Modern Marketing Engine Podcast Sales Leadership

How To Plan Your International Business Expansion Strategy

If you’re curious about how to create an international business expansion strategy that is based on best-practices, John Pincott shares on this episode.

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When it comes to creating and successfully implementing an International business expansion strategy, there are numerous variables that must be addressed. Wouldn’t it be great to have a seasoned International expansion advisor on your team? On this episode, Bernie speaks with an executive who has overseen or been a part of International expansions for many companies. Most importantly, he’s done so successfully and can share lessons-learned that will be of great benefit to anyone seeking to expand to International markets.

On this episode, Bernie speaks with John Pincott, GM of Conversica Europe. John has extensive experience with International expansion and is very passionate about the nuances of expanding a successful business into another region of the world. Listen to learn how to know if your company is ready to expand, what it takes to do so, and pitfalls to watch out for along the way.

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This episode is sponsored by Conversica, AI software for marketing and sales that fosters real conversations to discover the most qualified sales opportunities. Learn more at

If You’re Looking To Expand Be Thoughtful, Not Opportunistic

Many companies have a “go global” ambition. There is nothing wrong with that but you need to ensure that your organization as a whole is ready for expansion. John believes 4 things should be considered.

John says you need to honestly assess whether your team is ready, if your company is in the right stage of business for expansion, and whether your product is truly ready for the “big time.” In his words, “If you haven’t cracked the nut’ in your domestic market, the thought that you’re going to be successful in a foreign market is very slim.”

It’s alluring to think of International expansion but if your systems and other resources are not to the point that they are working well in your current market, you’ll be better off in the long run if you don’t export an offering that is less than ready. John says this applies to the areas of technology, human resources, and virtual resources.

If expansion is a siloed exercise that doesn’t have a clear strategy across the organization, then what you’re considering is not going to work as well as it should. A company-wide focus will make success more likely.

John points out that even though you might be entering a new market as a mature organization, you have to change the way you think as you move into a new market. In many ways, you are truly going back to the startup stage, almost as if you’re launching your company all over again.

Be Sure You Do Your Homework

Thinking of International business expansion can feel very “glamourous,” but John points out that you can’t let the exciting things keep you from doing what he calls “the boring work.” What would this include? Be sure to ask questions like these…

  1. What do we do best?
  2. Is our product offering an established category in this region?
  3. Do we know the TAM (Total Addressable Market)?
  4. Do we understand the geography, verticals, and market segments?
  5. What are the routes/channels to market and their relative cost?
  6. Have we done a S.W.O.T. analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.
  7. What do we understand about the culture in the new market?
  8. What do we know about the competitive landscape?
  9. Is the talent we need available in the region?
  10. What are the legal issues we need to be aware of?

When Conversica expanded its AI Assistant technology solutions into Europe they discovered that there was not much competition on the ground in this market. There wasn’t even an existing category for their product. That may sound like a dream, but it requires that the organization’s approach focuses to a large degree on educating potential buyers on the merit of their solution.

John has extensive advice that he shares on this episode, particularly about cultural differences and the route to market. You won’t want to miss his advice.

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Be Clear About What Success Looks Like And Set Goals And Budgets

John says agreeing on success metrics is a huge part of reaching it. Alignment has to be achieved around the definition of success because it will dictate whether or not everyone on the expansion team is rowing in the same direction. With alignment on a success plan everyone can establish realistic expectations and time frames. Expansion efforts frequently take longer and cost more than expected. A phased approach is the way to go rather than trying to accomplish too much too fast.

You might start with U.S. based benchmarks such as cost of customer acquisition, conversion rates, and other KPIs. – but you’re actually using it as a thesis that you’re testing in the new market. Your success will look very different in a new region, so take a long term perspective. As John describes it, “Take a land and expand mindset.”

Begin To Prove Your Thesis Through Execution

The premise of any International business expansion strategy must be to leverage the expertise you have domestically into the new market abroad. As you do, you’ll have to iterate and adapt to the new culture and business market.

This is what John calls the “test and learn” stage – use the approaches to assess what you already have in place domestically and begin applying them to your International business expansion strategy. You’ll discover ways you need to modify your approach. You want to do ongoing assessments regarding your execution, how it evolved, and whether you hit your goals. When you achieve your goals, you can expect to get the green light to keep going. If not, you’ll want to change your approach using data to steer your decision making so you increase your success in your strategy.

This episode is packed with insights from John Pincott, GM of Conversica Europe based on his rich experience in expanding companies Internationally. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from him.

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This episode is sponsored by Conversica, AI software for marketing and sales that fosters real conversations to discover the most qualified sales opportunities. Learn more at

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If you’re looking towards international expansion, be thoughtful, not opportunistic. Great advice from John Pincott of @MyConversica. Get more #BusinessTips on this ep of @MMEnginePodcast w/ @BernieBorges. #ModernMarketing Click To Tweet International expansion requires you to be clear about what #success looks like. John Pincott of @MyConversica explains on this episode the @MMEnginePodcast with Vengreso CMO, @BernieBorges. Listen now! #SocialSelling #Leadership Click To Tweet

By Bernie Borges

Bernie Borges is Co-founder and former Chief Customer Officer of Vengreso, the leader in virtual selling skills training and technology for today's modern sales rep. He was also the host of the award-winning Modern Marketing Engine podcast. His book Marketing 2.0, was an early playbook in social media strategy. Bernie is also a speaker and voice over talent. He has a passion for aligning marketing, sales, and customer success for great customer outcomes and sustained revenue results. Bernie is a fitness buff and enjoys kayaking with his family in Tampa Bay.

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