International Business Strategy : How to set up
Your international Business Strategy is a matter of long-term vision and ambition. We can support your in depth thinking with great equipment and approach.
Successful international expansion factors
“The Queen’s Gambit” contains the secrets of an exceptional success: this iconic series stages the journey of a gifted chess, Beth Harmon.
There are all the qualities to be inspired by for successful international expansion.
- The choice of the opening in chess (Sicilian, game of the queen …) is a critical moment for control of the chessboard. In its international strategy, it is necessary to start with a good “openness”; a bad choice (of country, business model, sales channel, country owner …) at the start leads to a considerable waste of time and money.
- In her orphanage, Beth at night simulates matches on the dormitory ceiling. The international, like chess, cannot be improvised. Preparation, anticipation, and thinking about the next move are the key to success.
- Beth surrounds herself with Mentors and works with her previous opponents to challenge the world champion Borgof. You have to study and know your opponent and your playing field perfectly. Learning and acculturation make a difference.
- Her opponents, Harry Beltik and Benny Watts will each, in turn and, in their own way, help Beth to get out of her addictions and win against the Russian champions. Internationally, you learn above all from your competitors, you have to study the market.
- Beth launches into attacks that seem unlikely. Internationally, you have to know how to test, persist, adapt, differentiate yourself, and be daring.
International Development Strategy: Opportunities and Challenges
An international development strategy opens up new horizons, but also involves obstacles that should not be overlooked. Internationalization allows companies to accelerate their development and their “coming of age”.
Global Expansion Models
Different approaches depending on your business DNA can be adopted.
- Gradual International Presence, also called Uppsala model
- Network Model
- Born Global Model
Benefits of International Business Development
- Set out to conquer new markets and outlets
- Achieve economies of scale
- Distribute the risks between different markets.
- Confronting different competitors and anticipating market developments
- Expanding its pool of talents, particularly in R&D
- An international presence is also a commercial argument, because it is an element of credibility and enhancement of the company’s offer to its prospects. References from international clients are multiple ambassadors to accelerate its growth.
International Expansion and Differentiation
Today, the international strategy is no longer an option, it is an obligation if you want a long-term business project. But, internationally, the best does not work. You have to be different.
The Blue Ocean Approach helps build your differentiated value proposition
Global Expansion self-assessment
Ask yourself the right questions:
- What is the maturity of the target country for my solution? (digital maturity, infrastructure, consumption habits)
- Do I have a good knowledge and understanding of the country (Organization, commercial process, sales / purchasing cycles, cultural springs, etc.)
- List all obstacles (legal and administrative constraints, lobbyists, local / national preferences, unions, etc.)
- Check legitimacy (I am a French company, am I legitimate in Foodtech …)
- Review resources you can use (will I find the right salespeople, the right country bosses, etc.)
Reviewing the Scope
In short, being successful internationally requires a minimum of preparation.
The McKinsey 7 s are providing a good initial scope for your preparation.
Prioritize your markets
For a first step in internationalization, it is preferable to favor a local market which limits the risks and makes it possible to test the product / market suitability before making significant localization investments.
Proximity is a key driver
- Geographic – (control of operations / centralization of certain operations / time slots ..)
- Cultural / Legal (marketing and commercial approach, negotiation approach, data protection law, etc.)
- Economy – Size and maturity of the market – price pressure – price / profitability elements – costs (salary / marketing / taxation / Ease of recruitment…) – Currency / invoicing / consolidation
Main Obstacles to Global Expansion
- Language: it obviously constitutes a barrier to entry. While English generally allows you to be understood anywhere, mastering the language of the target space is a real plus! It will allow you to communicate more fluidly and avoid misunderstandings.
- Culture: a lack of knowledge of the habits and customs of the markets in which a company wishes to establish itself can be detrimental to the success of the process. For example, the Chinese like to take all their time in negotiations, and portray Westerners’ eagerness as a sign of weakness. Or, the Russians prefer to negotiate as a team and give little credibility to a French company which delegates to them a single representative.
- Legislation: It is already difficult to know French legislation well, so getting to grips with that of other countries is a difficult task. In order to avoid risks and identify possible opportunities, be sure to document yourself well and surround yourself with specialists.
