Category Archives: SFE Articles


‘This article originally featured on Telecom Council”

European tech is awash in cash

There was $88 billion in M&A activity in deep tech[1] in 2016 (following three brisk years — roughly one deal per month since 2014).[2] Further, Brexit impact will be negligible – only 2% of respondents to an Atomico survey cited Brexit as a big issue. Most founders’ concerns remained (predictably) on key business issues, such as finding sources of funding, regional professional support (such as legal and accounting help), prevalence of engineering talent, and general risk aversion from banks and investors. In the past year, the first European technology companies valued at or over $10 billion, such as Supercell, emerged. Can the first $25 billion or $50 billion valuation be far behind?

European tech will become better distributed in 2017

In part due to Brexit, but also because of the standard network effects of big business (education expanding, governments raising technology funds, etc.), European centers of excellence will not remain so focused on the UK. London will cede some talent and capital to Paris, Berlin, Stockholm and Helsinki, and there are already secondary upstarts, including Munich, Zurich, Copenhagen and Lisbon. Interestingly, talent is the leading reason founders locate to a city, beating access to money by 27%.[3]

Further, there is a lot of dry powder being stacked up on the other side of the pond. U.S. Venture Capital Firms are investing more in Europe (average increase of 88% every year since 2011), and I believe we should expect an 80% increase again in 2017. Where this capital goes will depend on where the talent is, and that talent, perhaps tempted to remain in place (rather than migrate to the UK, which has been common for much of the past two decades), will build local engines of innovation all across the Continent.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Dominate Investment in Europe

Close to 1,000 deep tech startups, which include AI-based software, have been founded in Europe since 2014 with many more to come in 2017. $2.3 billion has been invested in deep tech in Europe since 2015, steadily increasing year over year – 4x the investment was made in 2016 versus 2011.[4]

Further, Europe has a recognized prominence in these fields, and top talent and entrepreneurship will become more regionally diverse. For example, there are already deep tech engineering centers of large U.S. tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft) in Germany, the UK and Switzerland. But, just as interesting, new graduates specializing in AI are most abundant in London, Paris and, yes, Madrid and Barcelona, which means that Southern Europe, often an also-ran in technology-related fields, is getting in on the action.

Europe is coming into its own

Technology as a business is strong globally. The U.S. is frequently the fastest-moving engine of innovation, financing and leadership, but Europe has been showing signs that it is ready to assume the role of #2 – with the world’s second-largest GDP, a massive population of over 500 million, and a renewed – and healthy – distribution of talent, it is set to break new boundaries in 2017.

[1]  Deep Tech = AI (machine learning, speech recognition, NLP, etc…), VR&AR, IoT and Hardware (drones robotics); VR/AR = Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and IoT = Internet of Things

[2]  Atomico | Slush, The State of European Tech;

[3]  Atomico | Slush, The State of European Tech;

[4]  Atomico | Slush, The State of European Tech;

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

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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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Livefyre – “Case Study: How to Tap into the Europe’s $18 Trillion”


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

Those of you who read my blog regularly know my passion for Latin America, but as part of my own rebalancing you’ll see some of my attention shifting to Europe where I believe the economics conditions are ripe for technology sales right now.

Europe is such a tease…  It’s sitting right there, all $18 trillion of in GDP, so close but so out of reach. Setting up shop in the Europe can be a costly, lengthy hassle – probably beyond your budget and time horizon.  If you’re an emerging tech company seeking to lock in major foreign clients, you want the marketshare dominance but you may be loathe to expend the resources associated with opening and investing in a foreign office and hiring local employees prematurely. This is an understandably frustrating position.  You want it. You can’t have it, it appears.

This is the challenge faced by Livefyre, the social engagement platform.  They were ready to scale sales globally, and Europe was the right region. But the restrictive EU labor laws and an estimated 12-months of investing critical resources just to set up a subsidiary and hire locals did not make sense.  Yet, they found a way to make it work.

Launching in the EU turned out to be not so daunting once Livefyre found a proven On-Demand Sales Agent model. US tech companies can engage European sales managers from major corporations who offer their contacts and skills as part of a group called Sales Force Europe.  These sales managers can operate with an established network of relationships on a part or full-time basis in a variety of European countries simultaneously.

