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 were listening to be the B Revenue Acceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be to be revenue acceleration. My name is aim with you and I'm here today with Alfie Marsh Ed, of US cells at spend desk. How are you doing today, Alfie? I'm doing very well. Thank you. How are you doing? Yes, we want different time zines at the moment as well. What't we absolutely you know, I'm doing great, great, great, grade. It's a beautiful day here in the UK. Beginning of the winters is getting a bit cold, but the sun is out, so nothing to complain about. While you base today, I'm in San Francisco, so this is the first September to November period I've actually had whilst I've been here, and this is the best time of the year appoute. So we've got blue skies, nice son the weather's good and it does make me laugh every time I look back at my friends and family in France and the UK getting a wrap top for the cold. Yeah, well, you know, we actually have an office in Sonos and when we got down the bay area, we actually I like to drive a few miles downways even moss and now you can. You can get called sometimes in San Francisco, but there you go. I'll discussion today is focusing on international expansion and I'll dance sells. But before we go into the conversation, would you mind just telling us a little bit more about yourself, Alfie, as well as the company you represents, pend desk. Yeah, absolutely so. Yeah, my name's happen more so I've been with spend desk for about three years now. SPINNESK is a Paris Bonn company, now intern national. We have offices in London, Paris, Berlin and San Francisco, although many of us are working remote, as I'm sure many people are. When I join the company we were around twenty employees. Since then we're now about two hundred and twenty plus. We've been growing around about three hundred percent year on year. It's been a pretty exciting journey. That sounds good, sounds wonderful. And in them of your solution, what is it that you bring to the market? Yeah, so we help companies spend to make payments in the workplace. So we empower employees to securely spend the company's money through smart payment methods like virtual and physical cards that are connected to an online platform, which helps managers and finance teams automate the month end close and reconciliation. Good, saving a lot of time. That's wonderful. So thanks for that and fee. I know you are big advocate for our bound cells as an instruments and a way for paper generation, especially when it comes to expending into new market. So you would be good to end up some more about your experience of international expansion and our you CDs Dr Rule the Dr Rules to the people who are, I guess, responsible for the top of the funnel in this process. Yeah, I mean one hundred percent critical part of the process as part of any go to market, and I think that outbound cells in particular is probably the most critical for a couple of reasons. If you look at the difference between inbounds Lee generation and outbound it's kind of the difference between fishing and spear hunting. So fishing is you cast a net out which your marketing you catch a bunch of fish. which are the needs and the SCI will have to go through and figure out which ones are appropriate for you and then...

...pass them on qualify the soone, whereas an outbound SDR is more like a spear hunter. You have a predefined target that you're going after, ideal customer profile and in particular segment, and then you're going to go and hunt down that game until you can get an opportunity. Now that's quite an important distinction between the two for go to market, because for any go to market there is a phase of customer discovery. You start with hypotheses and assumptions and you then need to validate those. So you need to be able to say, for example, our product is not going to work the same way in the US as it is in Europe because this market has a particular nuance to it. So you take your hypothesis and you need to validate that. Now that's very hard to do if you're using nets and in Bal leads, because you have much less control over the companies you're actually going after. So, in short, the SDR function is the lifeblood of any go to market because it allows you to be agile, flexible and be very specific in your targeting. Yeah, I agree with you. I think it's also interesting you're the but'scally when it comes to extension. has kind of getting into Maso gone question now, but we find a cultural defferences from one region to another. The adoption of solution, the maturity to a specific solution to be deferent from one country to another. And I believe that you know, a particularly for the outbound as dl, so the people who are are building up the message, trying to identify the right person in which vertical and kind of identifying the cells plays. That will be successful. So then you can scale with with cells, automation and all that. I think the AUTBONASD is really key, dy, and I do agree with you. I in fact, I use exactly some analogy of fishing and hunting. And I think you know, when you are doing in bound response management we also use a different type of training for the resources. So technically in bound will be a bit more technical conversation. Why? Because you're already you're already looking at something, you're already on the market for. I don't know if you want to buy your watch or fridge or car to start get accounts will be engaging with you. When we are doing the inbound response management, were really seeing prospect really coming in with questions straight away. They want us to get technical, they want us to go into a details while we are doing the outbound prospecting is much more of a challenge our cells approach. So validating the business needs understanding what those people are doing, how they're doing it currently and basically creating the demon in Sea of responding to the demands. A hundred percent agree with you and kind of fling to that point. We know that. You know obviously the D SDR is a key role in building pipeline, but they can also be a great way to keep your finger on the pearls in relation to product market fit and how the market is receiving your message or solution. But what are your thoughts on that and now do you adapt on that with your team? Yeah, absolutely. I mean they an str video that can it be the eyes and is or your company in the market. They're going to have that vistle response from prospects and clients on the phone and this is one thing where I think the go to markets, actually cold calling as a channel is great because you can get these responses in real time and really understand what that fit is. So,...

