To quote our British colleagues, the tech world is especially good at carrying on. Of course, from a personal perspective, everyone is worried about this next wave, but from a business perspective, we’re always looking for new ways to grow. Which is indicative of why the tech industry not only was the first to bounce back by mid-2020, but it was the one that enabled every other industry to be more sustainable and resilient in 2021. Companies like Eero, Daon and Mila help distributed teams collaborate effectively.
Our team is feeling optimistic about the future of tech global expansion in 2022. Keep reading to learn why.
More than ever, tech startups and scale-ups are looking at international expansion. This normalization of remote communication has enabled us to hire the best people wherever they are, in order to reach the best clients, wherever they want to be. We’ve been forced away from international travel, but we’ve found that we can achieve good communication and still sell with a less physical presence.
What’s not accepted is calling into most European countries and speaking English — people still want to be talking to sales reps and SDRs that share their local culture, language and context. And, of course, as our partner Intralink’s Alan Mockridge put it: “Deals can most certainly be sealed from a distance – as long as you have skilled, well-connected people on the ground to represent you by opening doors, attending trade shows, building relationships and negotiating contracts on your behalf.”
As we move into 2022 with more uncertainty than hoped, we know it’ll be the year of hybrid sales. If you do need someone to shake a hand or share a coffee, you’re not going to travel there —you’re going to use someone already local and on the ground.
Overall, in the last year we’ve witnessed a greater willingness to work with third parties, to help you get the scope of the land and culture and to overcome logistic and bureaucratic hurdles. And it’s not just our team seeing more demand than ever. Globalization Partners has taken the idea of an employer of record — which takes responsibility for paying your employee — mainstream, allowing you to hire that perfect person for the job at hand, no matter where they live, without having to set up the expensive legal entity right away.
For Asia Market Entry’s James Kwa agreed, the fastest way to leave a lasting impact internationally is by partnering with local specialists to help with both market access — sales outsourcing, retail and channel sales partners — and capabilities — like recruitment, technology integration and operational setup partners. When we spoke to him recently at a conversation on closing your first deals in Asia versus Europe, he reminded us that his home market of Asia is actually ten different markets, so having a partner that understands these sensitivities becomes the difference between flop and fortune.
Now partnerships will vary — and they should be as flexible as your International growth plan should be. Sometimes it will be contracting a whole team, sometimes it’ll be hiring an expert consultant part-time. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is that in the last year or two, these third-party partnerships have become the M.O. for expanding abroad.
While tech teams are ready to take on the world, they are also better understanding that they can’t take it all on at once. Instead they need partners to help them test out individual local markets with the local language and culture skills. That’s why, for the last 18 years, we’ve focused on Europe and all the subtleties within it. Sure, you can manage it through regional sales management, but you rarely hear of a Global Head of Sales for a reason.
Furthermore, we are seeing a trend around partnering with a third party or comprehensive sales agency for a holistic team approach. Perhaps because companies are less looking to transplant successful teammates in new markets and countries, both us and our partners in Asia are finding an increase in demand for a full-service team engagement — support, customer service, lead generation, sales outsourcing, and content and digital marketing.
I think it’s because we can work like an instant team. After a year or so of waiting, hedging their bets, tech companies know it’s now or never — they just want to get to Europe already. But at the same time, they understand that you can’t conquer Europe in a couple months — it can take hours just on the game of Risk. Over the past year our tech clients have really understood that they need to invest time in the long game, and are more able to see the traction. And we’re excited to see it paying off.
Now, what about the hottest European startups in 2022? Thankfully we’re already representing a lot of them — check them out!
The fintech industry is probably the biggest European market disrupter right now. Open banking regulations like PSD2 have allowed fintechs to compete in Europe and even dominate some of the traditional players — far outweighing their North American counterparts. This is across all use cases including banking and payment alternatives like Nets and Wise, point-of-sale solutions like SumUp, invoicing, digitalization and, of course, the cryptocurrency space like Lunu and Bitpanda. In European markets — which have had contactless payments and no checkbooks for over a decade now — are eager customers of these cheaper banking alternatives with better customer experiences.
We continue to see Europe blossoming with MarTech opportunities, especially serving the rapidly digitizing retail space. Algonomy is revolutionizing retail algorithmic decision-making through holistic digital marketing, ecommerce, digital merchandising, analytics and the digital supply chain. Performance Bay offers services for advertisers, publishers and agencies, to allow them to market — and measure! — the diverse customer experiences of shopping, telco, travel and financial customers.
There’s a real opportunity for these MarTech offerings because European brick-and-mortars are really struggling to switch to a combination or purely e=commerce offering — as Gap moved to fully online across Europe earlier this year. The continent is filled with both coveted luxury and fast fashion and accessories. And there are tons of European branded products for clothing, food, drinks, and travel that need to get their message out there, but with 50 European countries, it’s a somewhat fragmented market, with lots of national retailers, where relationships in the local language matter most of all. Retail marketing requires local partnerships.
Of course, one of the biggest threats to any kind of business is hacking. Cybersecurity and compliance tooling will continue to gain the most investment in 2022. We are proud to represent impressive players in this space including Fidelis Cybersecurity, Deep Instinct, Verimatrix, and Zivver.
Other trends we’re excited about getting past the hype cycle include the low-code, no-code movement, democratizing the world of tech. Platform.sh is a great example of Platform-as-a-Service that all companies will now need. Overlapping in MarTech and low-code/no-code is Pyxis One, which provides the end-to-end experience that tech marketers expect, by connecting all your marketing experience through no-code AI infrastructure.
And, not surprising after AWS’s big announcement of its new sustainability pillar, GreenTech is here to stay, and organizations across all sectors and verticals better move fast to reduce their carbon footprint before regulations force them too. Specifically in the agro industry, our long-term client Yara International has always stood out. Now their Agoro Carbon Alliance is an exciting consortium launched this year, committed to decarbonizing farming on a global scale. Overall Europe seems to have embraced our necessarily greener future faster than the rest of the world, so when figuring out what is a good type of tech company to take to Europe, environmental tech is always a strong contender. Some of our other GreenTech clients include ENGIE Impact and InPost.
Wishing you a wonderful new year!
Sales Force Europe Team