Livefyre followed the same path that TiVo, EyeFi, and RingCentral pursued in the earlier stages of international growth by signing on to Sales Force Europe’s On-Demand Sales service.  Within four weeks, Sales Force Europe trained a senior sales manager, who came from the same industry in Europe, on Livefyre’s products.

The On-Demand Sales Agent model gave Livefyre the following advantages:

– A local presence in the EU without having to set up an office.

– A local sales hire without needing to obligate the company with burdensome EU – employment regulations.

– A fast track to a rich EU sales pipeline.

Within three months, Livefyre closed their first strategic deal with a major player that established regional credibility. In less than 9 months, Sales Force Europe had closed multi-million dollar deals for Livefyre with a pipeline many four times as great.

Stay tuned for more!

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Sales Outsourcing Story About Sales Force Europe – The SFE Way

Sales outsourcing and go-to-market sales in Europe can be daunting for American tech companies and failure is expensive. If you know someone that may have Europe on the 2016 radar, then this short YouTube will increase their chances of success.

Video Transcript:

Since the beginning of time, we’ve always wanted to go further, cross the oceans and conquer new frontiers at great risks, costs, and delays. Opportunities were achieved by the wise.

This is a story of Sales Force Europe. Imagine a man, a man with an idea, an idea that turns into a business and a company that wants to grow. The question is, “How can the company reach new markets?”

One way to begin is by taking hundreds of planes, opening new offices, hiring people, paying for lawyers, all while losing track of the goal – revenue and profit.

Is there a better way? Here is where Sales Force Europe comes in. How do we work?

One, we get to know the company and propose a strategy.

Two, we test markets before major investments are made.

Three, we prepare SFE people located in qualified target markets to be part of the client’s team.

Four, we find customers, close deals and grow revenue and profits, all in the name of our clients.

The Sales Force Europe service has many benefits. Cost savings, fast time to market, reduced risks, clear objectives, local knowledge of the target markets, experienced team and achieving revenue and profit objectives without the headaches of flights, recruitment and offices.

That makes the man with the idea a very happy man indeed.

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Rebalancing Our Tech Sales Portfolio: What Hedge Funds Can Teach You About Global Sales Strategy

What Hedge Funds Can Teach You About Global Sales Strategy

Albert Costilo – August 3, 2015
Any savvy financial advisor knows the importance of a balanced portfolio, and this is also true for global sales strategies. In my next series of mini-blogs I will apply a variety of approaches to evaluate sales opportunities in Europe specifically for U.S. technology companies.
The bullish “highs” in emerging markets ranging from Sao Paulo to Shanghai has been quite addicting for US corporations, the stock market, especially given the dynamics resulting from the US quarterly-earnings CEO fiat. I believe it’s time to re-balance our sales portfolio and return our attention to Europe, where there is a very specific export opportunity for America’s most cutting edge technology companies, many of them early stage and venture funded.
Let’s begin with the largest opportunity for technology companies, which is ITC infrastructure required for hosting the latest and greatest technologies — whether it be the Internet of Things, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Cyber-Security, Smart Grid, or variety of enterprise applications delivered through mobile broadband networks.
Seven of the top 10 most tech-ready countries are in Europe according to the 2015 Global Information Technology Report, published by INSEAD in partnership with the World Economic Forum and Johnson Cornell University. As a result of this infrastructure, European regions such as the Nordics, DACH, Benelux, and British Isles have higher percentages of their populations in knowledge-intensive jobs and workforces that can benefit from the mentioned technologies.
This is where we come in. We offer American technology companies the ability to quickly and efficiently expand into Europe with flexible, on demand, senior sales managers with a rolodex. You can put sales “boots on the ground” in Europe a lot more quickly, with less risk, and with a lower investment than if you tried to set up the whole thing on your own. We enable you to operate in multiple European countries at the same time, utilizing full and part-time in key countries. You can save money and certainly beat your American competitors to market while advancing your sales agenda in Europe.
Stay tuned for more!

Albert M. Costilo
Vice President, Business Development
M: +1 301 661 0167
Skype acostilo

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CALIENT – “Partners with Sales Force Europe to Expand International Sales”

Brings Speed-of-Light Optical Switching to European Telcos and Datacenters

CALIENT Technologies, Inc., the global leader for Optical Circuit Switching technology and Sales Force Europe, a provider of on-demand sales professionals who work in 27 countries and 14 languages, today announced a partnership to expand international sales of CALIENT’s S-Series optical switching solutions into Europe.

