(Updated version of an earlier post.)
In the economic downturn, many companies look longingly at the Far East, Europe, South America, etc. for expansion. They think they may find new sources of revenue and balance out the ups and downs of single countries.
Having once lead sales and marketing for a UK search marketing firm (a light that’s green) that struggled and failed in the USA several times, I’m uniquely qualified to talk about this. The reasons for their continued failures are a lack of planning and preparation.
The essential thing to realize is that international expansion takes military planning and precision.
To hire a local rep and expect him or her to succeed is like air-dropping a single soldier armed with a knife on Normandy Beach. That is not what the Allies did in World War II. They planned the D-Day invasion extensively.
Here are 3 tips you can use.
- Study the area, go visit and network.
Get a feel for the market. Spend some time there.
You need to commission a study of the market — to develop ideal customer profiles, buyer personas and crank up lead generation activity — particularly, thought leadership, long before you staff up. You need to invest here because you can save by having only a single rep to follow-up on sales opportunities.
- Plan for a long battle — much longer than you expect.
Give at least six months of air cover (lead generation) before you begin staffing up. Don’t plan on closing business for at least a year.
- Invest in good communication
It’s critical. Make sure you have the best video conferencing equipment you can afford. Keep in constant communications.
In an earlier post, I told the story of an Israeli company that successfully expanded to the USA.
Of course if you’d like to discuss your company’s international expansion plans, please call (516) 284-4930 or send an email to jeff.ogden at findnewcustomers.com.
You need a Chief Content Officer.
Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor, is President of Find New Customers “Lead Generation Made Simple.” He’s also the author of two highly acclaimed white papers, How to Find New Customers and Definitive Guide to Making Quota, as well the ebook, Prospect Driven Marketing (and he’s about to start on his third white paper) and holds a BBA in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame.