Starting your US development can feel as if you were a quarterback who has to score a touchdown to win. Winning clients is hard. Winning clients in the most competitive market in the world is even harder.
Innovative companies are aware that US development is the key to becoming a global player. But defining the right strategy, reaching out to the right decision-makers, and being able to follow-up until closing the deal can be extremely challenging, especially during COVID19. On the other hand, as a company, you need to learn to understand the market and adapt your product, strategy, and sales process in order to achieve your US expansion.
So the real question is, to what extent do you choose to outsource your US development when it comes to sales?
What French entrepreneurs usually feel more comfortable with: building their own US team
In France, there is still this notion of “belonging to a company”. Different employment contracts seem to show the level of commitment employees will have for their employers and vice versa.
- temp workers (interimaires),
- people working for a set duration – sorry there aren’t any words for that! (CDD),
- or full-time employees (CDI)
So when they decide to launch a venture in the US, they tend to apply the same rule. When they have sufficient budget, they start by recruiting one US general manager and they ask them to develop the US activity. When they have less funding, they hire a young professional (VIE) and send them to the US.
But this approach has many inconveniences:
- They need to pay high US salaries without being sure of the results or they send an inexperienced professional to represent them locally.
- In a short time, they need to adapt to a different managerial culture and sales organization.
- Managerial culture: US salespeople tend to expect a high level of training and mentoring and can leave without any notice for a better opportunity.
- Sales organization: Teams are more specialized: BDRs generate leads, AEs close leads, Directors of Sales define the sales strategy and processes, etc.
- If the team is not successful, it is hard to understand the real reason as there are so many possibilities: product-market fit? go-to-market strategy? sales process? sales team?
The US way: outsourcing part of your development
Selling in the US is a real team effort. Markets are extremely competitive and customers can be very educated. To cut through the noise, US teams need to be extremely skilled in every aspect:
- Product-Market fit: identifying the Ideal Customer Profile and selling them the right product at the right time;
- Marketing: being able to come with the right messaging and generating leads at a reasonable cost;
- Sales: defining the right sales strategy and process. Training the team to adopt a consultative seller approach to answer problems;
- Customer success: smoothly onboarding customers, answering their every request in a timely manner, and being able to upsell.
Part of these tasks can and should probably be bootstrapped with the French team, but most should be done locally to optimize the chances of success, leading to 3-5 local hires. Plus, US employees won’t be more attached to your company because they are employees. They still can leave you tomorrow. So the real question is: why hire full-time when you have many highly skilled consultants ready to work part-time?
- It reduces the risk of lack of management and training
- You can afford a senior team and avoid new entrants’ pitfalls
- You can work with a sales team who is trained to produce and provide detailed reporting
- As sales start increasing, you can then progressively build your own team based on the playbook developed by your outsourced team.
- You need to handle the complexity of the in-house and the outsourced resources, located in different locations and time zones
- Your outsourced team is also working with other companies. You have to be ready to share!
- You need to identify the right expert for each specialty
At big bang factory, we are convinced that teams should be built based on expertise and motivation to serve a specific project and/or objective. Nimble organizations foster drive and performance.
We have been applying this to our business for the past 8 years. Over time, we have improved the way we select the talents, the way we onboard them, and the way we manage them. That is why we can now provide a professional US outsourcing team to build pipelines, win deals, grow revenue, and hit targets. We have helped entrepreneurs launch new products, positioned their startups for growth, and be acquired. Want to make your US journey smooth?
We would love to chat with you, answer any questions you have, and see if we are fit to help you grow!
Vipra Arolkar and Marie Buhot-Launay