The partnership will leverage Sales Force Europe’s established relationships with European telco operators, datacenter vendors, and large enterprises to introduce CALIENT’s optical circuit switching technology to European networks. CALIENT’s light-speed switches are used by many of North America’s top ISPs and Internet infrastructure vendors to improve network throughput and lower latency.

“Through our sales partnership with Sales Force Europe, CALIENT is able to immediately address the demand we have from customers in Europe and simultaneously manage our aggressive goals to expand across the region,” said Erik Leonard, CALIENT’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Business Development. “We wanted an experienced team to help drive our sales efforts with service providers, datacenters and partners.”

Sales Force Europe (SFE) helps high-tech companies to launch, develop and expand their sales internationally. With a team of 65+ sales experts, SFE has successfully introduced more than 100 technology companies into the EMEA and Latin American markets. SFE specializes in Telecom, Enterprise/Cloud, Consumer Electronics and Channel Distribution.

“SFE is committed to providing our best-in-class sales expertise to expand adoption of CALIENT’s Optical Circuit Switching technology throughout Europe,” said Rick Pizzoli, CEO of Sales Force Europe. “With our elite group of sales professionals, SFE’s mission is to optimize CALIENT’s revenue and streamline their sales operations across European markets. We are thrilled to partner with CALIENT as they are the leader in their space.”

Data centers and Internet service providers use optical circuit switches in their networks to provide very low latency, high-speed transport networks for persistent traffic flows. CALIENT switches are popular among cloud datacenters and service provider networks where their small size, ultra-low power consumption, and unlimited scalability are enabling new breakthroughs in reducing network costs and improving efficiency.

About Sales Force Europe

Sales Force Europe provides contract sales teams that accelerate time-to-market and minimize risk for companies seeking to expand sales in Europe and other international markets. Successful companies including Livefyre, Streetline, and RingCentral have tapped Sales Force Europe to quickly and profitably expand their businesses abroad. SFE’s on-demand sales professionals efficiently and effectively represent companies abroad and use local market knowledge and sales contacts to manifest revenues quickly. SFE works in 27 countries and 14 languages throughout Europe and can be contracted on a part-time or full-time basis. For more information on SFE services, visit us at:

About CALIENT Technologies

CALIENT Technologies is the global leader in pure photonic Optical Circuit Switching with systems that enable dynamic optical layer optimization in next generation datacenters, software defined networks, and media production facilities worldwide.  CALIENT’s 3D MEMS switches provide optical path switching at up to seven-times lower cost than conventional packet-based solutions. The company designs and builds its systems using its own state-of-the-art MEMS Fab facility located at its corporate headquarters in Santa Barbara, California.  For more information, visit CALIENT at, on Twitter and LinkedIn, or contact us at:

Media contacts:

Sales Force Europe:

Rocket Science (Sales Force Europe PR Team)

Renee Newby

+1 757-651-6554


CALIENT Technologies:

CALIENT Technologies PR Team

David Rodewald

+1 805-494-9508

SFE fast tracks Livefyre’s international sales growth

download SFE fast tracks Livefyre’s international sales growth PDF Download

In the 7 months since social media integrator, Livefyre, signed up with Sales Force Europe (SFE), sales have rocketed. They won their first deal in less than 10 weeks and sales just keep on growing.

“Fantastic partnership” for sales growth

“I’m a huge supporter of Sales Force Europe” said Scott Sorochak, Livefyre’s SVP Global Sales and Client Services. “They do a good job of qualifying seasoned, very experienced people with the right expertise. We get the benefit of both worlds. It is a fantastic partnership so far.”

  • Within 4 weeks of working together, SFE had trained a sales person on Livefyre’s products
  • Within 3 months they closed a large strategic deal with Timeout
  • In under 9 months SFE had closed deals in the millions with a pipeline 4 times that amount
  • The success has been so good that Livefyre only uses SFE for sales outside the USA
  • SFE now has 10 salespeople and 1 sales engineer working for Livefyre, covering Europe, South America, and Asia-Pacific.

Livefyre – generating outstanding value from social media

Livefyre ( takes all the social media conversations about each of its clients and brings them back to their own web site – boosting website traffic, increasing engagement and driving up revenue. Social media content is a hot space. Livefyre’s products are so good that more than 600 of the world’s largest publishers and brands now use them.

Scott gave an example of how Livefyre helps its customers, bringing it to life:

“When XFactor, one of our customers, became very popular, people went to their site to see the performers. Then, over the years, their site traffic dropped. Visitors now watch their favourite stars on YouTube or Facebook and follow them on Twitter. What’s more, users on these different sites do not meet or interchange ideas. Livefyre has turned that around for them. We bring these conversations back onto XFactor’s own site, so their site traffic has increased significantly and they gain from the mass of traffic across all these popular social sites. This dramatically increases social engagement and revenue.”

The value Livefyre offers is blindingly powerful. Their case studies are compelling. At a time when readership numbers for traditional forms of publishing have plummeted and clients are spending far less on advertising, Livefyre provides exactly what they need – a powerful reason for clients to want to advertise and to pay more for the adverts. Livefyre “ingests” relevant social media content right into the body of articles. So advertisements are far more relevant. Therefore click-throughs, time on site and conversion rates for the advertisements are far higher than their customers expect. This means that the world’s top brands are paired with the most “relevant” publishers and users, creating an extremely powerful advertising ecosystem with results well above industry average. With all that, and Livefyre’s excellent customer service, it is no wonder that retention is outstandingly high – above 98%! As if that is not enough, they are innovating rapidly, with new features and functionality being deployed every month.

SFE – rocketing sales internationally for Livefyre

The leaders at Livefyre have very big dreams and aggressive sales targets.

Once Livefyre was established in the USA they wanted to expand internationally. Past experience taught them that hiring sales staff in Europe and S. America can be filled with potential pitfalls. So, to achieve their international growth objectives more quickly, with less risk and less up-front cost, they outsourced the job to sales growth experts Sales Force Europe (

Robb Miller, Head of Global Sales at Livefyre, explains why Sales Force Europe is such a good choice:

  • They allow us to ramp up faster
  • I was immediately impressed with the candidates. They are all senior sales guys with extensive rolodexes and, in no time at all, they were booking 20, 30, 40 meetings with just the right target prospects. That is special
  • I do not need to spend anything like as much time in Europe etc.
  • We avoid the massive HR burden brought about by onerous European laws. Having to wait 6 months to end a contract if it does not work out would be disastrous for a start-up business
  • If someone does not work out SFE easily finds someone else – although, so far, we have not let anyone go
  • We do not have the massive expense of setting up offices in each of the countries
  • SFE’s pricing structure means up-front costs are much lower than hiring full time people – and then, when we win business, the commissions are really good so everyone benefits

“We are all maniacally focused on selling to large companies and have ramped up very efficiently” said Robb.

Livefyre support SFE to maximise their sales growth

Livefyre does a great deal to maximise their investment with Sales Force Europe:

  • They ensured that their value proposition was so good that their products sold well in their home country before they considered expanding overseas
  • They created a month-long training programme with Sales Force Europe for all sales people
  • They developed strong sales processes (e.g. regular review sessions)
  • They manage and rate the team as highly as they would their own staff
  • They have sales support people to help the sales people convert the deals
  • Scott and Robb initially spent a chunk of time in the relevant countries and continue to regularly visit the teams to ensure performance continually improves

Would you like to see international results like these?

Call or Skype Rick or Mike at SFE today to discuss how it would work for you.

Tel:           +1 415 666 2890 (USA – 8am to noon) or  +44 (0)2076648764 (UK)
Skype:    rpizzoli  and mike_shephard
Or email

Growth With Full-Service Sales Agencies

download SFE article Targeting The Right International Markets PDF Download

A Sales Agency offering a full portfolio of services will help your company grow quickly with low risks and costs

As a start-up, you and your management team are able to find your first customers by networking with your contacts in your target markets. After signing your initial references, you build your sales team to find new deals and to manage relationships with existing accounts. You soon face the dilemma of generating growth while managing time and costs. This problem is particularly challenging when expanding to international markets.

A specialized Sales Agency offers a practical solution to this issue, allowing you to operate at lower costs, faster time to market and reduced risks versus hiring direct. In addition, an agency’s representatives are immediately available and known entities. They are trained and selling in 1-3 months versus typically 6-12 months when hiring direct, generating revenue in 3-6 months from start, with no additional costs or legal overhead.

