Having a great product is not enough to ensure growth for your business. You must have a significant sales pipeline that can scale with growth. The challenge then is how to create such a pipeline. Sales pipelines are designed to give businesses greater visibility into their future. As marketers and salespeople, they allow us to plan out which leads we’re going to pursue and which ones we’re giving up on. In addition, they enable companies to track all the new leads they get in and what they do with them over time.
First Step: Defining Your Client
In a friendly tone: Your sales pipeline starts by establishing who you’re selling to. You can’t start your sales process until you know who you target. After all, if you don’t know who you’re talking to, how will you know what they need?
But this can be a challenge when scaling your business globally. In the United States, we have a pretty good idea of who our customers are, based on age, income levels, and other demographics. But in other countries, these standards don’t always apply. And if your target market is different from country to country, how can you standardize your product or service for all of them?
One way to overcome this hurdle is by using data. Data can help you identify the best targets for your product or service in each global market to maximize your chances of success.
Second Step: Knowing Your Audience’s Industries
When working with clients across the globe, it’s essential to understand their industries and the companies they work for.
For example, if you’re working with a client in IT based in Japan, they might not know what their counterparts in the United States or Europe are doing — so it’s essential to keep up with the latest industry trends and news.
It’s also important to understand where those businesses are located and which countries see the growth that could impact your clients’ business decisions. For example, if you’re working with an international company that does business in multiple countries worldwide, understanding each country’s political landscape could help you make better predictions about what kinds of changes might be coming down the pipeline for your client’s industry.
Third Step: Researching About the Decision-Makers
Once you identify your initial contact, you must develop a strategy for selling to that person. They may be the only ones who can make a decision, or they may have to get approval from someone else. The following questions will help you determine how to proceed: How much power does the contact wield?
- Is that person willing to back you up when presenting your product/service to others?
- Are they good spokespersons for you in front of other people in the company?
- How many people do you need to sell to at this company? (Typically, two or more is an indication of a buying committee.)
- Is it clear who is on the committee and what their roles are?
- Will this buyer champion your solution within the organization?
Fourth Step: Understanding Your Product (And the Solution It Provides)
Before you even think about selling your product or service abroad, you need to know what problem it solves and why people would want to buy it. This means having a well-defined value proposition that helps you understand your customer’s needs and why they need them. It also means understanding how your product or service solves those needs better than any other solution on the market.
If you’re a startup, you should first get to know your product and how customers are using it.
If you don’t understand how customers are using your product, then all of your marketing efforts will be in vain. You’ll be spending time and money on things that aren’t helping you reach your target audience.
If you can’t solve their problem, they won’t buy from you. And if they don’t buy from you, they won’t give you any feedback on what they like or don’t like about your product.
This may seem obvious—but I’ve seen so many founders ignore these basic steps that it’s worth repeating: The most crucial thing when scaling your sales pipeline globally is getting to know your product (and the challenges it solves) well enough so that you can scale it globally!