Boots On The Ground

Boots On The Ground

Date PublishedMay 26, 2016
CompanyRainmaker Global Business Development
Article AuthorZac Bolan
Article TypeMay 2016 Issue
CategoryArticles, Business
Tags, , ,
PULSE Interactive

Boots On The Ground

Boots on the ground

Rain·mak·er [NOUN]
A Rainmaker is a person who brings in new business and wins new accounts almost by magic, since it is often not readily apparent how this new business activity is caused.

Global markets are closer than you think,” reveals Clark Grue, President and CEO of Rainmaker Global Business Development. “And, there are other ways to grow your business when local conditions are tough. Many foreign markets are not experiencing the same downturn. We identify and qualify these for our clients.”

In 2007, Grue, together with co-founders Lois Mitchell and Tim Kozmyk, recognized the need for a service to accelerate market development for companies coming to do business in the Alberta oil patch. That provided the impetus for the creation of Rainmaker GBD and a head office and business centre in downtown Calgary.

Rainmaker provides both inbound market development for foreign companies wanting to expand into Alberta and out-bound services for local companies looking to move into new markets. To achieve this, the company has an impressive international footprint having opened offices in the UK, Houston, Dubai, New York, Toronto, Bogota, Vienna, and most recently Mexico.


Prior to Rainmaker,
Grue gained extensive international experience dating
back to the late 90s when he worked for a company providing
satellite communications services to Canadian mining interests located in Africa.

“We helped the mining companies move data from Africa back to Toronto so they could report to the exchange,” explains Grue. “My role was to deal with people and businesses in a very different part of the world. I had to learn how to communicate, transact, move data, and provide technical support while working within the environment of African culture.”

“Later, I moved to Calgary and helped the British government set up a trade investment office to help UK companies do business here,” continues Grue. “Even though Alberta had all the trappings of a great market for many of these companies, some were failing and couldn’t figure out why.”

Grue next took a VP role at Calgary Economic Development to provide the same service to global businesses and found they had similar problems integrating. That gave him the insight to create Rainmaker as a concierge service to consult and provide support to foreign companies, which enables them to effectively come into this market.

“The funny thing is, for the first eight years of Rainmaker, most of our client activity in Alberta was inbound,” reveals Grue. “Now, much of our activity is outbound as we bring Canadian oil and gas expertise to the world.”

“Rainmaker is an Alberta company with global reach in the energy industry,” explains Grue. “Think of us as an accelerator to develop a company’s markets globally, because that’s really what we are. Rainmaker
has energy industry professionals in North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East.
People with 15 to 30 years’ oil and gas experience in senior positions.”

“We have boots on the ground internationally assisting
companies to analyze and penetrate these markets, which is really key,”
continues Grue. “We go beyond market reports to tap our local experts in each
of our markets to determine the market fit for our clients. At Rainmaker, this boutique strategic
and targeted consulting support is what gives companies a market advantage, which saves them time and money.”











“We’ve got a different scenario in the Alberta oil patch now,” explains Grue. “For the time
being, things have

slowed. Great local companies
that have been doing very well selling in this
market for more than 20 years are facing rough times

and asking tough questions. How do we keep people employed? How do we keep enough work coming in the door to survive and grow? My answer to that is to get into a new market!”

“We can help regional companies export their knowledge to global markets where it’s really needed,” says Grue. “Canadian businesses often just think of themselves as exporting products, materials, fabricated goods. But, what Canadians really export is our expertise, our engineering, our know-how. That’s really what we’re great at.”

“For example, there’s welders and fabricators everyplace in the world,” Grue continues, “but the way we do it, because of what we know, is our unique selling proposition. Our practical knowledge, top safety record, and regulated processes mean Alberta companies are not only great at home but world class. Our job is to blast the horn on their behalf.”Boots-on-the-ground

According to Grue, Rainmaker’s role is to get out in front of the right people at the right place and time to connect them with their clients. But, he pointed out not every local company will be ready to enter the international market at the outset.


Rainmaker follows a stringent process to ensure their clients succeed when entering a new market. The first step is to identify the opportunities through extensive research and engagement with decision-makers
and influencers in the
target region.