A good agency should also be able to offer you a full spectrum of sales services in all your target markets. Successful sales are the result of different complementary sales methods including local sales representation supported by push and pull marketing programs that boost sales efficiency.

The potential markets of a sales agency


The core of your market presence is an in-country Sales Representative with a deep experience of local business and of its practices and traditions. Becoming part of your own organisation (concept of ‘in-sourcing’), such a rep executes the strategies and tactics you define, represents your company to its best advantage and resolves local problems efficiently.

Senior in-country sales representatives have a solid experience and contacts in channel sales or direct sales in all major markets in across the world. A good agency should also offer sales management services and a range of sales and marketing support services.

Yet, in many cases, a representative can be more effective with the help of complementary push-pull marketing programs that create or stimulate demand generation and lead generation:

  • Digital Marketing pulls potential customers towards your website, making them aware first of your existence, then of your offering and its benefits. Methods include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), targeted digital advertising and professional presence on social networks such as LinkedIN, Facebook, Google+, etc.  The execution of such programs in local language is critical to establish notoriety in international markets.
  • TeleMarketing and eMail Marketing generate qualified leads by proactively identifying sales opportunities, by creating and nurturing professional contacts until prospects are ready for a proposal, and by realizing additional revenue opportunity from existing accounts. Telemarketing can also be used for appointment setting if your product is a complex system requiring your direct involvement in the sales process.

In short, the combination of effective methods from a full spectrum of sales services allows you to eliminate most of the risks and costs associated with international expansion, to immediately start business development, and to create a strong basis for future expansion.

Targeting The Right International Markets

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Basic principles for selecting the best countries for international market expansion

When -as a small/medium business- you start reaching saturation in your local market, it is time to plan expanding abroad to generate further growth. The alternative -further investing in R&D to expand your product into new applications- soon faces barriers of saturation, competition and complexity and it can therefore prove more costly.

Going into international markets is not as difficult as it seems at first glance if you plan sensibly your entry into foreign countries and invest only when you have tested your chances of success. The three main questions you need to answer are:

1. When to ‘go international’?
2. Where to go?
3. How to go?

[1] When?

You are ready for international once you have achieved initial success in your home market and have a proven offering with a solid differentiation; ‘happy’ clients as references; established operational processes; and tested effective sales and marketing tools.

You also need commitment from your management and investors; buy-in, communication and participation at all levels; clear objectives for international team; international investment budget per department; clear roles & responsibilities for the home team.

Finally, your offer needs to be properly productized, packaged, priced and localized for the target markets.

[2] Where?

Determining the ‘right’ foreign countries depends on many factors including the size of the potential market; the strength of the local competition; the distance from your home location (time zones matter); and cultural considerations such as language, business customs and openness to foreign suppliers.

Neighboring countries can be a reasonable first step but you could by hampered by regional rivalries, historical bones of contention and, merely, the lack of potential growth.

Large countries such as -in Europe- Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Spain represent a priori a large potential but you could face intense competition and high entry costs (e.g. translation of all documents into local language).
Smaller countries such as -in Europe- Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria are usually more open to international trade (by necessity) and relatively easier to penetrate. Many of them are comfortable with English and require significantly lower entry investments.

Ultimately, since your business (and, hopefully, your offering) is different from all the others, the best way to select the right markets is to test different countries for a period of three to six month, refine your ‘pitch’ and invest in the ones with the best practical potential.


When in fact international business development requires a local presence, you don’t necessarily have to establish a local subsidiary with all the costs and risks that such a major commitment represents.

Instead of hiring permanent local employees, you can outsource sales to well qualified representatives, starting quickly on a small basis and grow. Specialized sales outsourcing companies such as Sales Force Europe can offer you representatives with suitable experience in all major countries.

If you offer complex products or services, you also need, in addition to sales representatives, local partner organizations able to perform technical tasks including installation, maintenance, support and other specialized jobs. In the high-tech sector, such organizations are local System Integrators, Service Providers, Distributors, Value-Added Resellers or similar companies. More on this in our previous article:
The rewards of sales outsourcing and partnering with local organizations are the creation of a productive long-term relationship and the development of solid international foundations.