It’s tempting to think that just because you’ve had success in one market…
You’ll automatically be successful wherever you decide to expand your business.
Patrick Conte is the Senior Vice President & General Manager of International Business at HyTrust, and he understands the challenge in taking your product and moving it to another market like Europe.
HyTrust is a cyber-security company that specializes in cloud security. They protect the cloud workload for their clients (which is becoming increasingly important in this era of data protection we live in). They also focus on locking down the virtual infrastructure (cloud servers and admins) for their clients.
Patrick and his team were able to expand their services into the European market through careful strategy and execution. Patrick joined us for this episode of B2B Revenue Acceleration to talk about the European expansion journey and the lessons learned along the way.
The European Expansion Journey
Patrick believes the number one thing companies need when expanding to another market is leverage. In order to be successful, you need something that can help you lift more than your own weight.
Every company that wants to expand into a new market needs to look for some point of leverage.
There are different ways to gain leverage. They could come in the form of reseller channels, strategic partnerships, or even in an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) capacity.
Utilizing a large salesforce to sell directly to prospects before you have the opportunity to establish relationships in that market gives you little leverage.
In general, companies outside the US want to buy locally from a source who is trusted. Partnerships and alliances help expanding companies establish trust; selling directly without this type of investment does not.
Patrick and his team took a look at other vertical markets that were different than the ones they saw success with in the United States. HyTrust couldn’t just rely on the previous success they saw with financial industry customers in the US.
When they moved to the European market, they shifted their focus specifically to manufacturing companies because that segment of businesses had the greatest need for their services. They also realized they couldn’t cover an entire region; Europe is too large.
They needed primary and secondary markets because they couldn’t spread their focus too thin.
You have to have primary markets and secondary markets. In those secondary markets, you can only be opportunistic, you can’t be strategic.
Biggest Challenges in European Expansion
Patrick’s biggest challenge was finding partners that could meet all of his needs. He views partnerships as a balance sheet, and these were the three things he needed from a partner in the European market:
- A wider funnel – He needed a partner to go talk to customers that it would take him a long time to find in a new market.
- A shortened sales cycle – If a partner vouches for your product and brings it to the attention of their current customers, this helps tremendously in moving deals through your pipeline.
- People on the street – He needed local people in the local markets talking about his product and services in order to drum up interest. People from the actual region he was expanding to needed to be involved and touting his product to their existing customers.
A partnership is a two way street, and this is what Patrick was offering his partners:
- A promise to uphold margin structure – All companies do business on margins, and Patrick’s aim was to help his partners maintain or improve those margins they were already working with.
- New and cool products to talk to customers about.
- Added services supporting the partner’s current product offering.
More Advice for Expanding to New Territories
If Patrick could give one piece of advice for those companies expanding into the European market, it would be to find partners that want to evangelize your product for you in the new market. Those partners are very rare.
Successful companies from the US can’t use the same models for success they’ve had previously. If you already have a successful business, many times your partners are content with simply taking orders for your product. They don’t need to work hard to spread the word about what you are selling.
But if you are in a new market, you need to seek an evangelist partner. Find partners that are in agreement with you: the number one priority is to knock down doors and to find customers who can be helped by your innovative technology.
“A channel partnership in many ways has nothing to do with the technology itself.” – Patrick Conte“
This post is based on a podcast with Patrick Conte. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast.
If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.