How to successfully build a European sales team

When expanding your organisation internationally, you can’t just do the same things you’ve always done. Henrique Moniz de Aragao explains.

Back in June, we staged our second #SaasGrowth conference, at Here East, part of London’s Olympic Park. There were over 350 SaaS professionals in the audience, watching more than 40 of London’s foremost SaaS experts share their knowledge. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you through our #SaaSGrowth2019 articles.

Henrique Moniz de Aragao

It was great to welcome Henrique Moniz de Aragao to the SaaSGrowth stage. Henrique is the GM EMEA for G2, one of the hottest tech companies in the world right now, as well as one of our Gold Sponsors.

The title of Henrique’s talk was, ‘What no one taught me about building European sales teams’. It was great to hear tips on expanding internationally from someone who has done it, with a fresh spin.

Here are three tips from Henrique.

1 — Don’t use slang

When building a sales team in different locations across Europe, you need everyone to understand you. So, when talking business, make sure you don’t use those slang terms that only work in your country. (This can be tricky at first, but once you master it, Bob’s your uncle!)

English is still the working language, but not everyone will get those colloquial expressions. To cross the cultural divides in your team, you can create your own culture. For example, rather than handshakes, why not do hugs for all?

You also need to be sensitive to different cultures in different territories. For example, don’t schedule meetings straight after lunch in Spain!

2 — Be there

If you are going to run a successful sales team in different locations across Europe, you need to spend time with everyone. Be present and in person, even if it means you have to travel more. You won’t be as effective managing remotely.

Try picking 3 locations and rotate your time between them. Being there in person helps you build personal relationships with your team. You find out more about them and they find out more about you. Do it with a smile on your face. Go there because you want to, not because you have to.

3 — You don’t need that many people

You don’t need lots of people dotted across various locations in Europe. Neither should you expand to one country at a time. In fact, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Make calculated bets on limited markets. Decide what countries you are going to build your business in and be proactive in those areas. You can be reactive to business from outside of those countries. Three is a manageable number of countries to begin with. It helps you balance your business.

Over to you

Thanks to Henrique for such a value-packed talk. Now, we want to know what you think.

What are your top tips for expanding a sales team across Europe? What are the sales cultural differences you have seen as you’ve travelled across the continent?

Let the Sales Confidence community know by leaving a comment below.

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