Selling into the US Market – Does Your Sales Team have the Right DNA?

Selling into the US Market - Does Your Sales Team have the Right DNA?
Lionseye insights from AC Lion

One of the toughest decisions my global clients wrestle with revolves around the location of their sales team. Should we hire in our home country or build an offshore sales team in the U.S.? One can argue with the prevalence and successes of inbound lead-gen marketing and improved communication tools, you can get significant traction all from your home office.

Sales DNA

The reality is your sales DNA needs serious genetic modification to account for the changes in culture it will encounter in the U.S. There are numerous businesses that couldn’t adapt to the cultural expectations of their target market and closed after entering the US market. Conversely, there’s a reason Taboola, SofiHub and InnovD are so successful in growing revenues in the U.S. even though they are headquartered offshore.

Every organization is different, but typical sales teams require hunters, who find and close new deals, and farmers, who nurture accounts and bring new business from existing customers. They also need an assortment of other sales roles to do everything from providing customer service, to selling customized and highly specialized solutions, and for indirect sales.

Each of these roles tap into different character traits and skill sets. Assessing your candidates for the different roles you need to fill is no easy task.

Culture

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.

Tools

They will also need to learn the communication tools of their target market. Does your target market use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger? Will they be more comfortable landing on a HubSpot page and filling out a form? And will they expect an email drip nurturing campaign or prefer a more direct approach via SMS marketing.

Training

Getting your sales team to think and act like their American clients takes training. When available, take advantage of training conferences like Israel’s Sales Kenes, which teaches participants everything from basic communication techniques to using online sales force automation tools or rely on online training tools. If those types of sessions aren’t locally available, use online training tools, or bring in cultural trainers to work with your team.

Failing Fast

For every Waze, Mobileye and Moovit, there are 600 failed startups. While there are numerous reasons why startups fail, the bottom line is that they weren’t able to sell their product. As a founder with limited experience building sales teams, you are now tasked with building a sales team in a foreign country that can build your vision.

Things to Consider as You Build Out Your US Team:

  1. All sales people need clear goals and expectations-and be realistic. Rome was not built in a day-nor was Google. If it took you four years in your original market to reach your sales target, don’t a miracle in the US.
  2. Do your homework, determine the time frames and goals, and manage towards that end. Are you starting with one country manager? Building a sales engine? Starting with business development or client success? Basically create a plan.
  3. They need sales materials and a sales cadence geared to the US market. That may be an adaption of your current materials or having a US focused firm review them.
  4. Just like there are cultural differences in sales, there are cultural differences in employee management and supervision. US employees will expect certain benefits, work schedules, etc. Again, know what you are getting.

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 teams.

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Alan Cutter

Alan Cutter founded New York City's premier digital media recruiting agency, AC Lion International, more than 20 years ago and continues to lead the growing company as their fearless CEO.