Sector trends

How Zenzero is fostering growth

In conversation with CEO Michael Bateman, we learn how an absolute focus on growth is yielding results for this UK tech scale-up.

A clear strategic plan for growth

The business has an exciting phase of development in motion this year alongside a clear strategic plan of M&A and organic growth.

We asked Michael how he is fostering and measuring growth at Zenzero. He says the growth strategy revolves around three key areas: People, service, and innovating with technology, and he’s intent on building a business that is fit for the future in a meaningful way.

Growth at Zenzero – the key drivers

“The Zenzero team of 450 people support over 1,000 UK clients. People are important and each of them drive organic and acquisitive growth.We track the people side of our business really carefully through Employee Net Promoter Scores, internal moves and promotions, training and certifications, plus industry recognition from analysists such as Megabuyte, and especially from Microsoft as we're a Microsoft partner.

“We make sure we’re at the forefront of technology for our customers. We measure that in terms of new products and services, as well as things like automation: how are we supercharging our capabilities in machine learning and large language models,? We  use Microsoft Copilot for 365 and Copilot Studio, but we are also piecing together a range of other AI tools that we think can help us deliver excellent service at scale.”

“And we stay absolutely focused on growth – is our message resonating, are our marketing campaigns getting us in front of the right people for organic growth? We’ve borrowed some B2C approaches and applied those to B2B sales, and for us the quality of our revenue is hugely important, and that being focussed on recurring managed service delivery, rather than re-selling and licencing, is a key part of the value we are building.

“Some of the things we do around demand generation, lead generation, social content, and automation you would tend to see in consumer-facing businesses. There’s lots of ways you can make sure you’re getting the right message to the right person at the right time without alienating your existing customers. And you don’t have to spend a huge amount when you have people who know what they’re doing in this space.

“And we pursue high-quality acquisitions, based on established relationships, with the correct revenue mix, so we can build a cohesive and integrated unit for the future: one team, one mission,” says Michael.

Building a future fit strategy

“I hope I'm still doing this in 10 or 15-years’ time. I want to be building something that is fit for the future. I can't meaningfully stand up in front of our team – who might have stayed with us for a very long time or at the start of their careers - and talk about the future of Zenzero without talking about ESG, or supply chains, or how we're being a good employer.

“Around two years ago we set out to get the B Corp certification. The rigour and thought process was challenging, but it helped us lean in and embrace positive change, to galvanise people in terms of the planet as well as building a business that can still be here in 10 or 20 years.

“It's important that we know how to be a good employer in all the places we employ people, whether that’s in South Africa, Australia, Dubai, or the UK. That doesn't mean being the same - it means understanding the differences and doing something about them.”

Managing M&A alongside organic growth

“We are targeted about acquisition. Some businesses in our sector try and do six, seven, sometimes 10 deals a year. I think there's a natural limit on how many acquisitions you can do a year and do well. We like to build good relationships with the sellers - I think the shortest time I've known a seller is six months, and the longest 20 to 30 months.

“We make sure we have one cohesive team, one mission, one set of systems, one set of career pathways. It would be mad of us to jeopardise either our people or our clients through an acquisition. It's a sure-fire way hit to destroy value.”

The opportunities of AI

“AI presents a massive opportunity, not just for technology businesses but for all businesses. Our job is to make sure customers or potential clients understand what that could be, and what the risks are.

“As a tech business we can turn on a lot of these tools internally quickly in a managed way. But for customers, those tasks around understanding data, classifying data, securing data – they can be a challenge. And although the tools are maturing, they're not mature yet.

“I think they’ll be there very soon, within quarters as opposed to years, which is exciting.”

We’re delighted to be the banking partner for Zenzero as it’s exactly the type of firm we look to support early in the high growth journey. These firms are so important for the future UK economy - being productive, innovative, internationally focused, diverse and, as we’ve highlighted, good corporate citizens too.

Neil Bellamy
Head of Technology, Media & Communications

Find more insight and practical tips on the UK’s thriving tech sector, including information on our partnership with Megabuyte.

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