B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 1 year ago

89: How to Win at International Expansion & Outbound Sales w/ Alfie Marsh

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

When it comes to international expansion,outbound sales is the quickest way to generate pipeline and revenue.

In this episode of B2B Revenue Acceleration, our host Aurelien Mottier interviews Alfie Marsh, Head of US Sales at Spendesk, about  the importance of outbound sales when a company is expanding internationally.

We talked about the SDR role in building pipeline as well as their importance in assessing product-market fit when a company is expanding into new territories.  

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

You are listening to B to B RevenueAcceleration, a podcast, dedicated helling software executives, stand onthe cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into theshell hi welcome to be to be revenue acceleration. My name is Onamit and I'mhere today with Alfimash ad o fewer sells at Spendesk W. Are you doingtoday? I'the I'm doing very well. Thank you. How are you doing yeswe Wandifferent time, sones at the moment as well? Arn't, we absolutely yeah. No,I'm doing great great great grat. It's a beautiful day here in the UK.Beginning of the winters is getting a bit cold, but the sun is out so nothingto complain about. Why are you bas today, I'm in San Francisco? So this isthe first Septemberto November period. I've actually had whilet living here,and this is the best time of the year apouny. So we've got blue skies, nice,Sun, the weather's good, and it does make me laugh every time I look back atmy friends and family and France and the UK are getting a wraped up for thecold yeah. Well, you know we actually have an Officein sonnes and when we goon the Bayarea Wyou. Actually I like to drive a few miles down. Whay, it's evenmors a NE. I can you can get calld, sometimes in SOM Francisco, but thereyou go. Our discussion today is focusing on international expension andoutdone Seles, but before we go into the conversation, would you mind justtelling us a little bit more about yourself healthy as well as the companyyou represent spendesk yeah, absolutely so yeah my name's have been Marsha.I've been with Pendes for about three years now. SPINIS is a Paris borncompany. Now International. We have offices in London, Paris, Berlin andSan Francisco. Although many of us are working remote, as I'm sure many peopleare when I join the company, we were around twenty employees since then werenow about two hundred and twenty plus we've been growing around hakt threehundred percent year. One Year it's been a pretty exciting journey. Thatsounds good, Sois, wonderful and in them of your solution. What is it thatyou bring to the market yeah? So we help companies better make payments inthe workplace, so we empower employees to security, spend the company's moneythrough smart payment methods like virtual and physical cards that areconnected to an online platform which helps managers and finance teamsautomate the month en close and reconciliation goods saving a lot oftimehets wonderful. So thanks for that and fate, I know you are big advocatefor ourbon cells as an instrument and away for paper generation, especiallywhen it comes to expanding into tnew market. So you would be good tounderstond more about your experience of international expension and OUECDSDR role, the BDR rule, so the people who are, I guess, responsible for thetop of the fenal in this process. Yeah, I mean one hundred percent criticalpart the process as part of any go to market, and I think that outband sellsin particular is probably the most critical for a couple of reasons. Ifyou look at the difference between imbound Le Generation and outbounditskind of the difference between fishing and speare hunting, so fishing is youcasting it out, which is your marketing ar you catch a bunch of fish which arethe leads and the SE will have to go through and figure out, which ones areappropriate for you and then pass them...