...for example, there's a few different things that you can do when it pivoting in the go to market. You can pivot your product and iterate that to PMF. You can pivot your segment so who are you going after? And then you can also pivot your positioning. And so that's how do you position and sell your product or services? On the cell side, the segmentation and the position in is very much a function of the cells team and that position in is a variable which people, I think, overlook. You can have the same product and make a slight tweak in the terms of the way that you explain your value proposition or the way that you're pitching it, and that can actually help get you into a product market fit because, especially in a new market where your product or services never existed before, people aren't very knowledgeable about your solution. They don't know you, who you are, you you don't exist. So you have to sell the vision and the problem and get them to understand that, and an SDR is the perfect way for you to get that real time feedback and see what works and what does it. Yeah, again, you know, he's been very, very, very very varied all those points for of other course, of covied NAT. End of Bendinique, particularly at the outset, as we are trained to figure out that you know what to do in the luck down with people still pick up the food? And will people still respond to a man and in fact, in the territory you are in in the US. What we realize, and we did a bit of a study that we then share with our clients and come of best practice, but we look at response rate per states and the states of California and particularly places like San Francisco Bay area, but also New York, Metro Boston. At some points where absolutely horrendous. Literally you could not get all of anyone. People will not respond to email. I think the state of scare alerts confusion was really driving people to not really respond or to not really move, and people wor kind of happy to just raise everything for a little while and wait for government or for institution to can of tell them what to do or at least get a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. But at this time we would see some other places like no Dallas, sounds of the US still being very, very, very reactive and in fact, you know, probably a bit more responsive than they were before, and that's been evolving over time and we also saw the medium changing. So when the lockdown started, linkedin was fantastic see that everybody was on Linkedin. Everybody was on fire absolutely. You know, Linkedin was great, and then came June, Linkedin wasn't as good and people are Cann of fed up with Linkedin. And then everybody was back at home, their fun line from the office would be then directed to the mobile and, you know, things kind of resume to some certain level of normality and I think now we are in a position where people know what to lock down looks like. So if we were to go to a second lockdown, certain lockdown or whatever, it could be a, let's hope, nuts but if that was to happen, I think they would not be a fear of what's going on. So that phrase would not happen again. But it was an interesting things to witness. And with all the people that we've got in the trenches as the air speaking to prospect now, when you've got two hundred of them on the daily basis speaking to prospect you can very much kind of get a feel for the market, get to feel for what's working, what's not working, what's a nice to all what is a must have, and those guys have been absolutely instrumental...

