For B2B partnership strategy questions, Noémie Goubin is the go-to person for Reveal's community. She is wildly passionate about partnerships and is eager to share her experience with others to help them grow.
That experience includes Tech Partnerships at AB Tasty and years as a go-to-market strategist for La French Tech in the United States, where she helped B2B tech companies expand into the US successfully.
Recently, she shared with The Society, Reveal's community of B2B tech partnership professionals, about expanding into new territories and what B2B tech companies often underestimate or forget to consider.
Have Product-Market Fit and Competitive analysis beforehand. The Value Proposition has to be tailor-made for the new market. You have to be very clear about why you've got a strategic advantage there, especially against local competitors.
Timing is also essential & one of the most challenging choices; you have to choose the right moment to expand. If you expand too soon, you risk burning your cash too fast, failing in the new market, and losing leadership in your originating market. If you expand too late, you could be bypassed by a competitor.
The key to knowing when it is the right time is talking to investors and making connections with companies that currently have a presence in the territory you want to expand to. It's also important to have investors who understand your new market and can help you scale there.
Another thing to consider is relocation. Depending on where you want to expand, one of the founders will have to move over. There's nothing more influential than having feet on the ground. The location should be close to key customers and partners.
Naturally, finances need to be considered. Raise a big round before you expand, because as you can imagine expanding into a new territory is VERY expensive. There are a lot of organizations and investment funds in France that can help in an expansion, and France is not the only country that provides those resources.
A bonus would be if you are working with international brands in your local market. If that's the case, definitely try to leverage that relationship first. They can introduce you to their counterparts in other countries.
This leads me to the most overlooked but essential component: Partnerships are a key channel of acquisition that can be leveraged to expand the business. They already have a large base of trusted customers, their recommendation will be more than an asset to enter new markets.
Ultimately, be prepared to make mistakes and to have operational issues (visas, lawyer, tax structure, banking account, payroll, HR & benefits.) Having the right advisors and investors will also help you avoid some mistakes and complications, but having a few hiccups along the way is inevitable.
It's essential to test each channel for a couple of months. It's important to be agile and iterate until you can decide which channel to put effort into. Running a digital marketing campaign globally from English regions is also valuable. Try to implement a global marketing strategy that can be adapted locally.
For a better grasp about what works or could work for you read the book by Gabriel Weinberg, Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Growth.
You should use the exact same dashboard that you are using for your HQ for other territories.
But you also have to track for that specific location
The 2020 pandemic forced everyone to rely on video conferencing and collaboration tools such as Zoom, Livestorm, and Slack, even in traditional corporations. With territory expansion, investment in these tools becomes even more critical.
All offices should be equipped with equally good VC tech. Don't provide a higher standard for HQ versus local offices. Everyone needs access to the same high-quality resources. Not just for efficiency but for the sake of company culture.
In all scenarios, the video conferencing experience has to get as close as possible to all being together in one room.
And keep in mind that documentation and templates are necessary. Having the right tools to make these conferences, meetings, and other communications work is essential to have the right documentation and processes. (Notion, Slite, Gdoc …)
And, of course, using partnerships for expansion, Reveal is a crucial tool to have for live sessions and asynchronous sessions. As a Partnership Manager I used it everyday.
More advice I have would be to Invest in the onboarding process. It is a critical period for reinforcing values and shaping culture. Try, for example, Lattice or Javelo. Also buy extension HR tools to manage everything related to payroll and benefits. Since the pandemic, these tools have become far more essential than ever before.
Blending cultures is one of the most significant challenges I've witnessed. Not just in regards to mixing cultures between countries but also blending cultures between companies after an acquisition. One of the keys to overcoming this hurdle is to enhance communication and be very intentional about hiring.
For all-hands meetings or company-wide meetings, all team members need to be in attendance. Making sure that there is a culture of inclusivity is essential. Additionally, hosting regular or at least annual offsites to facilitate connection is vital.
As mentioned before, documentation of meetings, decisions, and processes is key (Notion, slack, Gdoc), and having a solid communication infrastructure and leveraging video conferencing is important.
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