia was no longer able to pay for imports in abundance. In 2015, various sanctions in both directions were imposed by the EU, the USA and Russia in retaliation for Russian interference in Ukraine the previous year. This was a further blow to the import business, parlticularly from those countries directly involved.
However, the fall in the value of the rouble has also presented opportunities. Russian assets have become greatly undervalued. Sales of Russian farms and factories are now strong and not vulnerable to replacement by imports. Revenues are more certain. Investment in Russia is now a major opportunity. Thus we are realigning the business to include business broking. Private business in Russia is approaching its 30th birthday. Many of our Russian contacts are now ready to sell their businesses and retire. We can generally find suitable acquisition partners for outside investors.
Philip Owen, Director,
Worldwide Sales, Bridgend
Volga Technology and Trading Ltd
UK Mobile +44 7808 211497
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Olga Andrianova, Director
Russian Operations, Saratov
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Volga Trader places a considerable effort on our business process which applies across many industries.
We have a hugely effective resource in our database management system and our subscription to the Russian Customs Service database. We believe that we are unique in the industry in terms of our abilty to extract a useful call list for sales purposes from theis data.
Once the call list has been agreed, the next step is usually appointment setting. To do this, we use an experienced Business to Business telephone contact centre with whom we have worked for many years. They must of course be supported by sales material in Russian and follow up plans for visits and samples (or showing at an exhibition).
Our experienced business consultants, typically former General Managers of a business, can attend the appointments on your behalf and begin negotiations or we can set up arrangements for you to visit. Some preliminary telelconferences with potential clients can help in screening and relationship building.
Beyond this point, the course of the project becomes less predictable as it depends on the industry, the companies involved, locations and so on. Generally there is a sampling phase. Certification may be required. We have processes for managing these issues.
When you are dealing with us, we usually expect to work on the follow through project so the market research to create the Call List will be focused and relevant. We expect to be the ones to use it to deliver the results.
The critical tool is the database. We use several others not just the Customs Service. to address local companies and service industries. Service companies in particular are not easily without some direct research. (call them up).
Trade shows are very effective in Russia. The size of Russia both in geography and population makes it impossible for regular cost effective visits to customer locations unlike most European countries. So everybody goes to the Trade Shows. Once you have some one to meet they are cost effective ways of meeting a dozen (existing) prospects in a couple of days. Nevertheless, the appointment setting described above needs to be done first for an effective result.
Some of our clients are large multinationals who want direct market research. We deliver this through our associate company which has a skilled business to business telemarketing team and a very substantial network of market researchers capable of face to face interviews across the whole of Russia.