B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 1 year ago

93: 3 Essentials for Scaling Your Business in Europe w/ Henrique Moniz de Aragão


Scaling your business in Europe is no easy thing.

Local knowledge, dozens of languages, tiny budgets, and brand awareness are just a few of the difficulties you’ll have to overcome.

In this episode, I interview Henrique Moniz de Aragão, VP and GM, EMEA at G2, about the challenges of breaking into the European tech market.

We talked about overcoming stereotypes about the European buyer, 3 essentials for scaling in Europe and, Pros & cons of scaling at startup or enterprise.

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 bb revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executives stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be to be a revn you acceleration. My name is one mutier and I'm here today with Enrique money, is the other Gao vp and general manager EMEA at GTO. Are you? Are You doing today, Enrique? I'm very good at really I get to be here. Thanks for having me. That's a pleasure. That's a pleasure. So today we will be talking about a very, very, very tough topic for most of our clients, which is scaling a business in Europe. But before we go into the conversation, could you please tell us a little bit more about yourself and Enrique, as well as your role at g two? And I would be sure crazy if people don't know what g too does, but I think you should also coverage, just in case, to what you do as evacuation. Yeah, Fan fastly, know, it's great to be here. Appreciate the invitation. So, yeah, I'm origin from Brazil and I got most of my tech career working primarily for US companies in a variety of roles based in Europe, and in my current role at d to as general managed to former. I basically joined March of last year, two thousand and nineteen, so just coming up to eighteen months now, to open up our first European office. And for those who don't know, you too, we are a business software review websites and it's simplest form where people go to reach a research software before they buy. But obviously there's a bit, a bit more to it than that. We publish fifteenzero reports a quarter, so every quarter, and we have over a million reviews that have been verified by real people using real software and and we basically we add value and make money by helping marketing, sales, marketing and sales teams and tech companies connect with more than five million buyers a month that come to do too. That's been my journey for the last eighteen months. Like the Companies Serious C Venture Act, our founders have sold to companies prior we now have five labal offices and yeah, our ambitions to be like the trip advisor for software or the glass door or software. That's that's could. I mean. We will encourage anyone to go and shake our reviews on Gtuo, I believe, excellent. So that's really good. But to get into the topic, Enrique, you've been a you've been aiding the Guto expansion in Europe for the as eighteen months, pretty much as you as you mentioned, eighteen interesting mounts. I think that's the US a name Moss must have been a quiet quote of our whelming for you as well. But what they would like to Underson, is if you could tell us a little bit more about this journey and then kind of taking the the US concept of g too and the concert is definitely getting some traction and he's what we can see from our from our customers in the US. People are taking me very so useful in the US. And now did you bring in from Europe to probably what they would, I would have expected, to be a less metro market to what you are doing and and to that extent, made you a little bit less welcoming. So can you do this, a little bit more about that journey that you went through, discuss about grows, that expansion phase, and you our crook on it now, eighteen months later. Yeah, so look, it's not the first time that I've been in the position where I'm bringing something that perhaps has more traction, more adoption and more market share in the US into Europe. And what's interesting is that when I did this last time, I did it within this umbrella of a big company called cells Forcecom, bringing a recently acquired business that had ninety percent of its customers based in the US into Europe. And a lot of it isn't different. I think that perhaps European buyers have been missed, served under served by stereotypes, predominantly stereotypes that, you know, cloud adoption is years...

