The Episode in 60 Seconds
Getting the timing right
- Rather than going and planting a flag abroad, consider letting your customers lead the way. Wherever you find a “big fish”, find an agreement to localize for them.
Finding international customers
- Try to engage analysts such as Forrester and Gartner early on. This can be in an informal way, since formal engagements can cost you lots of money.
- Look for international technology partners such as Salesforce and the like.
- Attend conferences abroad to gain visibility.
- For technology products, marketing and sales are usually the areas which need localization, while engineering can stay centralized.
- A coherent reporting structure and rigorous documentation are vital to successfully move an international team forward.
Successful international partnerships
- Partners are followers, not leaders. Even though you might have a partner in a certain market, you still need to lead the way for the first successful implementations.
- It’s a long term game. Try to become part of your partner’s daily routine to stay on the top of their mind.
- International investors are desirable but not a requirement to expand abroad.
- Don’t underestimate the difficulties which come with operating in two different legal systems.
- Since you are missing the benefit of a shared culture, introductions to international investors through your network are even more important.