Monthly Archives: November 2015

How to Hire The Right Sales Agents to Conquer Europe

Building a sales team to take your company into Europe entails more than hiring a sales agent in the UK and hoping to expand from there. But it doesn’t require entering into expensive office leases and hiring sales agents for every EU country, either. Even mid-sized companies can successfully internationalize their sales teams by hiring engaging the right people, focusing on results, and knowing when to empower the local team.  with independence. In this paper, we’ll briefly summarize the steps to success.

Selling into Europe’s GDP of $18.4 trillion in 2014 is a tantalizing opportunity to many technology companies. In fact, according to data in Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends report the cost to US companies for not going international is staggering:

  • In 2015 Internet Trends report the cost to US companies for not going international is staggering:
  • Of the world’s 2.8 billion Internet users, only 10% are in the US In 2013, 9 out of the 10 top internet properties (Google, Facebook, etc.) were based in USA
  • By 2014, 6 out of 10 were based in USA and 86% of their users were international

Sales outsourcing specialists like Intralink (for Asia), Global Business Fluency (for Latin America), and Sales Force Europe (for Europe) offer experienced, in-country sales agents who know the local laws, customs and languages. These contracted sales professionals can start out working part time, land your first key accounts, move up to full time as revenues scale, and then tap into their networks to hire in-house sales agents and build out the rest of your sales team.

1.  Choose the Right Sales Agents
Asking your top sales person to move internationally and set up shop is a strategy that is fraught with risk and disappointment. Not only do they not have local connections and sales contacts to kick-start revenues, they also don’t have the local network to hire other sales agents and build your team. Relying on a recruiter can be equally frustrating in time, costs and flexibility.

Instead, find an experienced sales agent already living in your target country and who has established industry contacts in your target verticals, channel relationships, and personal networks with other sales professionals.

Sales outsourcing specialists like Intralink (for Asia), Global Business Fluency (for Latin America), and Sales Force Europe (for Europe) offer experienced, in-country sales agents who know the local laws, customs and languages. These contracted sales professionals can start out working part time, land your first key accounts, move up to full time as revenues scale, and then tap into their networks to hire in-house sales agents and build out the rest of your sales team.

As one example, social media integrator Livefyre used Sales Force Europe to kick-start international sales in 2013. Within 90 days they closed a large strategic deal and within a year they had secured millions in new revenue. Livefyre now dominates their space in Europe with SFE’s support.

2.  Focus on Results
Managing salespersons or sales teams from across the Atlantic means you’re not going to able to sit with them day-to-day. So the best way to manage fairly is to focus on their results. And as obvious as it sounds, to build a winning sales team you need to define what it means to win. Some examples of measurement could be:

  • Total new accounts opened (and Key Accounts opened)
  • Total sales volume vs. profitability
  •  Sales conversion rates and sales cycle length (how many touches are required)
  •  Funnel Health (quality, focus, pipeline depth, etc.)
  •  Total contacts per market segment.

Since sales people usually decide for themselves what tasks to conquer and in what manner, it’s critical that everyone agrees to the priorities and goals from the beginning.

But while results are what matter, understand that technology sales work differently in Europe than in the US and be prepared to provide your sales teams with different types of support that you are accustomed to in the U.S. For example, VARs (Value-Added Resellers), SI’s (Systems Integrators), and resellers in Europe often expect the technology partner to generate initial leads, while they translate and localize your marketing materialssimply provide support infor their home territory. Once they see that a vibrant market exists for the product, then they will become more proactive with their own lead-generation.

3.  Know When to Let GoEmpower the Local Team
Managing sales staff overseas requires a higher level of trust. The best sales people prefer and demand a high level of independence, which can be difficult for executives back in the U.S. to accept. But once a salesperson or team has proven itself, it’s important for HQ to let go. Inundating your (highly self-motivated) sales team with daily e-mails and calls to “check int” sends a wrong message.

Instead, use their successes to start building your sales “playbook” to teach others how to sell your product or service. Analyze what are the best practices and build a checklist of what your sales people need to do to be successful. Check out our Services to see what we can provide your company to achieve more sales.

Rick Pizzoli is CEO and founder of Sales Force Europe, a team of 60+ ‘on-demand’ sales professionals working in 27 countries and 14 languages throughout Europe. The firm helps businesses scale internationally while avoiding the costs, risks and delays associated with opening foreign offices and hiring local employees. Rick can be reached at RickPizzoli@SalesForceEurope.com

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How to Drive Sales in Europe?