...behind the US and we're more backwards and we take longer to adopt staff. I don't think that's true. I think that European buyers are some of the most well educated, savvy buyers in the world and that really what we found ourselves in is like the cycle of a constantly bringing stuff from the US into Europe. So it's Nactually is going to take time to take hold. But yeah, it was an interesting decision for us to do it. We decided to bring the business to Europe basically, I think, a few months after the Brexit vote, right, so we made that decision in the middle of a lot of business uncertainty. That the funny thing is that in technology, I think most people that have been building tech companies, we're used to uncertainty and we're used to having to deal with uncertainty. So, yeah, it wasn't the time where everyone would have thought, hey, it's the ideal time to be expanding into Europe. And equally, we did that. And then, obviously we had probably about I joined the march, would build the team, start ramping up the team. So there's a big challenge on wrapping up a new team and then a big challenge as well of building brand awareness. And I think that just as we were feeling fully ramped, and that's how we've arrived, we had covid hit and and that was again a moment of stop, analyze, replan, and I think that's just a cycle that's going to go on and on and on. Every year there's something's going to happen. But yeah, back to your question or Anyer, I think that, yeah, Europeans, they're always hungry for new tech. I think that the challenges that you have in a big company is, you know, it's no different to what we're doing now, a due to and that especially with with with Covid I think you know as it's been a big shock. But after that, I think that technology has experienced a renaissance this year. I think it's one of the one of the few areas of the economy where people are feeling safe and looked after professionally, in personally, is if they work in tech. So I think we have, as well as like, a big responsibility to honor that as we scale businesses. Yeah, now I agree with your nothing when question that I'd like to us who which may be more specific, to get your interestic nature of the of the European territory. You know yours have the German saying in Germany everything is different. You've got the English same, different from Fronso for Frenchise, not only are very specific, if you have friendship concern to us, people feel that you've you own a German, you can set in Germany. If you don't take a French don't for a long runs. You concern them except directed, but there is not appreciated, despite the bad what Qu's more, pockets of territories in Europe everybody likes to be very independent. What are your views on that? You do you think that that actually been different people, because I'm I know it to German would probably be more inclined to use g two and more technically. You need to probably wow them technically. Why? In the US is more story that will interest people in the in Germany's more. Okay, are you're going to plug out the work technically, but I'd like to get your souls on that, because I think one like to get yoursels on that. So it doesn't matter what I think, I want to know what you think. Look, let me speak first from like personal experience. Right. So, the other time that I was doing this we were rolling out a SASS product that had broad appeal across industries and was pretty much ready for prime time in enterprise as well as midmarket inness and b but the market just wasn't very much aware of it. So that the distribution model for us very much relied on having field based sales teams in country typical like be to be Sass sale, where you know, long cell cycles, workshops, multiple stakeholders. And I have to say, yeah, I do think that there are there is a huge value in being in touch with how people like to buy and I do think that, yeah, we know we celebrate our diversity in Europe and that translates into way in which we do business. So they were with that stint. You...

...know, I was actually building teams and I was, you know, building teams of French people in France and German people in Germany, and we weren't trying to understand different people in different way, we're just trying to reciprocate how they like to do business. Now fast forward to do you to I can tell you that our entire team is based in the UK and UK business is not even thirty percent of our share of business right and I think the fundamental difference there is not necessarily that we have we, which we do have a multi lingual, multinational team based out of the UK. I don't think that's the case. I think it's the fact that we're not setting field based anymore. And you know, I only sell into chology companies and are team money sells the markets sechology companies and in Europe there aren't that many enterprise. A lot of it is mid market and smaller businesses who very happy to do business remotely. So yeah, I think that there are differences, but I think that how you're going to market is key. But I have to say, like starting with English speaking languages and countries that are happy to do business in English is, as definitely something that you should like put top of your list when you're expanding into Europe. But I agree. Yeah, stereotypes are not helpful, but the way to get around them is don't guess, just like build a diverse team, and that's what I've always thought to do. Yeah, now I agree with you and I think you know the the the UK territory is an interesting one to get started, because I speak about it alert with clients or even were this conversation. But cast absolutely a lot. Maybe that absolutely everyone, but a good eighteen ninety percent of technology starter would lend in the UK first and I do believe that the UK prospect, no matter, would the if it's if you're setting mark take or if you're setting, you know, finance solution, no infrastructural Sabe or security. These guys are overwhelmed with people going to them saying you, I've got the best things in slaves break, basically, and and I think that the kind of build some sort of cynicism and now quite scenical as prospect. And if you can get down their skill and actually get them interested and if you can be successful in the UK, are strongly believe that you can be successful anywise in the world, because I do agree with the first statements you make. I think the prospect of a Europe, despite some of the thin and I'm herring sometimes, are extremely well educated about what's going on. They are very against scenical and to the point as to what they want and what they think, and it's great to do business with people like that because you don't waste time. You know, they tell you what it is that they tell you what they want, which is wonderful. But I would like to I would like to move a little bit of conversation towards your past experience and and g too. So you know in the build up of of this podcasts, you you discuss with may team about the fare that you walk with companies like accenture sells. First you mentioned extra selves force a little bit early on and obviously you are G two, which is what I would say a bit more of a startups, scale up type of organization. What sort of differences have you perceived or sin in term of culture from an accenture sells force, big motion versus, you know, the startup, scale up environment. HMM, I can ask that a lot. I get ask that, especially when talking to people and a seeking mental ship or making big commed decisions. I think look, no two big businesses are the same. No two small or medium sized businesses are the same. I think, you know, culture and values are unique to businesses. I think culture is really the wrong lengths to which to compare companies that are still different scale as well. You know, like a think about culture in a big company. Is that like team culture match that matters more than the company culture. Right. So we've all heard the sayings like people don't leave a company, that leave a manager, right, people leave teams. Right. So even with an accenture, you know, you could talk to a hundred people, essentials got, I don't know, two hundred thousand people globally, and talk to a hundred people and you're a hundred different things about what the culture is like that that company, because they're telling you their experience...

