A new study has highlighted an emerging trend for ‘micro-multinationals’ as companies expand internationally early in their lifecycle.

SMEs are taking advantage of technological advances to achieve global coverage with a reduced physical – and in some cases entirely virtual – presence.

Historically, multinational businesses would have needed a physical presence in each new country or territory they moved into.

Business incubation network Sussex Innovation surveyed and spoke with more than 100 UK-based micro-multinationals for the study, which was conducted on behalf of its member company Natterbox, a global cloud telephony provider.

Micro-multinationals

It found that 73 per cent of the companies surveyed plan to open one or more international offices in the next two years, with technology key to supporting these aggressive expansion plans.

After email, customer relationship management (CRM) tools were one of the most vital technological advances to these companies with 57 per cent already using CRM software and 24 per cent planning to deploy it.

Telephony was ranked equal to CRM – therefore more important that social media – thanks to advances such as integration with CRM systems and the lower cost of liaising with customers using telephony technologies .

Does your telephony system integrate with your CRM?

Micro-multinationals

“Telephony is still considered vital because of the personal experience it delivers to complement other communications channels,” said Neil Hammerton, CEO and co-founder of Natterbox.

“Is it surprising that micro-multinationals continue to place so much emphasis on using the phone?

“Not when you consider that they need to build trusted relationships across so many locations.”