...on qualifie them soon, whereas analbound SDR is more like a spear hunter, you have a predefined target thatyou're going after I ideal customer profile and a particular segment, andthen you're going to go and hunt down that game until you can get anopportunity. Now, that's quite an important distinction between the twofo go to market because for any go to market there is a phase of customerdiscovery. You start with hypotheses and assumptions, and you then need tovalidate those. So you need to be able to say, for example, our product is notgoing to work the same way in the US as it is in Europe, because this markethas a particular nuance to it. So you take your hypothecis and you need tovalidate that and that's very hard to do if you're, using nets and Inbalege,because you have much less control over the companies youare actually goingafter. So in short, the SDR function is the life blood of en you go to marketbecause it allows you to be agile, flexible and be very specific in yourtargeting yeah. No, I agree with you. I think it's also interesting Ou, thebotcolly when it comes to extension, it's kind of getting into my sogonquestion now, but we find the cultural differences from one region to another.The adoption of solution, the maturity to a specific solution to be differentfrom one country to another, and I believe that you know, particularly forthe outbound SDL, the people were building up the message trying toidontify the right persona in which Varticodan kind of identifying to sellsPLAC. That will be successful. So then you can scale with with selv automationand all that I think the autbonus J is really kity and do agree with you. I,in fact I use exactly o seme onelogy of fishing and anting, and I think youknow h n, when you are doing inbon response management. We also use adifferent type of training for the resources. So technically Inboun willbe a bit more technical conversation. Why? Because you're already youalreadylooking at something you'r ready on the market for don't know SNA by o Watch orfridge or a caw, the Stargat accous will be engaging with you when we'redoing the INBOND response management. We're really seeing prospect reallycoming in with questions right away. They want us to get technical. Theywant us to go into a details. While we are doing the the album prospecting ismuch more of a challenge of sense approach, so varidating the businessneeds understanding what those people are doing out there doing it currentlyand basically creating the demon instead of responding to the deman Ohundred porsite egree with you and Kan of fling to that point we know that youknow. Obviously, th DSD is a key role in building pipeline, but it can alsobe a great way to keep your finger on. The person ration to product marketfits and ow. The market is receiving your message or solution. But what areyour thoughts on that? And now do you adapts on that with your team? Yeah?Absolutely I mean they, an SDR bda they're, going to be the eyes and earsof your company in the market, they're going to have that visel response fromprospects and clients on the phone, and this is one thing where I think he goto market s actually cold. Calling as a channel is great because you can getthese responses in real time and really...

...understand what that fit is so, forexample, there's a few different things that you can do when ipivoting in thego to market. You can pivot your product and iterate that to pmf you canpivot your segment so who are you going after and then you can also pivot yourposition, and so that's. How do you position and sell your product orservices on the callside? The segmentation and the position in isvery much a function of the sells team and that positioning is a variablewhich people I think overlook. You can have the same product Tan make a slighttweek in the terms of the way that you explain your valubrle position or theway that you're pitching it and that can actually help get you into aprodoct market fit because, especially in a new market where your product ofServicehas never existed before, people aren't very knowledgeable about yoursolution. They don't know you who you are, you don't exist, so you have tosell the vision and the problem and get them to understand that and an SDR isthe perfect way for you to get that real time feedback and see what worksand what does it yeah again, you know it's been very, very, very, very varid,all those points F or over the course of Cavidnany and the pandenic pottrallyat the outset, as we are trying to figure out, you know what to do in theluckdown with people still pick up. The foon wil people still respond to Himanand in fact, in the territory in in the US what we realize- and we did a bit ofa study that we then shop with our clients in come of best practice. Butwe look at rescons, Trat per states and the states of California and Pottaliplaces like some Francisco Ba area, but also New York made fro Buston at somepoints were absolutely orendous. Literally, you could not get Ol ofanyone. People woill not respond to email. I think the state of scare, Alesconfusion was rea driving people to not really respond or to noturally move andpeople working off a Pi to just freese everything for a little while and waitfor government or for institution to can of tell them what to do, or atleast get a little bit of flight at the end of the turnel. But at this time wewuld see some Osour places like y know, Dallas south of the US still being very,very, very reactive, and in fact you know, probably a bit more responsivethan they were before and that's been evolving over time. And we also sow themedium changing so when the log done started, linting was fantastic. I seenthat everybody was on linten everybody Wass on fire. Absolutely you Rowlatinwas great and then came June. blinting was not as good and people were kind offed up with Lintin, and then everybody was back at Tome. The Fon line fromTheofis woull be then Directyou to the mobile, and you know things Kand of freOm to some sertain level of normality, and I think now we are in a positionwhere people know what Luck Don looks like. So if we were to go to a sagonlock down so lackdonnor whatever it could be a let's hope not, but if thatwas to Weppen, I think they would not be a fear of what's going on so thatphrase would not happen again, but it Wasnan interesting things to witnessand with all the people that we've got in the trenches, SDA speaking toprospect, Kno and you've got two hundred of them on the daydy baby.Speaking to prospect, you can very much kind of get a fiel for the market getto feel for. What's working, what's not walking? What's a nice twelve, what isa mas stuff and those guys have been absolutely instrumentall in USundersoning. What was going on...