By Albert M. Costilo – VP USA Business Development Sales Force Europe

How to Drive Sales in Europe? Virtually every US technology venture gets to a point where it decides to explore expanding sales in the EU. This is a wise move, as the EU zone represents $18 Trillion in GDP and is home to the 6 most “tech-ready” countries in the world. It is a great region to invest in sales growth…if you can make it work. But there are a few obstacles in your way.

For one thing, the EU is not a single place. It sounds good to say, “Let’s sell in the Europe.” That’s certainly a lot more confidence-inspiring than, “Let’s get boots on the ground in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.”   Oh, and speak 14 languages while we are at it.

How will you do it? Success in Europe requires local presence, high-levels of attention, consistency and ability to respond solve problems quickly. Hiring local sales representatives is a viable option but the process tends to be lengthy and costly. It can stretch out your time to market. Also, technology sales people in the EU tend to have a higher ratio of base to commission than you find in the US so your up front salary and benefits expenses can be higher than you’re expecting.

You can hire an independent business development contractor. However, this can be hit or miss and hard to scale, especially if you lack local market knowledge. There are channel sales options, and these can be tricky to navigate without the right channel sales manager to drive. Re-sellers tend to work toward their own advantage, and who can blame them? Typically they represent a large portfolio of companies and promote what lines are most profitable.

Another challenge is simply reading a different culture. While technology sales people from the Benelux, DACH, and Nordic countries often speak superb English, there is the potential to miss subtle cultural cues that are extremely important. A candidate might be telegraphing serious unsuitability for the job that would be noticed by anyone from his or her home country, but not by you. For instance, can you differentiate between regional accents in Italy, France or Germany? Things like that can make a big difference selling in Europe. Even if you’re great at spotting sales talent in an American interview, you might not find it when there’s a cultural barrier. The same is true for distributors.

We give you a way to bypass many of these challenges and get to a point of sales success in the EU on a schedule that will appeal to your investment board. We offer an outsourced salesperson model, one that matches you with senior, contract-based sales managers in 27 EU countries. It’s a flexible contract that can scale up or down with little in the way of administration costs, no labor liabilities and no regional gaps.

Our contract-based sales managers can work on a direct sales and indirect channel management basis. In fact, it’s often best to do both: Have the contract-based sales manager make direct outreach to his or her extensive Rolodex of contacts while also managing the relationship with local re-seller partners. If they can provide revenue for the re-seller, the re-seller will orient themselves to helping your business grow. It’s a profitable alignment of incentives, if you can place the right person in charge or the relationship.

We are not the only company providing this service, but we are truly distinctive in our ability to offer coverage beyond the basic UK/Germany base that is typical in this sector. We have seamless coverage throughout the EU. We’ve been doing this since 2003 and work in all 27 EU countries. In fact, half of our clients are actually European. They rely on us to work on their behalf in other EU countries where they lack presence and localized knowledge and contacts. If they use us, then perhaps you should, too.Check out our Services to see what we can provide your company to achieve more sales.

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EyesOnT – “Outsources European Sales Task to SFE”

IoT service technology vendor EyesOnT has hired Sales Force Europe to expand sales of its M2M service throughout Europe.

In the white-hot IoT sector (Internet of Things), EyesOnT is making an infrastructure play with a service that analyzes real-time usage of IoT devices and data traffic.

Its flagship product, EyesOnT™,helps IoT service providers and their customers reduce connectivity costs and optimize rate plans, by analyzing real-time usage, billing, and rate plan data, detecting and mitigating inefficiencies well before the end of the billing cycle.

About EyesOnT™

Established in 2004 as Rizotec, the company develops M2M connectivity optimization solutions for IoT service providers of all sizes. Rizotec’s team brings over 20 years of experience in design, development, and integration of telecommunications management and monitoring products. Among its customers are leading telecom equipment manufacturers, operators and service providers, including Cisco, NSN, Telit, Vodafone, Cellcom, and more.

Mirasys & SFE – “to Scale Sales of Video Management System”

Video cameras are everywhere, and with all those cameras come a lot of video data that needs to be managed – especially in commercial and enterprise situations. To capitalize on the growth of enterprise-grade video camera installations, Mirasys has partnered with SFE to scale up sales in Spain and Europe.

Who is Mirasys

Mirasys is one of the leading providers of open platform Video Management Systems (VMS) for IP and analog camera surveillance applications and systems. The company develops and supplies solutions that help organizations manage and utilize information captured by digital video and CCTV cameras. Mirasys video systems are used for loss prevention, perimeter protection, building management, and enhancement of operational efficiency by customers from many industries in over 40 countries.

Mirasys becomes another great partner with SFE. See a list of all of our clients here.

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