In today’s globally connected world, it is quite common for organizations to organically grow via inbound leads from other parts of the world. While there is enough business to be earned in North America alone for most companies, there are a smaller number of organizations that need to reach beyond their original borders to continue tapping into and seizing a larger share of their total addressable market. The argument can easily be made, with data supporting it, that a geographical presence is no longer necessary with much of the technological workforce dispersed. That being said, the feeling of wanting to connect, in person, with the person you are doing business with still remains for most individuals. This is especially true for deal sizes stretching into six figures. Rising wages, inflation, the cost of travel going up, and a slew of other factors drive organizations to look at channel partners as a logical way to enter a foreign market. Software and hardware companies looking to grow internationally cannot afford to make huge bets on geo talent, benefits, and office locations only for them to fail. So, they look to channel partners to test the market’s appetite for their products and services. By leveraging channel partners to reach internal markets, organizations can take advantage of local knowledge, local competitors, the buying landscape, and shifting economic or political events that might influence success. It may seem like leveraging channel partners to reach internationally has all the upside advantages, and none of the downside risks, which is not false. That being said, there are a couple of things that should be considered prior to commit to the time, resources, and potentially even dollar investments to recruit and enable international partners in the first place.
Your company’s culture, the culture of your target partner’s company, language preferences, cultural differences specific to the nationality or ethnicity of the geography you are hoping to go into... All these things need to be considered prior to go all in on expansion into that territory. For example, if your company is a highly transactional sales machine that closely resembles Boiler Room, then you will have a lot of friction working in a part of the world where relationships are built over time, and trust is something that is core to the future mutual growth. Markets like those in Japan, Germany, France, and a few others do not necessarily always default to English being their choice of business language. If your assumption is that your organization can go into those markets without a native speaker, you will quickly lose all potential interest in doing business with your organization.
Contrasting definitions of success:
Success in your organization might not be aligned with how your partner defines success for their organization. For example, a common one for organizations looking to grow internationally is a misalignment between the importance of one-time professional services revenue, recurring managed services revenue, and recurring software revenue. B2B software companies in North America place the majority of their emphasis on recurring software revenue, however for partner organizations that live and die by their Managed Services offerings this could directly contradict their focus. When evaluating which geographies to expand into, which channel partners to recruit, and defining your go-to-market strategies internationally with channel partners this is something to keep in mind. Conclusion:Could it be worth it? The short answer is absolute, YES! Leveraging channel partners to expand internationally is a financially responsible way of exploring what a global growth engine could do for your company. Just keep in mind that the way companies like to do business in North America is not always the same in other parts of the world. As cliché as it might sound, always seek to understand before being understood when engaging with international channel partners. Request a demo today to learn how Vartopia can help you measure the success of your International partner program.