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Winning Strategies – How to Prime Your Tech Company for Success When Entering New Markets

It goes without saying that technology is and will continue being the key to our future (You just need to look back to the last 70 years for empirical proof). As it is today, NASDAQ is at an all-time high, demonstrating that tech firms are best primed to reap astronomical profits in the years ahead. If you own/lead a tech company and already have a strong foothold in your domestic market, the best way to grow your firm exponentially is to internationalize, offering your products to new markets that have a huge customer base and a high potential for growth, such as APAC and Europe.



In fact, should you choose to take this route to growth, you are taking a leap of faith, like jumping on a ship and hoping to find new lands full of treasures. It is a venture fraught with risks, but also promises of glory… You will either win or lose depending on the entry strategy that you choose and how effectively you manage to execute it. 


When internationalization is done right, not only will you increase revenues and strengthen your brand name, but there is also always the possibility of adding world-class talent and gaining exposure to other lesser-known technology innovators.  In the article below, we explore some of the business primers and strategies to consider if you are planning to go global.


Often used, and equally relevant, is the analogy of trying to woo someone on a first date, you do not take them to the first restaurant you come across. Normally you would first do some research to identify the best venue with the right ambiance, as your choice of location will most likely spell the start, or end, of a beautiful relationship. The same logic applies when internationalizing. The geographic location you choose could make or break your expansion dreams. When researching the best entry point, ask yourself the following questions:


  • Does the population demographic have an appetite for the type of products I am about to launch?
  • Is there existing infrastructure to support the rollout of my offering?
  • What are the costs of doing business in that location?
  • Does the location have a history of accepting foreign products or do they have a preferred local brand?


When choosing a new market entry point, you should go for a location that has a need for the solution you propose to offer. Furthermore, the ideal location should also offer the potential for growth/expansion, preferably even be a well-trodden path that other companies like yours, at least in size and stage, have also chosen.


Next, consider how you are going to penetrate the market. There are several options available for you to explore, such as organic growth of your business, a joint venture or even the acquisition of an existing company in your target market. If your research shows that the market is ready for disruption and likely to accept your product, and you also have the financial muscle, then going it alone and directly might just be the best option. However, if there are already established incumbent companies and products, your main challenge will be figuring out whether to partner or acquire, either option offering an established infrastructure to aggressively roll out your products and speed you to market.


You are only as good as the team you work with. For this reason, think carefully about the right individuals to represent your company in the new market.  It is not uncommon to transplant one of the founding leadership team to seed the business and establish your culture.  The obvious challenge is finding someone in your team who has the internationalization playbook and cultural awareness to do so, versus hiring such a person from the local market.  The key criteria being that they know the market and can demonstrate scaling regional revenues from zero to $20m, or from $20m to $200m if you are hiring the second iteration of General Manager or Regional VP. Rarely is it likely to be the same person who scales the region from small to tall.

In an ideal world, you will source the middle and junior management as well as the other company employees locally but do have a plan, or at least consider transplanting some of your experienced team. This goes a long way to not just ensuring cultural alignment with HQ, but also enables you to scale much more quickly.  Local staff will be able to provide insights on how you can strengthen your brand or localize your products to be attractive to prospective customers, particularly as your messaging will rarely if ever, be plug and play. If you are unsure on how to attract or select a regional VP or GM or are not familiar with the tier-one employers to source from in that locale, speak to your investors or local executive search companies for their insights, as they will be able to quickly dial you in.


Financial prudence dictates that you only commit to what you can afford, and this is no different.  Rome was not built in a day, nor on a shoestring.  This process normally requires a two-year commitment, and you will need to ensure sufficient funding to achieve your anticipated traction. Your go-to-market strategy will vary depending on whether you are B2C, SMB, or large enterprise-focused, whatever the strategy, you may need to price to win logos and prove traction, even if it is only for a short period to get the team into winning ways!


Lastly, though it is important that you approach internationalization with optimism and have the resolution to succeed, do not jump in with both feet!  If some of the above criteria aren’t quite in alignment just yet why not consider testing the market from afar, maybe leveraging your marketing team or a partner?  Normally if you can service $1m in sales remotely, then you have your validation for putting boots on the ground and the data to remove much of the risk.  You should also remember that failing once does not mean you won’t eventually succeed.


Whatever direction you go in and strategy you apply, good luck! Fortune favors the brave!


Skale Executive Search work with the founders and investors of high-growth technology companies, to help them enter new markets and scale their leadership teams. More details can be found at www.skaleexec.com.



APACEMEAExecutive SearchExpansionGeneral ManagerGMHiringInternationalizationNew Market EntryRecruiterSalesScale-Up

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One thought on “Winning Strategies – How to Prime Your Tech Company for Success When Entering New Markets

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