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How To Enter The U.S. Market Successfully

Want to enter the U.S. Market_

Can you name the number of international technology companies that attempted to enter the U.S. marketplace over the past decade? Probably not! Well, there is a good chance that you can’t name the number of the ones that have failed. Would you be surprised to learn that nearly most of them fail? The San Francisco Bay Area alone draw a $4 billion market, so it is easy to see why company companies want to get on board with the U.S. market. This alone explains the steady inflow of international subsidiaries, entrepreneurs, and expatriates. Despite their ambitions and eagerness to get into the market, it just seems that most of the companies are failing at breaking through the market. Companies fail because they make mistakes. It doesn’t get much simpler than that, but discovering those mistakes doesn’t make things easy. That is why below, you are going to learn about the most common mistakes that international companies make when they try to enter the US marketplace.

Not Localized Enough

If you want to succeed in business today, you are going to need to introduce a product or service that fits well within the new market. Most business owners tend to underestimate the importance of adapting features, pricing, channels, and marketing support. Just because it has worked in the past, in a different market or location, doesn’t mean that it will continue to work. When you enter a new market, you probably want to give your services and products a complete remake. Redesign the product or service to match requirements, business models, and questions that your new customers might ask. The biggest and most obvious example of poor localization is the literal aspect. Just look at software companies or web companies that ship their products and services out with poor language choices, grammar mistakes, and typos. Those things make your company look sloppy, and don’t inspire customer confidence.

Understand The Market Dynamics

There is plenty of room for mistakes in the U.S. market when it comes to dynamics, but this doesn’t mean that you want to fail too many times. Too much failure will lead to ultimate defeat. Two of the most common marketing mistakes that international companies make is that they prioritize product/service features that are of little consequence for their new customer base. The second mistake that they make is that they choose poor channels to distribute their products. Many international businesses tend to forget that the U.S. is not just a market, but 50 different markets with different regulations and standards.

Too Much Focus On Technology, Not Enough Focus on Listening

There is no denying that you are living in a world of technology. People yearn technology and they eat it up. That being said, there is such a thing as too much technology. This is another area where many international companies tend to fail in the U.S. market. They simply place too much importance or significance in their product’s technical superiority.  Why is this bad in a world filled with technology? Well, it overlooks the critical elements of the specific needs of each target segment. Listen: to your customers, your users, your employees, your funders, your competitors. What worked in New Delhi won’t necessarily work in New York. Client expectations in the EU aren’t the same as New England. You can’t just plug in your technology and expect it to work somewhere else in the sane way.  Too much high tech and not enough human touch can cause failure in the U.S. marketplace.

Losing Focus

The problem with most international companies is that they come from a smaller different, and sometimes smaller, domestic market. The crowded U.S. marketplace is not the same as their market back home, where they They might have experience and even beare  fairly successful with their market back home, but this is not the same as vying attention in the U.S. marketplace. The problem with this is that when they see moderate growth back in their home markets they tend to diversify in multiple sectors, verticals, and categories. Some will even go as far as integrating vertically to continue their growth. There is nothing wrong with this approach in the domestic market, but it is a strategy that will not work in the U.S. marketplace. This is because the marketplace is so big that the only viable strategy is to break it down in narrow niches and focus on serving just one or two of them. Being able to focus all your efforts on one to two markets will greatly help increase the growth of any international company.

A Lack of Marketing and Sales Firepower

If there is one common mistake that international businesses are making it is that they are failing to adequately fund marketing and sales activities. In the U.S. there is a huge emphasis on marketing of all sorts and if you do not properly prepare your budget to compete with the best of the best, you are probably going to find yourself falling behind. Under-spending will only guarantee that you are going to perform at a sub-par level. Top sales people have their choice of jobs, and you want the best. Another problem with international companies is that in their home markets they are usually required to perform their own prospecting and source their own leads. There is nothing wrong with this, but it can be hard to compete with companies that have their own teams of salespeople.The U.S. has a different sales process and culture, based on listening habits, cold calling and closing skills.  What worked in your home market will probably not work in the U.S., especially with sales. That means having the right local sales people—and sales managers—to make this work. Your team, as talented and experienced as they may be in your home country, needs to develop an entire new understanding of sales processes and culture if they are going to experience offshore successes. They will need to recognize how cultural differences impact sales success and learn skills that may be taken for granted in their target market. They’ll have to mimic the listening habits of Americans and develop the cold-calling and closing skills American professionals expect. Push too hard and you turn off that client. Be overly polite and you may lose that deal. Finding that sweet spot can be hard.

Poor Hiring Decisions

One of the biggest obstacles that most international companies face is hiring. International companies coming to the U.S. will need employees that are skilled and know the this market. Hiring capable individuals that can help build your business in the U.S. market is crucial and a failure to do so could be extremely costly.  Just like there are cultural differences in sales and marketing, there are cultural and legal differences for employees and employee management in the U.S. A founder from the EU or Asia with limited experience building U.S. sales and marketing teams will need help to build out in the U.S. market. Your business is too important to risk being one of those many firms that fail at U.S. market entry. The best way to tackle this obstacle is to send someone from the home base ahead of time. Have them scout out the area where you are going to set up shop and see what prospects you have available to you. Research the potential prospects and see what they can bring to the team.


Are you ready to create a market presence in the United States? AC Lion is your ticket to US Market Entry and developing US-based sales and marketing teams.


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Alan Cutter

Alan Cutter founded New York City's premier digital recruiting agency, AC Lion International, and continues to lead the growing company as their fearless CEO. For over 20 years, AC Lion has been the trusted provider of revenue generating talent in the digital and technology landscape. Our reach spans from innovative venture-backed startups to enterprise level organizations. AC Lion is a proud member of the Lionseye Group, a collective of brands furthering talent acquisition through Venture Capital, HR Technology and Thought Leadership.