...with their manager, with their teams, right, similarly with cells force, and then simply would you too. I think it doesn't matter how great you feel the comp the company culture is. It's I think the best thing to look at is like the values of the company and how there's relate to you. And I do think in bigger companies, though, like your ability, as you scale, to like keep that team culture alive becomes harder, right. So give you some examples. You know, and a big company, you want to do right by one of your team members and you might want to reward them with a spot bonus or or do something to write or wrong. You know, in a small company that's quick. You can do that quick and in a big company will take you three months to get all the approvals. By the time you get the approvals, you know that person thinks you don't care and they're talking to your competitors and they continue the company. Anything can happen, right. You get a lot more in fighting and issues around, you know, territory allocation, especially in sales, like splits on global you know, global deals, all that kind of stuff. So I'd be big company will provide you more obstacles in terms of building an environment that is supportive and that is rewarding in a lot of ways. But I never chose to work for a big company, right, and despite the fact that I've had the opportunity to do so, I ended up in big companies by virtue of acquisitions, and I think that if you're in that situation, you've got to embrace it because you stand to learn so much. Yeah, you know, I had the better sales training of my career at eccenture and I also had the world class sales leadership education at sales force. And if you spend your entire career on the other side, you can just startups. You will, I guarantee you, especially if the fast growing startup, you'll get left behind because the company will outgrow you. Right. So there's never the right time to do it, but you've given the opportunity, especially by virtue of an acquisition, I wouldn't push it away and I've seen a lot of people, you know, a week, a month, two months after an acquisition, say, ah, I'm kicking the bucket, I'm done, like this is not for me. So I do advise people against that, because if all you've ever known this big corporate then all you ever done a start up, then you won't be able to just scale up. Right. If you want to scale up, we need to know both sides of the equation and that's why I'm like really fortunate about the position. We're room with dtwo because, you know, we've got, me phrase, over a hundred million dollars, we've got five hundred people in three different continents and we're starting to pull in a lot of the big corporate stuff that we've, that our leadership team of learned over the years, and also all of our you know, all of the fun, all of the Grittiness, all of the hustle that comes with startups. Yeah, it's it's hard. It's hard, yeah, but you really are start up gail too. Here there's all the thank you related which is good. I mean, I'm the same. I like the I like the I like what it's I like when you are, you know, of eating you first space, you don't have to wait for stuff to be approved, that you can get on with train things when you want to trade them, when the idea is exciting. That's three months later when you eventually got approval and you can of you know, it's a bit deflating, I think, sometimes when things are happening quickly enough. But not all large organization are like that. We have some chily large clans were extremely, extremely flexible and ad table. Yeah, and I think people are very quick to like bash big corporate right, and the highlight all the stuff that. Sorry's point thing is that the Aralian that you've just mentioned. Yeah, right, but actually one of the reasons why I felt some of the teams that I've had the privilege of leading and startups and scalps have been as successful as they have is because of a lot of the big corporate frameworks, processes, scalability initiatives that we've brought from our time at big corporates. And you know, you don't need deep pockets to do great work and if you bring in people that have been there and done that, that can be a huge competitive advantage, especially for companies that are just, you know, going beyond the ten million, going from the ten to twenty and from the two thousand and fifty, when that's when stuff that wheels really start to fall off. And and you've got two options, right, you bring in somebody who's done pick up...