...in us under something what was going on, basically and US adapting to what was going on, influencing the our clients who are thinking to change the way we're working and basically still managed to produce a certain level of results in in a very testing market. So Yeah, a SD ICE KEI and and I do agree with you in the on the focus and the trenches and they actually see the real stuff. Getting an understanding of what they're seeing on a daily basis is critical. And so I think you mentioned in your intro that spenders, who was pretty much twenty people when you join, and now, on circule little bit more than two hundred people. So I would have expected that the face of your SDR team up fundamentally changed. And in fact we do believe that you've got an SDA function that should be set up for startup and as Dr Function that should be set up for what I would call a scale up, and I would put you in that category. So yeah, what is your perception of that change from an SDR role perspective? As the company is growing, as the company is evolving and obviously becoming more potentially process driven then started driven? Yeah, yeah, that's that's a great question. So fundamentally the role is exactly the same. The outcome is the same. The STR is there to help connect to your company and create meaningful conversations with potential buyers. So that fundamentally will stay the same regardless of the stage. But you know, I think in the company, however, the context in which that is operating is very, very different. So, for example, where we are in the US at Spendersk, we right at the beginning of our journey in our core markets in France, the UK and Germany, with further advances, so in more up in that scale up stage. And then to a blue chip, you know, company that has a huge SDR team of an established marketing stage points to be very different. So initial stage, like I said before, you have to validate a lot of unknown assumptions and so it's kind of your building the plane whilst you're flying it, and the kind of mentality that these types of SDRs have to have is very, very different. They are not going to come into a process that they know works, and so you can't turn up to work, do your activity and expect to have results. I don't think anyone could do that ever really, but even more so at this particular stage, because you have to be able to constantly iterate an adapt you have to build the message and you have to understand which problems are really speaking to people, what element of your vision or solution is getting people emotionally invested in the product. Now that's very different to a maybe a scale up stage in the company where, for example, in France, in our core market, we know exactly what the value proposition is and what works, we know exactly which segments and we know exactly their pains and why they're going to buy versus us in the competition. So it really is a case of the process itself is more validated, so there is less need to build the plane, you know whilst you're flying it, and it's more a case of execution. And so that changes and this is one reason why, I think, you know, we've had success in being able to hire great scurs early on in the company for go to markets, because there's this element of you have a lot of ownership over construction, a process and being a part of that vision, whereas other strs and other candidates may just not really...

...want to be part of that. They want to just turn up, work hard and know that they're going to get paid from producing opportunities at the end of the month. So they're better suited to being in an organization with a validated, repeatable process. Yeah, that next perfect sense. And then if you want to move on to international expansion. Now, global international expansion. We witness it for many year and we know our difficulty it can be, particularly for our start up coming from Europe. So, like you, geze France, or even his stray start up, we've got a fair through is freely customers to go and tack hold the US market. Okay, such a white market is such a you know, where do you start, basically, and of course what people tend to do is to get one some of that top gays, to go and fly to relocate their like. Probably spend ex done with yourself. But I'd like to understand about your lesson learned. You know, and I don't know if you can address you know, some of the challenges that you can across, some of the opportunity that you've seen. You know things that you've seen. You've seen being easier to fer. So I kind of a general feeling ready. So if you can empty your bag about that there would be great, because we know our difficult it is right and we know it because we are being a few clients to do it. It's about getting the first your reference. You're not the US company, US PROSPECTING TO L Bane from US organization, when you are start up from France. You know do this. You in the best in the same way. I don't know. So it'd be good to get just your souls of that. In term of challenges and opportunity that you've come across since you're relocated in San Francisco and you've been pushing spenders in the US. There are so many topics that we could go in deep dives and podcasts of their own, I think, on this one, but maybe one context. I think in terms of challenging and with hindsight, I think many of the problems that you face become much easier when you're aware that you're in the problem. It's like being in the eye of the storm of a hurricane. It's very hard to see that you'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 Europe in the US and you're going to send the sales team and acquisition team and hope that you've got product market fit. And then, obviously, if you do and you have repeatable lead generation and close in, and then you kind of skip all the initial discovery stages and validation stages and you go directly into execution phase where you invest in growth. You can invest in your more SDRs, you can invest in more cant exectors and you just focused on growing now up. If you don't have a product market fear and you don't understand the variables that you have within your control, it can be very frustrating, it can be very challenging because you have a sense of constantly failing. And I think that my biggest learning is you have to reshape what you understand to be a failure and, for example, to not close deals or not have a product market fit is not, to say, a failure, as long as you realize that your goal, your objective, is to validate a hypothesis and if you haven't got a product market fit, then it's to execute a different plan to get there. And when you shift that mentality, it makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable and you can also iterate quicker because it means that you won't continue trying to go down one...

