How to Prepare your Team to Enter a New Market

Companies who are looking to expand to new markets are often facing a variety of challenges. We have previously spoken about how important your mindset is for expansion and how you can prepare for it, but in this article, we will be focusing on how to prepare your team.

The team is what can make or break a company and an expansion. Having the right people with the right mindset to match your goals is very important. When looking to expand to a new market, it is imperative to align with your team on the goal, as well as, working out how to collaborate with the team tackling the new market.

When it comes to setting up a team for a new market (assuming you have already validated that market), there are a series of important steps to review to make sure that both your team and the new team for the expansion, are ready to work at full capacity.

Be crystal clear on goals and accountability

Once you have validated a market and verified that your mindset is ready for the expansion, it is time to communicate this with your team. You will need to be very clear about what the goals for the new market are, what the expectations are, the backup plans, how you will continuously evolve the strategy and how it will impact everyone else who is involved. It is very important to have your team on the same page as you and to understand the nuances of why this market expansion is important.

Furthermore, you need to sit down with the key players in your team so that they can understand what they will or will not be accountable for when executing the expansion. One of the biggest challenges we see teams face is a lack of structure and accountability, either falling into the ‘everyone does everything’ situation or the ‘that’s not my responsibility, is it?’ scenario.

Setting up the team in a new market

Setting up a team in a new market can be rather challenging, and has multiple approaches. Through our experience, we see two common patterns companies follow:

Pattern #1: A senior team member leads the expansion

Companies can often assign the new market expansion to a senior member within the team. This member will move to the new market, embed themselves within the local ecosystem and oversee the hiring and management of the new local team.

Pros:

  • A core member, who is experienced with your product and has been a member of your team for a while. They know the product well, and understand how the company works
  • Can leverage the core company culture and connect the new team with the existing team quicker and easier.
  • Their knowhow and background with the company can bring a needed element of experience to the team to accelerate and drive sales within the market

Cons:

  • There can be cultural and language barriers, which would need to be overcome by relying on a different, local team member
  • There is a risk that the core team’s way of working doesn’t translate well to the new culture

Pattern #2: A local manager is hired to lead the expansion

In this scenario, a local manager is identified and hired for the position, usually the best candidates in this space is either someone who knows the local market very well, has worked there for many years, and has bilingual (if needed) capabilities, or, someone who worked in the industry while overseas and has returned to their local market. Once this local manager is hired, they would then be in charge of building up the local team.

Pros:

  • Enables local culture and ways of working to be implemented effectively while connecting to the core framework and values of the head office
  • A local team can handle customers in the market effectively without any language or cultural barriers
  • They will be able to navigate the local ecosystem and market faster

Cons:

  • There is a possibility of misalignment between the new team and the core team
  • It takes time for the new team to be familiar enough with the product and the company to effectively get everything up and running

Implement clear processes and procedures

As the team grows and you bring in new members in a different geography, it is important to make sure that clear processes and procedures are implemented. Make sure that you have the right people assisting you in the new geography to navigate local requirements and laws, as well as, set up a structure to make sure that reporting and the needed information is being communicated back to the central team.

Without implementing a clear structure, there is a risk of chaotic growth being developed, where problems are solved by the people who find them, and ‘duct taped’ together in order for the day-to-day runnings to continue. However, this usually eats into efficiencies and causes issues later as a ‘duct taped’ solution may not be solving the root cause.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Have you clearly communicated your goals and intentions for a new market to your team?
  • Does your team feel like they have enough information regarding the new market?
  • When setting up a new team in a new market, is the leader of that team someone you can rely on?
  • Do you have a local team in your new market which can help you navigate the cultural and language barriers?
  • Have you implemented a clear process for workflow, reporting, and all other related items for your business?
  • If a new problem was discovered, does your team report the issue and work on problem solving it effectively?

Interested in joining a dynamic program to support you through your Market Entry needs and collaborate with you to achieve commercial outcomes. Explore one of our market entry programs now.

This article is part of the Understanding Market Expansion Series, stay tuned for more articles and insights.

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Written by
Meghan Bridges
September 27, 2022
Marketing Director, Rainmaking Expand

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