...for twenty five years of their careers and they are completely in a clash with the organization. Yeah, or you build or you you listen some crazy people like me, you've done like big properly a few times. They two or three years here and there, and I we need to come and try in a bringing some of that into the business, and I think that that's what really tends to work best. Yeah, now I agree with you. I agree with you. So I'm coming back to you two and coming back to the starts in Europe. Where did you actually start? was a chicken in the end? Did you get to get the customer of First, marketing, first, recruiting first? What's what would be your recommended? I mean, I don't know. I don't think there is a blueprints that based episodes playing book of our. Do you expend Your Company in Europe? But what's the what would be the first thing that you would advise our audience if anyone was to be sent to us the ANA and Israeli company, a US company looking at your the maybe getting there so own road of investment and want to go. Obviously they need to record the right person on the ground. But what's they've got the right individual? What you think is first? What was the right sequence? Well, it's actually a topic and reflector on because not because of what we're doing as a team here at GTU, but also what we do in terms of how we service our customers. We're helping US businesses grow into Europe or European businesses that want to go global, and so I think about that a lot and I think that, I mean if you're a CEO, a Cerero of a US business who's interested in how to crack Europe and you're doing it for revenue purposes, right, because some people do it for R D purposes. I think some of the stuff that I always ask people to think about is like things like, number one, what level of brand awareness do you have in Europe? Right? Rand awareness is key, because I found that even with the twentyzero percent businessli cells force and a five hundred person business like you do, it doesn't matter how big and well known you think you are. Now Building Trust and awareness in Europe, especially to that skeptical buyer that we were talking about, it will take time and it was going to take more effort than you think. So things look at include like how much traffic you know do your does your website already get from a mere based people? You know? What levels of engagement do you get online from European prospects, buyers? How well do you rank on search engines if you were like searching in Europe versus searching searching in the US, you know, like flip on a VPN and and just see what the difference is, right and use websites like Youtu. You know, rank yourself against your competitors by popularity, by satisfaction, market presence in the region. Most companies I speak to tend to be a quite surprised, sometimes offended, just at how unknown they are or they feel in the region. That's number one, and then the second one is obviously what an existing revenue do you have, because that's going to dictate how you staff your team. We didn't have more than like twenty the thirteen customers in Europe at you two and some companies that I've spoken to. So I know few people who are doing a similar job for other US companies coming into Europe. They're coming to you up already like a hundred customers. Yeah, but have been service remotely. So it's very easy for you to sort of starff a team based on custom success and account managers. For us, that you two. It is very much acquisition driven. It's like hey, guys, know gtw it's here, this is what we do, is how we can help you grow. But if you have no customers and no revenue. The first step is to hire wanted two people Max and and if you're already passed that, say series be fundy. You should have, like, some local customers that you've supported remotely and then you can build out custom support customer success. But you should have, you should be able to justify some non quota carrying roles, because I think that's really key to scaling right, especially if you're looking at scaling revenue rather than just sales, because with the revenue you started, think about how you look after your customers, how you make sure they succeed and they stay with you and they spend more with you. So you've got to make those investments in nonecoin acquiring roles. And then, lastly, resist the urge to go into multiple market markets, multiple segments. Right. What's your sweet spot? As all, I...