...route that doesn't work. Are you selling to the same segment or selling the same value proposition? You can identify. Okay, I'm my positioning is off here, so I need to pivot that. And then you change and you iterate quickly and you advanced into a product market fit at a much quicker rate. So does the kind of challenge? What have you seen them off a box you to do? US Get, you know, once you get the frost your reference easy become easier. Well, I think one thing that's really interesting is just the way different people and companies by software. You know, in spend us we have at the German market, France, UK and then the United States, and aren't on two aspects. Germany United States couldn't be further apart in almost every way to culture, way they buy and so on and so forth, and then the France and UK kind of in the middle. With the US, for example, there is a lot more emphasis on storytelling. How do you pitch your vision? And I feel that it's easier to get in people emotionally brought in to your idea through storytelling and vision, without necessarily having the details of every piece of the product in a hundred percent up to scratch, versus, if you look on flip end of Germany, storytelling just doesn't really work in the German market. They want to know facts and they want to have the bullet points, Bang, Bang, Bang, yes or no tick boxes, and that's kind of how it's done. So I think that there's always opportunity as long as you see the context that you're in and you can pivot an adapt and really focus your approach on leverage in that. Yeah, thanks, perfect sense, and let's question for you and feel we spoke about this. Yeah, and it's YEA, in the context of in donational expansion. If I wasn't this Dr and you know I stuff, may carry out, what would be just readvised she would give me. Don't expect to be good from day one. Have a growth mindset. So expect 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 podcasts like this one. Speak to your peers, don't just look inside the company for the best practices, speak to peers outside, really make sure that you have created an environment of learning that is going to really accelerate you. And 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 analyze it. Be Your own worst critique. When you can break down your self and your actions that you do, it's going to help you de Block yourself a lot quicker and wait for other people to do it. Were driving exactly at in Donalys's wonderful three foundestic points. But yes, self teaching. It is keep you know, and that's one thing. And people are missing sometimes. I don't know if it's generational. I don't like to speak about million yells, but you know, also people speak about me and yours and it's funny how sometimes people can get a lot of information. I'm Swe Evan to what they do is walk, you know, in term of social media and stuff like that, but then when they don't have word they need at work, they will point the finger at the manager of point the finger at the clients and you know, just sell. Well, the information is actually a realiable everywhere. If you wanted to teach yourself. You could, but I'm a big believer in self learning and I think your...

...last point about kind of holding yourself accountable. Look at yourself in the mirror, keep on going. Don't expect to be good from day one. As well, the first point do make sense. If there is a learning curve, and it's almost when you need to find that moment where you click with the message, when you click with the personnel, where you actually get on Tho the skin of the prospect and the product become segondary and your knowledge of the product is not. That's important, but you really haven't on the stunning of what's happening in the life of the people you are targeting. You have an understanding of what's happening in the organization and that takes a little bit of time. Part surely if you are, you know, not a season business person, as the first time you you target and don't know pharmastical company. The first time I get to the pharmastical company myself, I had no idea what was going on in the organization. I just heard they were doing drugs, but I didn't understand the research and development cycle. I didn't understand the way they operate, etc. Etc. And as you start speaking to them and you start having conversation within the seconds, you really start to build up a picture under stone and appreciate the complexity of these accounts. And then the really ampute to network. And then, you know, if I was to add one thing, is also use the wall story from every single conversation you've got. You know, learn from each conversation, removing a concussion with Alfie. Today I'm and learning something from you, and tomorrow I will speak to Bob, I will say to bug, look, but that's funny what you say to me, because I spoke to Alphia to compare cold spender skies today and he was saying that to me. And, you know, getting the pier to per, I think it's also coming twice the are. My point here is don't just get education from your managers, in our case the clients and the managers, because we would have our clients also supporting us and getting up to speed. But learn from conversation with the prospect go and speak to the end user. These are the people that will give you the best training because they will tell you what's upping in their life. And if you know that, that's the key for the next conversation. So true. I mean as an str I would love to know how many people do this, if anyone does this. But if you want to see are joining a company, reach out to your bio persona. So let's say you sell to VPS of cells. Reach out to a couple of VP the cells and on Linkedin and say, Hey, I just started this job as a star selling to be piece of cells. I'm not going to try and sell anything, but I would love to just understand how you work and what you do for a living and how that's going to relate to my product so that I com bet this sell to other people. Could we speak for like fifteen minutes? I guarantee you that a lot of people would be happy to have like an information interview with you and give you so much information and just advance that. You know, you don't have to read books on you know, being a BP yourself, so to speak. But yeah, there's stays so much information out there, you just have to ask for it. On the thought of degree, I mean when actually started, it was many moons ago, but I had zero training. In fact, Linkedin was not even there. I cannot really little bit my hedge there, but it was thrilling the having people started to use a linking in the US, but not so much in Europe. So so it was. It was quite interesting. Is We had to go through the switch ball and all that, but people are quite helpful and that may have changed a little bit. So I don't know what you would look like now, but I remember when I first started having people saying no to me and saying no, I'm not interested on and you know, most of them...

