Whenever I read a great book, I summarize it so I can learn better and recall it later. I have been asked to make some of my “Ken’s Notes” available. Here is part 7 of “Behind the Cloud” by Marc Benioff, the founder of salesforce.com. Scroll to the bottom for links to the other Parts – Ken Krogue
How to Launch Your Product and Introduce Your Model to New Markets
Play #75: Build Global Capabilities into Your Product
Launch with the mandate to go global from the beginning. Salesforce built their application so it could be configured to almost any currency or language, even character-based languages.
Play #76: Inject Local Leaders with Your Corporate DNA
Hire a team for Europe. Expose them to your culture.
Play #77: Choose Your Headquarters and Territories Wisely
Salesforce.com started in Dublin, Ireland because of the English language and a 12.5% corporate tax rate. Started with a telesales (the name for inside sales in europe) team and grew a field team thereafter. The team was made up of native speakers: German, French, Spain, etc. Use local numbers to the countries.
Think Like a Start-Up:
1- Use the original messaging
2- Translate the product on day one to the major languages, but only add additional languages as customer demand builds. Start with UK, Germany, France, Spain, and the Nordic countries.
3- Build a bedrock of small customers in each country before hiring local employees.
4- Don’t overhire. Keep your standards high.
Play #78: Box Above Your Weight
No deal is too small. Get a nice place to open up shop.
Play #79: Scale Without Overspending
Spend less on expanded office space and more on hiring and marketing. Operate out of hotels for events to keep up the image. Hire employees that work from home and hotels and small offices in Germany, Spain, Italy, and other countries with a good base of business.
Play #80: Understand Sequential Growth
Run telesales targeting small business and field sales targeting enterprise as almost separate businesses. Enter a country, establish a beachhead, gain customers, earn local references, and make then hires. Then seek partners, build add-ons, and grow field sales. Then “rinse and repeat.”
Play #81: Uphold a One-Company Attitude Across Borders
Build Salesforce.com in Europe, not a separate company. US brand is about success, scrappiness, and customer centricity as well as the 1-1-1 foundation concept, so do it everywhere.
Play #82: Follow Strategy, Not Opportunity
Japan is the second largest IT market in the world, so Japan can benefit from SaaS service. Partner with all companies. Steer clear of “exclusive” partnerships, the wrong partner can be a parasite that drains assets.
Play #83: Going Far? Take a Partner. Going Fast? Go Alone.
Leverage Local Experts. Look for existing relationships or incubators for startups (SunBridge Japan). Salesforce.com Japan was a joint venture with salesforce.com in the US. Continue to target the end-user, not the person who controls the budget.
Play #84: Fine-Tune Your International Strategy
Selling through partners in Japan didn’t work, so went back to selling direct in Japan with a few adaptations to fit the Japanese market. Piggyback on global partners like Google, Amazon, and eBay when introducing your company. In Japan the key was having references from very large global customers and government organizations. Define very specific target accounts and dedicate resources to go after them. Companies like Canon, Hitachi, Mizuho, Nippon Steel, NTT, and Richoh. Government agencies like Japan Post are key.
The Land and Expand strategy works in Japan also.
Play #85: Send Missionaries to Build New Markets
Send people from headquarters to get a beachhead, plan on 36 months. Have a local leader with a person from headquarters.
Play #86: Handle Global Disputes with Diplomacy (aka Light and Love)
Use Australia as a gateway to Asia. Do one page documents that are tight enough to be binding, but loose enough to give latitude to both parties to operate freely. Get it executed quickly.
Play #87: Edit an Overarching Outlook
Asia is different from everywhere else. Australia is too far, so Singapore was best; with English speaking and aggressive economic incentives to target China and India. Also prime is an education that typically includes bilingual or trilingual skills. Started with telesales again and recruited from Microsoft, Oracle, and Siebel in Bangalore, Hong Kong, China, and Korea. Brought every employee to Singapore initially, then put satellites into specific markets.
Play #88: Bring Old Tricks to New Regions
Use Corporate Sales (Inside Sales) to start. Used mock “protesters” outside events to stir up curiosity and excitement, be careful of doing this in Singapore, almost got shut down by police, but it worked outrageously well. This would be a total flop in Korea where humility and modesty are appreciated most.
Play #89: Don’t Use a “Seagull Approach”; the Secret to Global Success is Commitment
Customers want commitment all year long, not just after big events. Asia wants business face-to-face, and it takes more time. The “seagull approach” (swooping in, messing up the place, and flying away) doesn’t work well. Build a sustained presence.
Part 1 – The Start-Up Playbook – How to Turn a Simple Idea into a High-Growth Company
Part 2 – The Marketing Playbook – How to Cut Through the Noise and Pitch the Bigger Picture
Part 3 – The Events Playbook – How to Use Events to Build Buzz and Drive Business
Part 4 – The Sales Playbook – How to Energize Your Customers into a Million-Member Sales Team
Part 5 – The Technology Play Book – How to Develop Products Users Love
Part 6 – The Corporate Philanthropy Playbook – Make Your Company About More Than the Bottom Line
Part 7 – The Global Playbook – How to Launch Your Product and Introduce Your Model to New Markets
Part 8 – The Finance Playbook – How to Raise Capital, Create a Return, and Never Sell Your Soul
Part 9 – The Leadership Playbook – How to Create Alignment—the Key to Organizational Success
The Final Play