Monthly Archives: April 2014

An American growing sales revenue in Europe

As an American living in Madrid, Rick Pizzoli is ideally placed to understand exactly how to fast track international sales for high-tech businesses across Europe and Latin America.

So how did it start, and what have you learnt?

It was a mixture of a few things. I’d worked at Nortel in Europe and we’d used agents to develop markets in the Middle East and Africa. This was pretty successful. Then I was VP Europe for a Silicon Valley based company called Maple Optical Systems. I hired fulltime regional European sales people and engineers to penetrate the tier 1 Telco’s in Europe. Next I went to work for a Spanish software company as VP Europe signing up channel partners to increase sales.

The essential lessons I learned about international sales are that:

• To be effective in Europe you need local people, otherwise results are slow
• Once a sales team was engaged, their time was not fully utilized selling one product into a handful of targets
• If they use spare time to call into other countries, the travel, language, culture and contact limitations mean they are no longer effective
• Cumbersome European labor laws make hiring and firing fulltime people a real challenge

So in 2003 I created the pan-European specialized technology sales team I needed, which could be engaged on a contract basis to penetrate target countries and verticals. I called it Sales Force Europe.

What are the benefits of using a country-specific sales force?

It has to be their network and influence. A local sales person will know how business works in their country. Plus they’ll be able to present your value proposition to their local contacts in their native language – which is essential.

Our customers save costs so they can spend more money on product development and so on. There is also a time-to-market benefit, because our sales teams can hit the ground running, targeting the right contacts with the most potential.

So what are your top three tips for companies thinking about expanding their business overseas?

1. You need to have a good product, finance and tech support already in place.
2. You need to be open to discuss target countries, verticals and revenue objectives.
3. You need to be willing to commit to the longevity of the engagement

You should see your first wins within three to six months, but it really takes a year to establish yourself in a new market, which takes investment and sticking power.

And finally, what brought you to Madrid?

I was based in London managing a pan-European business development team, so location didn’t matter. As Spain then deregulated its market it was the right place and time to make a move.

I love living here, with my wife and young daughter. It is a wonderful place to be.


Are you’re thinking of expanding internationally? Then call Rick today to discuss how this could work for you.

Tel: +1 415 666 2890 (USA. 8am to noon) or +44 (0)207 664 8764 (UK)
Email: [email protected]
Skype: Rpizzoli


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LATAM Training

El pasado viernes 28 de marzo, el FTTH Council de Latinoamérica concedió a la Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá, ETB, el premio al mejor carrier del año por su despliegue en Fibra Óptica en Colombia. Este éxito supone, también, el reconocimiento de LATAM Training como aliado estratégico de ETB, por la Capacitación de sus Técnicos de Construcción e Instalación de Fibra Óptica.

More information: click here

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  [email protected]

Livefyre – “Launches Sidenotes, Brings Annotations”

Release marks the first time this technology is available across billions of webpages.

Livefyre, provider of the leading real-time conversation and social curation platform, today announced it has launched Sidenotes, the world’s first widely available web annotation technology.

Livefyre Sidenotes inspires focused conversations by enabling users to engage directly with specific pieces of content as they read. With Sidenotes, readers can select any text or image on a page to start a conversation about that particular object. Users can also share Sidenotes to Twitter and Facebook, and tag friends to draw more people into the conversation from their social networks. With Sidenotes, every piece of content on the page becomes interactive.

Sidenotes appear as each user hovers his or her cursor over the content, making it effortless to discover and join new conversations as they read. Users can also upvote and downvote each other’s Sidenotes, ensuring the best user content always appears first. The entire Sidenotes experience is available on mobile interfaces as well, where it takes on a specific form perfectly built for mobile web interaction.

More information: click here

Hibox Systems – “chosen as a 2014 Red Herring Top 100 Europe”

Amsterdam, Netherlands – Red Herring announced its Top 100 award winners today, recognizing Europe’s leading private companies and celebrating these startups’ innovations and technologies across their respective industries.

Red Herring’s Top 100 Europe list has become a mark of distinction for identifying promising new companies and entrepreneurs. Red Herring’s editors were among the first to recognize that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype,, YouTube, and eBay would change the way we live and work.

“Selecting startups that show the most potential for disruption and growth is never easy,” said Alex Vieux, publisher and CEO of Red Herring. “We looked at hundreds and hundreds of candidates from all across the continent, and after much thought and debate, narrowed the list down to the Top 100 Winners. Each year, the competition gets tougher but we believe Hibox Systems demonstrates the vision, drive and innovation that define a Red Herring winner.”

More information: click here

Parker – “by Streetline Honored for Best Mobile App for City and Urban Innovation in the 18th Annual Webby Award”

FOSTER CITY, Calif. – April 8, 2014 –Streetline announced today that its leading guidance application, Parker™, has been honored for the Best Mobile App for City and Urban Innovation in the 18th Annual Webby Awards.

Continue reading Parker – “by Streetline Honored for Best Mobile App for City and Urban Innovation in the 18th Annual Webby Award”