...would expect me to go after that. But the question I would ask have was able. That's very good feedback. Can you tell me why you're not interesting? Is it what I told you? Is it what I said? Is it deferd? You've already got to product in place, you know, and some of them was a while. I don't really have the time and I would just say, look, I don't want to be too much, but just satisfy my intellect here by just telling me what's going on, because you know, I just need to understand what I've done on the need to under some how we close that conversation. You telling me that you're not interested is great, but if I don't unders on why, I can't progress and when you say that to people, they actually said, you know, I'm going to any tact five mines. And what I realize in that specific occurrence I was I was representing a company that was called Strie Com and I think they've been a quil since and all that. So I can probably mention your name and it was a long time ago. And STRIE COM when B to be, then they stop going B to be and then they won't be to be again. And I walked as an SDR for them when they went be to be again. But no one told me that two years before that they actually left thousands of prospect thousands of clients worldwide with Palettes of kids in the office, and then you send them an email saying, look, you know what, we're going to stop doing big be now. So forget about the service, forget about this, forget about that. We do we can focusing on something else. See You later and thanks for your custom. So I had to pick up all that and I was not understanding why people were saying no to me. We could see all my others, are colleague working on those other compaign with other our clients being successful. I was like, what's from? And as soon as I understood that, I incorporated it in my message and I managed to speak about it. So I managed to tackle the objection, the nonspoken objection, and I think as yeah, I've always been a big advocate of if you want to learn how to sell to someone on the storms, what's happening in their life. It's not about you, it's not about your product. In fact, nobody cares about all that. People care about themselves. So going on, there some what's happening for them. Go and tackle those nonspoken objection. What is it that people don't like in the approach? What you should not do and adapts. Look in the mirror, change, don't take anything that people are telling you for granted and try to adapt for every single conversations. Yeah, big, big vounerful that looking for. We're getting to the D NFL conversation. We took a little bit longer than expected to there, but I think we both got a little bit excited about some of the big recover ut. So what we do at this point of the conversation? We always ask our guests for what is the best way to get in touch with them. So if any of our audience would like to engage. We spend desk and put. Then she discussed your solution or p've got any French, German, Israeli start up sales guy that are potentially, you know, looking at international move and conquering the US market? Basically, if anyone wants to get in touch with you to further that conversational fee, what's the best way to get all of you? Yeah, so if any companies that are looking at Pendersk as a product or service, they can go to spend deskcom, as spandeskcom, and they can book in a point with anyone of our reps. if anyone would like to speak to me directly about things like sales go to market, it's the best way to getting contact is through Linkedin. Just send me a request and the message and I'll try my best to reply. Alternatively, you can contact me by my email...

...on Alfie at spendskcom and Olfa Alfie. That's wonderful. Well, once again, mini things for your time to day. It was absolutely a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you very much. Likewise, you've been listening to BEDB revenue acceleration to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (128)