Expanding to the US Market – Sales, Business Development and Marketing Strategies

Bob Fucci launched GrowthXceleration in 2014. It was obvious to me that European, growth oriented B2B companies, had a solvable challenge that we could help with. How do we gain a foothold in the US market, with manageable costs and minimal risk?

I traveled extensively across Europe and met talented leaders and proven teams that repeatedly solved business problems for their clients. Too often, these companies saw the US as an expensive and high-risk proposition. The distance, perceived costs, the assumption that location determined vendor selection, and other reasons cemented the idea that their solution would not be accepted in the US. I saw an opportunity to represent these companies, with great pride and conviction.

GrowthXceleration focuses on four key “pillars” in helping close new business for our international clients:

  1. Pillar 1 – Research and Finding the Right Buyers
  2. Pillar 2 – Representing Our Client with Pride, Preparation, and Value
  3. Pillar 3 – Build Trust – Solve, Don’t Sell
  4. Pillar 4 – Closing Using Optionality

Pillar 1 – Research and Finding the Right Buyers

Growthxceleration combines the best practices of Strategic Selling and Virtual selling. Research from McKinsey shows that about three-quarters of buyers prefer initial contact via remote, digital interactions.  Growthxceleration’s’ lead generation process drives meaningful conversations:

Buyer personas are an essential component of the sales and marketing strategy and execution. The benefit of creating personas is that you can use those insights to make informed decisions about the best way to reach and engage with your target audience, so you can successfully attract and acquire customers.

Pillar 2 – Representing Our Client With Pride, Preparation, and Value

Before beginning any product demonstration or a presentation, I always ask if I can take 5 minutes to provide more insight into our company, our focus and investment areas, and introduce members of our team that will support them. I explain that it will help provide a complete picture so once they see the product, they will better understand not only the product, but the value we are determined to deliver.

I typically start with an overview of the Product Development and Engineering teams. I explain the focused priorities of the group and the ways we are investing in that organization. Clients and partners want to know that we value this team and are continually investing in them – those investments result in exceptional products.

I speak about Customer Success and Support. By explaining that a key focus is to optimize the client or partners benefits and utilization of the product (or service) I stress the importance that our relationship starts when the order is signed, and our focus is on delivering flawless execution and performance in supporting the client.

I speak about our field sales and pre-sales team. The importance placed in product knowledge, and commercial expertise, and their value to the company. This is the team that is closest to the client, and we want to empower them to accelerate sharing and learning from our clients and partners.

I finish by speaking about the company, the values are principles we operate the business by, and the leadership team’s role in remaining fully involved and integrated with clients and partners. Clients and partners need to hear specifically that product enhancements, new product development are often a result of customer requests. It’s essential to make the specific point that the collaboration is beginning and that the senior leaders of the company are active participants.

This approach helps me align more people from the client side to my team. All too often we are “single threaded” into opportunities and fail to develop coaches across the various teams that make up the client.

Pillar 3 – Build Trust – Solve, Don’t Sell

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”

Albert Einstein

In our work with clients, we examine the entire value proposition, refine, and we prioritize the business case and the business benefits. We quantify the benefits and continually validate our findings with the client. Let’s be honest, too many sales teams, especially remote selling teams “sell the demo”.

Too often, salespeople assume if a prospect is willing to spend an hour attending a remote product demonstration, they must be interested and have the intent to buy – in a high percentage of cases, this is untrue!

GrowthXceleration focuses on building and refining the customer business case, the ROI, the growth potential a solution provides to US clients – as is true in Europe, US companies will spend more and more freely to grow than to save money. There are several keys to building consensus when making the business case:

  • Write it down – Seems obvious but ALWAYS create a spreadsheet that documents and quantifies the business case.
  • Share it and solicit feedback to the buying teams – Prospects, Clients, Partners reward preparation and will offer valuable feedback and insight.
  • All feedback, even critical feedback is welcome – Accept all feedback and criticism. The goal is to make the client successful. When prospects participate, they are engaged and invested.
  • Build trust across the team – Business and personal relationships are critically important in the selection process.

Pillar 4 – Closing Using Optionality

Most sales teams recognize the critical importance of developing and delivering a completely aligned Solution and Pricing Proposal – When you are most confident, the client is the most uncertain.

  • You’ve agreed on the solution, the deployment, the measurement, and metrics.
  • Incorporate “Paid Pilots” – Pilots can be seen as less threatening and a way to limit risk.
  • Extended Initial Term – Understand the opportunities and challenges clients face when installing, integrating, testing, and training for new solutions. An “Extended Initial Term” delivers value to clients and vendors.
  • Multi-year Agreements – Always structure a compelling multi-year option licensing option. Doing so demonstrates commitment and confidence and conveys to the client that you and your company are 100% committed to their success.
  • Financing Partnerships and Options – In the US, Distribution and Financing partners are key to making the contracting and payment process flow smoothly.
  • Customer Success – Deliver proactive monitoring. It is key to ensure that when it comes time for renewal, your customers are happy and excited.

Taken together these pillars will also have a positive effect on proposal close rates and elevate your status toward becoming a Strategic Partner.

Please connect with me at [email protected]

About the author

Robert Fucci is the Founder of Robert is an accomplished Senior Executive with more than 25 years of success closing enterprise sales and alliance sales. Bob is a valuable resource for growth-oriented companies requiring sales and business development expertise. Robert’s broad areas of expertise also include Product Positioning and Sales and Go-To-Market Strategies, Partnership and Channel Strategies, and Advisory Services.

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