...basically and as adapting to what wasgoing on influencing the worklins were thinking to change the weywile walkingand basically still managed to produce a certain level of resorts in a verydesty market. So Yeah Sdi is Kan and do agree with you in the on the focusonand the trenches, and you actually see the real stuff getting an understandingof what they're saying on the Dadyba is critical and Soelphy. You mention inyour intro that Spendes Qas pretty much twenty people when you join and now onCIC a little bit more than two hundred people. I would have expected that theface of your SDR Tama furdamentally change and in fact we do believe thatyou've got an Isdar function that should be set up for startup Andes.Tear functionat should be set up for what I would call a scaleup, and Iwould put you in that category so yeah. What is your perception of that changefrom an D role perspective as the company is growing, as the company isevolving and obviously becoming more potentially process driven then starteddriven, Yeah Yeah? That's that's a great question. So, fundamentally, therole is exactly the same. The outcome is the same. The SDR is there to helpconnect your company and create meaningful conversations with potentialbuyers, so that fundamentally, will stay the same regardless of the stagein I think in the company. However, the context in which that is operating isvery, very different, so, for example, where we are in the US at Spendes an werigt at the beginning of our journey in our core markets in France, the UK andGermany, with further advancers so e more up in that scaleupstage and thento a blue chip. You know, company that has a a huge SDR, TM withe, anestablished market. It sosponts on be very different. So initial stage, likeI said before, you have to validate a lot of unknown assumptions, and so it'skind of your building the plane, whilst you're flying it and the kind ofmentality that these types of STRs have to have is very, very different. Theyare not going to come into a process that they know works, and so you can'tturn up to work, do O R activity and expect to have results. I don't thinkanyone could do that ever really, but even more so in this particular stage,because you have to be able to constantly iterate an Adout, you haveto build the message and you have to understand which problems are reallyspeaking to people. What element of your vision or solution is gettingpeople emotionally invested in the product now that's very different to amaybe a scale up stage in the company where, for example, in France, in ourcor market, we know exactly what the value proposition is and what works. Weknow exactly which segments and we know exactly their pains and why they'regoing to buy versus us in the competition. So it really is a case ofthe process. itself is more validated, so there is less need to build theplane. You know whast of flying it and it's more case of execution, and sothat changes- and this is one reason why I think know- We've- had success inbeing able to hire great SDRs early on in the company for go to markets,because there's this element of you have a lot of ownership overconstruction e process and being a part...

...of that vision, whereas other SDRs andother candidates may jurt not really want to be part of that. They want tojust turn up work hard and know that they're going to get paid fon producingopportunities at the end of the month, so they're better suited to Bein in anorganization with a validated repeatable process, yeah yeah. Thatmakes perfect sense and if yo want to move on to international expension, nowgrobriteatial expension, we witness it for any year and we know how difficultit can be, particularly for started coming from Europe. So like, like you,gays fro, so even Isrida start up, we've got a fell. Fo Es Freddycustomels to go and Daccor the US market. Okay, such a wide market, itssuch a you know, werl! Do you stop basically, and of course what peopletend to do is to get one some of that top guys to go and fly to relocatethere, like probably Spenddexton with yourself, but I'd like to understondabout your lesson learned. You know and Adon't know. If you can address youknow some of the challenges that you came across some of the orportunitythat you've seen. You know things that you've seen you've seen being easier,Toso kind of a general feeling ready. So if you can empty your bag bout thatthere would be great, we know how difficult it is right and we know itbecause we are elbing a few clients to do it. It's Bot getting the firstarreference. You know the US company US prospectend to like bying from USorganization when your Startuk from France, you know do this here in thebest. In the same way, I don't know so itd be good to get just your soun son,that in term of challenges and opportunity that you've come acrosssince you relocated in some Francisco and you've been pushing spenders in theUS there 's so many topics that we could go in deep dies and podcast oftheir own. I think on this one, but maybe one context I think, in terms ofchallenging and with hindsight I think many of the problems that you facebecome much easier when you're aware that you're in the problem, it's likebeing in the eye of the storm of a hurricade, it's very hard to see thatyou're there when you're in the midst of it. And so what do I mean by that?So let's say, for example, your tactic is to launch your product from Europein the US and you're, going to send uselves to you an acquisition team andhope that you've got product market fit and then obviously, if you do and youhave repeatable Le Generation and closeing and then you kind of skip allthe initial discovery, stages and validation stages. And you go directlyinto execution phase where you invest in growth, you can invest in your moreSDRs, you can invest in more cannyng sectors and you just focused on growingnow. If you don't have a product market fit, and you don't understand thevariables that you have within your control, it can be very frustrating. Itcan be very challenging because you have a sense of constantly failing andI think that my biggest learning is you have to reshape what you understand tobe a failure and, for example, to not close deals or not. have he productmarket fit is notesar failure as long as you realize that your goal, yourobjective, is to validate a hypothesis and if you haven't, got a putut marketfit then it's to execute a different plan to get there, and when you shiftthat mentality, it makes the whole experience a a lot more enjoyable andyou can also iterate quicker, because...

