How To Launch International Sales Expansion in 90 Days

Expanding your company to a new country is one of the most exciting ways to grow. Expanding to a neighboring country is one approach… But what if you are planning a more ambitious expansion like opening your first office in the United States?

Foreign Investment In The US Is Booming

You’re in good company if you’ve thought about expanding your business to the United States. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, foreign direct investment in the United States increased by $187 billion in 2020. Four countries in particular – Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands – are driving a significant portion of foreign investment. 

For these business investments to generate significant growth, international companies need a specific capability. It’s not advanced technology or government incentives. Instead, a specific job role drives business results: salespeople. 

The Core Ingredient To International Expansion

Opening a new presence in another country is full of challenges. 

There are different customer expectations. You may face a language barrier. The market may have little or no awareness of your brand or products. Overcoming these challenges takes time, but it will be easier if your expansion includes a strong sales team.

International expansion efforts tend to have a limited impact without a local sales team. Without local sales talent, your ability to generate revenue and create relationships with new customers will be sharply limited. The solution lies in emphasizing sales recruiting as the core of your international expansion efforts. 

Three Ways To Launch An International Sales Group 

After you decide that recruiting salespeople in a new market is your strategy, you may wonder how exactly to bring this strategy to life. In our experience, there are three popular approaches. 

1) The Growing From Abroad Strategy

The international management option can work, especially as the work from home revolution becomes a permanent expectation. In practice, this arrangement might look something like this. A European company recruits American salespeople and then manages them from abroad. 

From a recruiting perspective, this expansion strategy faces challenges. If your company is small or unknown in the US market, posting a job opening online is unlikely to produce meaningful results.

While this arrangement can work, it’s fraught with challenges. Time zone differences and cultural and language differences can make managing from abroad tricky. Finally, managing across an ocean tends to be less effective when your sales team includes less experienced people.

2) The Leader First Strategy

The second expansion approach focuses on leadership. Rather than attempting to build the entire sales from a distance, the firm hires a Head of Sales role and empowers them to build the team. If you find the right leader, this strategy can work wonderfully. For example, an accomplished sales leader likely has an extensive network of salespeople to draw on for recruitment.

Your international expansion can unfold smoothly when you find an exceptional sales leader. That said, asking the sales leader to recruit multiple salespeople in a short period doesn’t always work out. Your Head of Sales leader may have their quota to deliver on, and managing a large-scale recruitment process may not always be a top priority.

Even if the new Head of Sales can recruit an entire sales team from a time perspective, relatively few sales leaders are experienced at recruiting multiple roles simultaneously. They may have managed it in the past but usually with the aid of a significant HR department. When a company expands to a new market, those support functions are usually not in place.

There is one more limitation to relying on a sales leader to carry the task of recruiting a sales team. Sales leaders are usually skilled at sitting across the table from a potential hire and assessing their skills. However, relatively few sales leaders know how to tap into the passive job market. The passive job market for sales talent – professionals who are already achieving high results – is one of the best places to find talent. However, it takes specialized expertise to access these candidates and convince them to learn about new opportunities.

3) Leverage Outside Sales Recruiting Expertise

The fastest and most effective way for a new sales department is to work with specialized recruiters. Peak has a track record of recruiting salespeople who consistently meet or exceed their quotas. For example, Peak helped Fetch.AI, a UK-based technology company, recruit a three-person sales team in three months. 

Using external experts to set up your sales team in the US is wise for a few reasons. 

First, you get access to Peak’s team of experienced recruiters with large networks. By working with multiple client engagements each year, Peak recruiters meet with hundreds of capable sales professionals each year. These existing warm relationships often cut weeks from the recruiting process.

Second, Peak has the latest market knowledge about compensation expectations. Peak executive sales can help you fine-tune your compensation program to attract the best new talent. When a sales compensation is uncompetitive, the recruitment process becomes significantly more challenging. For example, we can help you calibrate your VP of Sales salaries to compete effectively in today’s market. In order to accelerate your international expansion strategy with the best salespeople, contact Peak Sales Executive Search today.

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