There’s never been a better time to invest in international expansion.

As COVID-19 continues to have an impact on the world, companies are able to expand globally and not put all their eggs in one basket.

But international markets are difficult to enter. It takes careful planning, the right people, and good timing.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following:Ā 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. šŸ˜€

Elements of Successful Global Sales Expansion

“Be quick but don’t hurry” – John Wooden

The key to success with global expansion is taking advantage of the right opportunities at the right time.

If you are seeing additional demand from a particular region, don’t miss out on the opportunity to capitalize and take advantage of that interest.

But before you start, think about four keys to success when expanding globally.

Make Investments Across the Board, and Make a Plan for the Resources You Have

One of the most important things to global expansion is a strong partner in all functions and commitment from everyone.

The first step in entering a new market is to create an actionable cross-functional, go-to-market strategy. Gain agreement from everyone involved on the current state of the market, product features and benefits, marketing plan for customer acquisition or retention rates depending on your business model (retailer vs. wholesaler), timeline for success metricsgoals set by management team.

How-to:

In order to expand, we will need a leader for each function. We’ll go into more detail on choosing the right leaders in the next section.

Once you have leaders in place, compile a list of all the elements that need to be completed for launch and long-term success. Ask your leaders what resources they’ll need (for example: money) and do research on the new region before making any decisions about operating there.

The checklist will be divided among the team members and they’ll get to work.

One of the most important things to do is make sure you are checking in with your employees regularly.

Be honest with your sales reps about what the company is willing to invest in their training.

It takes a lot of time to figure out all the things that you need, such as data centers and compliance.

When it comes to the hiring process, transparency is important. Make sure you have a list of expectations for your salesperson and keep them updated on when investments are likely to come through so they can adjust their performance accordingly.

The hard questions:

No plan is without its faults, and it’s important to ask yourself some hard questions when you have a new sales expansion in mind.

How many customers will you gain with the product and resources that you already have?

What if you have a plan but it doesn’t work out?

What are you doing to help your team adjust their hours in order to support the needs of all employees, no matter where they live?

The more upfront you are with your employees, the better prepared they’ll be to handle any problems that come their way.

Hire the Right Leaders

To be the first in a new country, you need to have excellent skills at generating pipeline and demand.

When you are telling the expansion leader about what is currently available, make sure to mention what will not be available.

They will be spending a lot of time doing business development activities. They have to travel a lot, and they can’t meet with customers as much

If you’re not looking to hire diverse candidates, be honest with them at the start of your recruitment process. Let them make an informed decision.

It’s important to figure out if you want to hire locally or promote from within when looking for new talent.

Hiring from the area is a great way to test out new markets. But, if you’re going to hire locally, it may be best for them to have an additional territory assigned.

How to:

Ask your friends, family members, and previous colleagues to point you towards the best candidates who can work independently.

As a result of the large number of layoffs in technology, there are plenty opportunities to help former colleagues and find otherwise unavailable talent.

International experience can be a defining moment in someone’s career. But it’s important to keep an open mind when hiring, because you might miss out on other great talent who doesn’t have the international experience if they don’t meet that one criterion.

Competency-based interview questions will help you look for the qualities of a good employee, such as independence and self discipline.

I’ve found that hiring two salespeople is helpful when entering new markets. By having more than one person, I can figure out what works or doesn’t work faster.

The first technical sales hire is crucial, and investing in two reps can help you figure out the market. If only one rep is struggling, it’s likely either they’re not cut out for this job or your process needs improvement. But if both are struggling then there might be something wrong with the market.

The hard question:

One of the big questions you’ll need to answer is this: for someone who has never done any sales before, what would be a good first base pay?

One of the most important questions you can ask yourself when hiring is “is this a talent problem or market problem?”

It’s a good idea to have a backup plan if you can’t hire two reps at once. This could mean hiring someone and testing them out in an established market or setting up more detailed check-ins early on.

Have a Solid Ramp Plan

One of the most important aspects about sales is getting new reps ramped up to full speed.

When COVID hit, many companies had to alter their hiring process because of the sudden change.

To keep the team productive, we’ve had to increase our training programs because it’s now all virtual.

The ramp-up process is designed to create a sense of belonging for new employees, and get them used to working with their virtual team.

How to:

Make sure to have a sales checklist for new hires, provide self-paced content that they can learn from, and then assess them with live role plays or knowledge checks.

When onboarding virtually, it’s important to know which content is most impactful when delivered live. Once you’ve determined this, focus on that.

One way to do this is by asking current salespeople what they found most helpful during the onboarding process. This could include sales methodology, pipeline generation, product content or a roadmap discussion.

It’s also important to include new hires in live or recorded sales calls, and get their feedback on what they thought of the call. You can’t expect them to be fully prepared if you don’t give them a chance.

If you want to make sure your new hires are getting the most out of their onboarding experience, consider checking in with them more often.

When new employees are onboarded, you should evaluate KPIs like activities, pipeline generation and progression. These lead indicators can indicate how well they’re adjusting to the company.

The hard questions:

When you’re hiring new people, especially if they are pioneering a new region, it’s possible that they will struggle.

What will you do if the pipeline in a region isn’t great?

Which resources can you use to help the seller?

How will the new logos be successful in their region?

If you have a struggling salesperson, make sure to know what’s going on and how to help them succeed.

Support Your Reps on the Ground

It’s important to stay in touch with your new team on a regular basis.

We have been providing frequent check-ins and training sessions for all customer facing employees in the region to keep them connected with one another. We also want them to know about any new marketing activity, how they are doing on their KPIs, and what updates we have made.

We also work to ensure that new, local hires are constantly getting the support they need by creating mentor relationships between existing successful reps.

How to:

If you want to support new reps in a region, it’s not enough just to share recordings of local meetings. You need to do more than that and track against your initial KPIs.

After the initial launch, we revisited our RACI and included things that were more important for this region.

Include sales leadership in cross-functional teams to evaluate how often they check in with employees.

Make sure the local team gets weekly contact from different functions at HQ.

We have a weekly meeting with the Asia Pacific sales team in which we discuss US and EMEA calls, as well as other meetings that rotate time zones.

The hard questions:

Before you launch into a new region, ask yourself these questions:

What resources do you need from your current team to support the new market?

If you make a mistake, what will your plan be?

Listen to the reps in your region and be ready to adjust how much support you’re giving them.

Expansion is a Marathon

I have to be smart about my global expansion. I need good planning, hard work and a little bit of luck.

It can be a lot of work to implement, but the rewards are well worth it. Diversity is an important part in any workplace and can help inject energy into your company.

Don’t expect success in a short period. Like with running, you need to prepare for your marathon before starting the race.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following:Ā 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. šŸ˜€
Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? Iā€™d love to hear from you!

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.