...always ask what are you known for? They go are we're known for mid market, but now we're enterprise. Like that. But what's your sweet spot? Right? And so if it's mid market, don't assume that because you have nailed enterprise in the US that it is going to transfer easily over into Europe, because it won't like what I do. That sells force it took US eighteen months. We already had like the world's largest enterprise companies using up out the specific piece of software and it took US eighteen months to get that same traction in enterprise in Europe. So I resist, I'd tell them resist, the age to go wide and in multiple markets. And most companies start with the UK, right, and most of the talent is here. A lot of non UK talents. I mean, look at this call where you've got a bruce it in a Frenchman speaking in the southernbs of London. Over Zoom. There's a lot of diverse talent. So UK tends to be the first port of call. Now I agree with you. I agree with you. And finally, you know being a startup, and I don't know you know because sometimes, which is some start up with you mentioned the level of investment that you receive a gg and we have a we have a the chance to walk with started that have been extremely well funded over the yearl's and sometimes we look at it and people are yeah, well, you work with and a record or you work with an APM or you work with, you know, Microsoft sells. Spots may go. This must be massive. Clients, great clients. But in fact, you know, something is a start of that. We investment money with us. But the queshion I've good for you is that you know the usual rule of sound is that when the start of coming to Europe and starting the European market, there is always limitation some of the budget, marketing budget, that can be allocated to those, to the organization. What are your recommend les? She getting the most of every single marketing daughter when you get into Europe, when you start in Europe. What was the what would be the activts that you think are the most important or predominant for success into scale or? First of all, I have to say, having done the job of bringing a product to Europe at a big company like sales force, it did feel at times that had less resources than doing it at you too, because don't underestimate help your bureaucracy and it just like a big company's investing in so many different pots. Right. The only big advantage we had was the brand awareness and you know, show up on an advent the biggest booth has got your company logo on. Like all of that's great to the big shift really, I would say, is when you're doing a startup or scale up bring that into Europe. If you are the leader of that business unit, you will have a lot more flexibility and say into how you use the budget that is available and you won't have to, hopefully, answer to many people in terms of why you think that's what should be done. On the flip side, you're not going to have, you know, endless marketing budget to throw around every event and sponsorship that presents itself. So how do you make the best of your budgets? Well, I'd say, first of all, as I said earlier, don't try and be everything to everyone right and really just focus on nailing one market or one segment before moving on to the next. That will significantly help you focus your budget. But if you are going to be spending, you know, financial and human capital on acquiring customers, they stop wasting a time and your adollars on companies that are not in the market. Today's buyer is, as we've said, the most educated, proactive and skeptical buyer that we have ever seen, and COVID has intensified that for us because they have new choice but to do all the research online now and they don't trust anyone right. They don't trust anyone but themselves, their peers and people like them. So just because they are your ideal customer profile doesn't mean they're interested right. Think about that for a second and how many outreachers do you get on a daily, weekly basis because you seem to fit the ideal customer profile for something that you're not in the market for right now and that you don't need right so do yourself on your budget to favor, as what I would say, investing technology that allows you...

...to understand what these activities that they are doing online say about their readiness to buy, and that will allow your budget to go much further. So that's my top tip for marketing budgets. But I think I think we also have an obsession with acquiring new customers and the reality is that the key to sustainable long term revenue growth is very much in delighting your existing customers. And I see a lot of companies come into Europe on this, like acquisition Frendz Z, and we all know that the average time it takes to expand reveun in existing customers at least half of that that it takes to acquire a new customer yright and at a third of the cost. So really get to know your growth with economics for your existing business, in your focus on things like net revenue retention rather than just new legal acquisition, and you know aim for, and know what we aim for when we looking at our plans is we aim to spend no more than one dollar for every one dollar of net new ACV. Thanks and we try and keep to that ratio because this is a sweet start, sweet spot to like sustainable overall revenue growth makes perfect sense. Thanks for that and Riquet, where it was great to chat with you today and thank you so much for your insight. Well, when we get to the to this change of the the podcast, we always or decision. We always ask our guests what's the best way to get in touch with them. So we've got a fair amount of marketing. Folks were following the podcasts and not fully listening to the this this episode. They should speak to you too. They should speak to you. They should Bob someone in your team to one Tho. Some know they can increase their profile and you know your one is around their brand and and Maximo is maximize the the reviews and maximize their up because Turmes, get them to speak, get them to spread the good world. So only know what is the best way to get in from in front of you or to speak with you, to engage with you. And again, Hey, look, I just appreciate the opportunity to come here and share some ideas. Every time I have these kind of conversations, something new arises as you reflect, and there is no cutty cut cookie cutter APP to anything in Life Right. And I'm an avid learner myself. I spend most of my free time listening to podcasts like these and you know I'm quite active on Linkedin. So please go on Linkedin, connect with me, engage and share ideas. I'm always looking for opportunities to learn as well about the space that I'm in, and if you're interested in you to just go to youtuocom and contact us on there. And if you haven't yet claimed you're if you're in tech, you haven't claimed your profile on g tocom. We became a profile. Update your details and get started as well. That's what the food well, many things once again, and ricket, it was absolutely from fastic to every youngers for today. Thank you. Thanks for having me. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years. Companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob 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,.

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