Sales scaling is always a challenge, and it’s even tougher for companies expanding into international markets. But it’s a must for long-term growth. The United States accounts for less than a quarter of the world economy, so there are massive hyper-growth opportunities beyond its borders.
I led the global scaling efforts at Dyn (acquired by Oracle), where we opened a U.K. office and hired an international sales and go-to-market leader, and at York IE I advise clients and portfolio companies on their expansion plans. In this post I’ll share some lessons learned and best practices for international sales scaling.
Lay the Sales Scaling Foundation
Before you even consider international scaling, you need to nail your domestic GTM and sales strategy and execution.
You can’t successfully scale at all, let alone globally, until you know the answers to these questions:
- What segments, verticals and personas do you sell to?
- Can you clearly articulate your use cases and value proposition to each in a compelling way?
Once you can confidently answer these questions, it’s time to put your strategy into motion. Put company-wide policies and processes in place to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal and to ensure sales success.
GTM and Sales Playbooks
Download the GTM and sales playbooks from York IE Fuel and start scaling today.
This is also the time to start laying the groundwork for future international sales scaling. Sell from your core office, but build a global top of funnel from day one, since you can’t control where your inbound leads come from, anyway. As you continue to sell globally, begin to tailor your motion to specific regions.
Over time, follow your international sales data. It will lead you to new opportunities, new areas of demand and eventually new client bases in new countries.
How to Enter an International Market
Once the data has helped you identify a new region for potential expansion, only then is it time to send a GTM leader to survey the playing field. Make sure there is a viable market!
“Market” in this case means more than just “customers willing to buy your product.” Is there a skilled talent pool for you to hire from? Is there an active events scene, where your company can get exposure and your executives can network? Much like your product needs to find the right market fit, your entire company needs to find the right fit for international scaling.
After you’ve found the right fit, find trusted partners that can help you navigate your new market’s unique rules and regulations around taxes, compliance and other legal issues. A human resources partner that can help with recruiting and hiring is invaluable, as well.
Your first hire should be a sales leader who can copy your playbook and customize it to best fit the local culture. Successful messaging and sales pitches in one country may not work in another, or the accepted length of sales cycles may be different, and you need someone who’s intimately familiar with these customs.
From there, solidify this foundation. Integrate your systems and processes globally, along with consistent training and enablement.
No matter how big your international scaling gets, you always need everyone to be on the same page.