...it means that you won't continue tryingto go down one route that doesn't work. Are you sending to the same segment orselling the same value proposition? You can identify? Okay, I'm my position inhis office. I need to pivot that and then you change and you iterate quicklyand you advance into a product market fer much quicker rate. So does h thecannot challenge. What have you seen in Tem of opposiniity? Do you see that youknow once you get the first yew references I become easier, but I thinkone thing, that's really interesting is just the way different people andcompanies by software. You know in Spinis we have the German market,France, UK and then the United States and onto aspects Germany, United Statescouldn't be further apart in almost every way to culture way they buy andso on and so forth, and then the you know, Fancon UK kind of in the middlewith the US, for example, there is a lot more emphasis on story telling. Howdo you pitch your vision and I feel that it's easier to get in peopleemotionally bought in to your idea through storytelling and vision,without necessarily having the details of very piece of the product andhundred percent up to scratch versus? If you look on Flippin of Germany,storytenling just doesn't really work in the German market. They want to knowfacts and they want to have the bullet points. Bangbang, Bang, yes or no tickboxes and that's kind of how it's done. So. I think that there's alwaysopportunity as long as you see the context that you're in and you canpivor and adapt and really focus your approach or leverage in that yeah, andthat makes perfect sense. Let's question for you and Fewe spoke aboutthis Deah andzea in the context of international expension. If I was an SG-and you know I stapped my carrier, what would be the tree advisit, you wouldgive me don't expect to be good from day. One have a growth mindset soexpect that you can be good one day, but you have to do the work to get.There is the first one I would be. An Avid Learner read: Listen to podcastlike this one speak to your peers. Don't just look inside the company forthe best practices speak to peers outside really make sure that you havecreated an environment of learning. That is going to really accelerate youand I think the third one is. You have to be self critical and self analytical.That means every phone call that you do listen to it analyze. It be your ownworst critic. When you can break down yourself and your actions that you doit's going to help you deblock yourself a lot quicker and then waiting forother people to do it. We driving exactly at in Danaliso as Wonde fullthree fantastic points, but yes start teaching his KIP. You know and thatsone thi people are missing sometimes, and I don't know if it's generational,I don't like to speak about million Yords, but you know Aso People SpeakAbout me and youls and it's funny ow. Sometimes people can get a lot ofinformation and ot qerevent to what they do is walk. You know in term ofsocial media and stuff like that, but then, when they don't have what theyneed that Wolk, they will point the finger at the Maageop in the tinge atthe clients, and you know just sa well, the information is accualy availableeverywhere. If wantou to steach yourself, you could but I'm a bigbeliever in self loing, and I think...

...your last point about kind of oldingyourself, accomtable, look at yourself in the mirror, keep on going, don'texpect to be good from day on as well. The first point do make sense. I thereis a learning curve and it's almost when you need to find that moment.While you click with the message when you click with the personal where youactually get under the skin of the prospect and the product becomes agondary and your knowledge of the product is not that important, but youreally have an understonding of what's happening in the life of the people.You are tageting, you have anondersoing of whats a putting in the organization,and that takes a little bit of time. puttually, if you are, you know not aseason business, Pelson D, it's the first time yet you tar get an on noFAMATICA company, the first time Meta get to the famacical company myself. Ihad no idea what was going on in Tho Organization. I just ti that they weredoing drugs, but I didn't understond. The research and developments, Ycoaidn't, understand the way, the operateecetera etc and, as you startspeaking to them- and you start having conversation within the seconds, youreally start to build up a pictur on the ton and appreciate the complexityof thise accounts and then a Realyanso to network. And then you know, if I wasto add one thing, is also use the warl story from every single conversationyou've got, you know, Learne from each conversation form having a congrustionwith ealthy, Todem and loaning, something from you and tomorrow willspeak to Bob. I will say to Bo Blue boters funny what you say to me,because I spoke to Alfhia to complet or Spendes Gestoday Anyal, saying that tome and you know getting that PR to peer. I think it's also coming Ticdamypointge is don't just get education from your managers in Ou case theclients and the managers, because we would have our clients also suportinousand getting up to speak but learn from conversation with the prospect go andspeak to the anuser. These are the people that will give you the besttranning, because they will tell you what happen in their life and and ifyou know that that's the key for the next conversation, so true I mean as anSDR. I would love to know how many people do this. If anyone does this,but if you want to see our joining a company reach out to your Biepicona, solet's say you sell to VPS Ou cells reach out to a couple of VP sells andon linkton and say: Hey. I've just started this job as a SDR selling toVPS of sales. I'm not going to try to say anything, but I would love to justunderstand how you work and what you do for a living and how that's going torelate to my product so that I can Ben it sell to other people. Could we speakfor like Fiftyn minutes a garantee you that a lot of people would be happy tohave like an informational interview with you and give you so muchinformation and just advance that you know you don't have to read books onyou know being a BB l, so to speak, but yeat theres, there's so muchinformation out there. You just have to ask for it a Dunde, a thousen degree. Imean when actually started. It was many moons ago, but I had zero training. Infact, Lintin was not even there. I cannot realy a little bit my hedgethere, but it was frailing. Toithink people started to use an ink in the US,but not so much in Europe, so so it Wa it was quite interesting. Is Ye had togo through he switch poll and or that, but people were quite helpful and thatmay have changed little bit. So I don't know what you would look like now, butI remember when I first started. I think people sayg no to me I'm sayingno, I'm not interested on and you know...