- Adapting your offer to local demands: McDonald’s has conquered the world, but it hasn’t happened without a few tweaks! French fries are served with a sachet of seaweed in Asia; burgers are served with rice cakes in India. Restaurants offer vegetarian burgers since the majority of the population does not eat either beef or pork in India.
- To succeed internationally, it is essential to take into account local specificities and adapt your offer to them.
International Business development models
Before getting started, you must already be clear about the business model to put in place. What Go To Market: Several conquest strategies are possible: e-commerce, creation of a local subsidiary, import of your products via partnerships with local distributors, etc.
You will also need to define your targets. The people who consume your offer in France will not necessarily be the same abroad. Market studies will therefore be necessary to find out who your buyers are in the targeted territories.
International Business Sales Methodology
The MEDDIC Method to develop the business strategy
- M for METRICS: What is the economic impact of the solution? We will seek to identify the benefit recognized by the prospect through the purchase of your solution
- E for Economic Buyer: Who is the budget decision maker? It is the equivalent of Authority “of the BRANT method
- D for Decision: What are the criteria used to benchmark the offers of the various providers considered?
- D (the second) for Decision Process: What is the process used to select the solution?
- I for Identified Pain: What is your prospect problem that must be resolved at this very precise moment?
- C as champion: Who has the power to influence, to prescribe, to implement. Who will be your Ambassador
Also, in a more complete version we add the Administrative, Legal, and Procedural elements. They are synthesized in the form of P for Papers and the competitive elements represented by the C of competitors. Thus, we will obtain the acronym MEDDPICC.
Finally, as part of your prospecting, you will need to rely on quality information, which will support your development.
Adapt your marketing internationally
To enable you to meet your local targets, your actions (web marketing) will of course have to adapt to different markets. The starting point is to translate your site and your brochures into English, or even directly into the languages of the countries concerned to gain proximity. However, translation work is not always enough. Ideally, it should be accompanied by marketing thinking to adapt the messages and visuals to the intended targets.
Indeed, your SEO and social media strategy will also have to take into account local specificities. In China, for example, you will have to be referenced on Baidu as a priority, and not on Google. Also note that each country has its own social networks, on which you may find it beneficial to create an account. Also, don’t forget the opportunity to post online ads on Google and other media that are available in multiple languages.
The means of deploying the international development strategy
- Direct Export
- The establishment of structures: Office, Subsidiaries, Branches, Joint-Venture
- The network of Partners; Distributors, Importers, Franchise Network
- Native internationalization (implementation of Online sales, Centralization, Multi-Country / Multi-cultural deployment at the “birth of the company”)
- The sale of licenses
- Choose your mode of international presence
Market Entry Modes
Development on the international market can be articulated through
- Greenfield – Direct establishment in a market without a partner
- Local acquisition for distribution, Localization or both
Commercial / Distribution partnership
- Production or Technological Partnership
- Centralized Marketing on a Country / Online Platform + Seated Sales Representatives
- License of the solution for white label use
These approaches can be combined or organized in sequences. In most cases, the creation of an international platform integrating data and signals and possibly a website would be a preparatory step.
Direct establishment by opening an office, subsidiary or branch in a market is a development option in Europe. The advantage of this approach is the retention of independence and control of the development process. It takes longer than an agreement with a local actor and can be very financial consuming. Interesting in a long-term strategy.
We support growth companies, start-ups, scale-ups, and their investors / VCs towards a successful internationalization.
Our partner network covers local offices in over 20 countries and offers a high level of diversity, competencies, and experience.
About Emmanuel Facovi the Founder and Managing Partner
As former CEO / senior executive (Nokia, Coface, FCI, Kompass, Schneider, Areva…) his expertise consists in leading tech companies (SaaS, marketplaces, Techs) with ambitious growth objectives in fast-changing environments.
He is a cross-cultural high technology executive passionate about new technology, innovation, disruptive models, and above all, scaling up your business globally. One of the most renowned Experts in Data, Marketing Strategies of Tech and Digital Industries,
As an« all-rounder» entrepreneur with a proven track record of building high-performing teams, he has a wide skill set ranging from Strategy and International Sales performance, also encompassing Finance, Marketing/advertising and legal/HR/culture.
He is an enthusiastic leader, keen on making sure that the office develops every day into an even “Greater Place to work”, gathering professionals of diverse talents who succeed together with a common vision in mind.