Launching Sales in Europe

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So, your scaleup is growing, and you’re starting to attract interest from prospective customers across Europe. Congratulations!

But to ensure you attract European customers from the get go, you’ll need to effectively expand your strategic efforts and launch a sales function in Europe.

Breaking into a new market is an exciting time. You might be about to discover untapped revenue, and proving your company can be profitable in Europe will do wonders for your company value too.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to launch sales in Europe.

Define your target market and its location

First and foremost, you need to know who your product(s) will appeal to in your target European countries, and the best ways to effectively market your products to that audience. Do this by defining your ideal target profile and target market.

Clear communication is key, and you may adopt different practices in order to create and maintain effective business strategies.

Sales intelligence tools will help your sales function explode into a new market, as you’ll be expected to deal with leads, sales and customer service in a different language, culture, and setup than you are used to in your domestic market.

LinkedIn is strong in most countries, and Facebook retargeting has a huge ROI across the globe, but there are some other communication platforms used in different European countries worth keeping an eye out for.

For example, XING is the German equivalent of LinkedIn and used by over 16 million people in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. According to LinkedIn’s Advertising solutions, their member database in these countries totals 13.9 million people. This makes XING an interesting channel to promote your brand online, not simply because of the reach, but also the platform’s target audience and targeting options.

Viadeo launched in Paris in 2004, and is one of the most popular professional networks in French-speaking countries globally, with 65m users globally. Whereas in Spain, WhatsApp can be quite a popular platform to move a sales process along.

You need to go where your tech prospects are most comfortable, a trusted platform where their guard is down, to ensure you reach them in an environment they’re most at ease with.

One of the benefits of the EU is that EU regulations for trade are the same for lots of countries - however, you should still check the required level of regulation needed for your particular market.

Finances and budget

How financially stable is your business and the European country you’d like to start selling your products and services within?

Even if you have a debt-to-equity ratio measured, and you have good growth revenue with flat expenses and profit including new customers and repeat orders, remember, it may take up to a year before you see your first deals in your new market. Be sure to factor sufficient budget for this.

And before you do expand your business to a new European country, it wouldn’t hurt to investigate the financial stability of said country, as well as the general EU market for sustainable investment.

Trusted local partners can help you here, and let you know if your product has a chance in your target vertical when you’re looking to expand.

Testing the water

Before diving headfirst into a new country and building a rigid go-to-market strategy, run some tests to make sure it’s profitable. 

Even if your initial research is spot on, there’s no better way to learn what will work than by making some sales.

Here are some steps to take before making a significant commitment to a new move:

  1. Research the new market and identify job titles that fit your ideal customer profile (ICP).
  2. Build a list of prospects using a prospecting tool.
  3. Make some initial calls and use them, along with your initial research, to build a sales framework.
  4. Try to close some deals and bring on your first local customers.
  5. If you’re providing a service, monitor these customers to make sure they’re a good fit.
  6. Use this information to estimate how profitable the new location could be.
  7. If you’re happy with the results, drop in a trailblazer sales leader. Someone capable of hiring and managing reps, with sales expertise, commitment, and situational awareness.

When you’ve tested the water, start growing the team. Focus on creating a great culture that celebrates the country and company it represents.

Your route to market in Europe

There isn’t a right or wrong way for you to approach your efforts, but you do need to plan your route to market in Europe before you jump in.

And once you have an idea about where you want to expand, and how quickly, you can start considering the different routes to market.

Connect with local partners that know the culture and have contacts already in place to help you identify what your business needs to offer the European market.

Local partners will also help you identify the talent you need when launching a sales function in a new European country. And they’ll help increase the speed you can go-to market and lower the risk of jumping into a new pool of operations too.

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