...most of them would expect me to goafter that, but the question I woulas e as Sapo- that's very good fitback. Canyou tell me why you are at interesting? Is it what I told you? Is it? What Isaid? Is it defect? You've already got to product in place, you know, and someof them was well. I don't really have the timen and I would just say look. Idon't want to be too much with just satisfy my intellectar, but justtelling me what's going on, because you know I just he ton Uson what I've doneon O. I need to undersome how we close that conversation. You tell me that youe interest is great, but if I don't understand why I can't progress andwhen you say that to people the actually said you know, I'm Goingna gettake fiverates and what I realize in that specific occurrence I was, I wasrepresenting a company that was called Shrikam and I think they've been aquielsince in all that, so I can probably mention your name, and it was a longtime ago and Sthrinkom won D to b. Then they stop going be to be, and then theywiln' be to be a GAIM and I walked as an Esda for them when they went be tobe agame. But no one told me that two years before that they actually leftthousands of prospect, thousands of clients Wuarwide with pallets of kidsin the office and then justen the Aneai saying look, you know what we're goingto stop doing. Ttv Now so forget about the service forget about this. Forgetabout that. We do we con focussing on something else, see you later andthanks for your custom. So I had to pick up all that and a I was notunderstanding why people were saying no to me. Well, Coun, see all my os ArColic working on COM PAG with other clients being successful. I was likewas from and as soon as I understood that I incorporated it in my messageand I managed to speak about it. So I magd to tackle the objection, thenonspoken objection and I think, as a yeah, I've always been a bigadvocatoror. If you want to learn how to sell to someone on the stones what'shappening in their life is Tut about you, it's not about your product. Infact, nobody cares about all that people care about themselves so goingon Thoson, whats appening for them go and tackle thes non spoken objection.What is it that people don't like in the approach? What you should not doand adapts lookin? The Mera Change, don't take anything that people aretelling you for granted and try to edepfy every single conversation, soyeah, big believearl, for that Crookan fe wee get into the thenofourconversation. We took a little bit longer and expected to them, but Ithink we booth got a little bit excited about some of the Etopic Wecoveru. Sowhat we do at this point of the conversation will wetther cou guest forwhat is the best way to get in touch with them. So if any of our audiencewould like to engage with, spenders can potentially discuss your solution, norwe've got any French German Israeli start, ubselvs guy that are potentiallyyou know, looking at international move and conquaring the US market. Basically,if anyone wants to get in touch with you to falser that conversation and fee,what's the best way to get all of you yeah, so for any companies that arelooking Bende sceer productor service, they can go to spend deskcom asSBENDESKACOM and they can book an apoint with anyone of our reps. ifanyone would like to speak to me directly about things like sales go tomarket, the best way to get in contact is through linked in just send me arequest and the message and I'll try my best to reply. Alternatively, you cancontact me by my email on Alf at...

Spendescom and Alf Al Fia. That's fonthe footwell once again many things for your tame today. It was absolutely apleasure two Y imlitial. Thank you very much. Likewise, you've been listeningto be to be revenue acceleration to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much forlistening until next time.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (116)