“As we engage the market, we compile information from strategic data sources to make sure there’s an opportunity for our client,” explains Grue. “It’s important to recognize that a company’s value proposition determines what market they should be in. We help with that.”

“We often hear our clients proclaim, ‘Mexico is the hot market, China is the hot market, Dubai is the hot market,’ but what they don’t realize is that it’s not necessarily the right market for their company. To be successful in a new market, a company needs to clearly identify their value proposition, determine if the market wants what they have to offer, and is willing to pay for it.”

“We then look at our client’s value proposition and help them to refine and reconfigure their offering to meet the need starting the process of designing their approach to that market. Canadian companies often think that just because they’ve been successful with their product here they can just sell the same thing in Texas for example. Then, they find the market in Texas wants something more. The Canadian company might have to team with one of their supply chain partners or even a competitor and extend their value proposition to actually break a market.”

Rainmaker follows a stringent process
to ensure their clients
succeed when entering a new market.

Once the opportunity has been identified and the Rainmaker client has designed their value proposition to succeed, they are ready to launch into the new market. At that point, Rainmaker consultants transfer the relationship capital they’ve built in that market to their client.

“Once we’ve understood the fit, we help determine the best method for our client to get into that market,” Grue continues. “The best path might be a joint venture, an acquisition, or a green field approach. Or, it could be as simple as finding a sales representative. No two companies are going to follow the same path.”

“The most critical step is accelerating your company’s growth in that new market,” Grue explains. “Once you sign that first contract, before the ink is dry, you need to start looking for the second project, then third, and fourth to really get established. Don’t bother trying to get into 15 markets. Just go to one of them and get out in front of the opportunities.”Boots On The Ground

“At Rainmaker, we coach our clients through building a revenue stream in the new market,” says Grue. “We’re talking to that market while preparing the ground ahead, so our clients can plant their value proposition and see it grow.”

“Mexico should be on the radar for Alberta
companies, because new changes in the Mexican
constitution allow foreign ownership of oil production”


Sharpening their focus on emerging global markets for Alberta oil and gas know-how, Rainmaker opened a Mexico office earlier this year. Gabriel Parrodi, Rainmaker’s Managing Director in Mexico, is closely tied into the local oil and gas industry.

“Mexico should be on the radar for Alberta companies, because new changes in the Mexican constitution allow foreign ownership of oil production,” explains Grue. “This opens up a whole new opportunity for inbound Canadian companies in Mexico. By the way, Mexican regulators adopted much of Alberta’s  regulatory systems for their oil industry giving our companies an edge in this market.”

“That brings top level foreign investors to Mexico that want to use high level technology and supply chain service providers to develop that oil,” Grue continues. “And, Mexico wants innovative companies coming in to do that business.”

“We’re already looking at various Canadian suppliers and automation companies to work on Mexican pipelines, power stations, and so on, because there’s a lot of activity in the region right now,” says Grue. That being said, for many Canadian companies, the best way to look at Mexico is from Houston, because the Mexico and Texas marketplaces are closely intertwined. You might find some potential partners in Houston that are already in Mexico.


“I’m not sure I’ve got an answer on that,” confides Grue. “But, oddly enough, I’m quite bullish on Argentina. Their economy has been closed for 12 years and has just recently opened up under new leadership. They want to engage on many, many fronts. Argentina’s oil and gas industry is now opening up to outside investment and outside technology.

For a company that has launched a new international office or business centre nearly every year they’ve been in business, the next logical question should be where to next?

“Also, Australia is a very unique market with enormous opportunities in natural gas. They need to produce 6,000 wells in the next five years to feed the LNG facilities they’re building to ship natural gas to China, which is a huge market for them.”

“But, regardless of where we go next, getting strategic market intelligence gives our clients a chance to adjust their value proposition and get to sales in that market as effectively and efficiently as possible,” summarizes Grue. “At the end of the day, we have an end game for our clients, and that’s business success wherever it takes us.”







Originally published in the 

May 2016 Issue of Oilfield PULSE