GTM Global helps UK companies expand internationally and supports overseas companies looking to setup or do business in the UK and Europe.
Our global ecosystem comprises an international network of 4,000+ tech, digital & eCommerce scale-ups; 500+ in-country specialists, commercial partners & trade bodies, and a global network of economic development organisations, international investors and global infrastructure companies.
We also work with government bodies, economic development agencies, FDI organisations and independent trade bodies to deliver virtual trade missions, business development services and deal flow for inward-investment.
Over the last 4 years GTM Global has developed a high-touch programme of virtual Go-to-Market expansion workshops, webinars, 1-2-1 mentoring, online resources, and consultancy services, leveraging close connections with the ecosystem partners & their regional networks. Such is the strength of our connections we often facilitate game-changing introductions, expanding reach, minimising risk & accelerating both revenues & growth.
Our international expansion workshop programme offers a unique approach to acquiring the knowledge, connections and know-how necessary for successful overseas market entry. In a matter of a few hours’ delegates get prescient information through a series of 1-2-1 consultations with experts in different aspects of international business. Delegates also meet with specialist in-country service providers, economic development agencies, infrastructure companies and specialist commercial organisations who can support them on the ground.
The net result is that participants in the programme significantly refine and advance their international planning and get introductions & access to opportunities that would have taken weeks or months of research and qualification.
This eco-system has given us some mission critical insights that we can share and engage with C-suite scale-up owner managers to fast-track any planned international expansion.
What Makes A Successful GTM Strategy?
Successful expansion is like a jig-saw puzzle. Many owner managers will have some of the pieces clearly defined. However, it is identifying those missing pieces and aligning them into place that is key.
Local knowledge, expert advice and validation from people who know the sector/product is vital, alongside considering all aspects of market entry that can be tested through reaching out to in-country government and regional business networks, partners, trade bodies and economic development organisations.
Knowing how much any planned expansion will really cost you, having a well thought through risk/impact analysis as well as understanding the target marketplace, competition, consumer behaviour, supply-chain, stakeholders, trends etc. will be pivotal.
There will be skews in terms of unregulated versus regulated sectors plus product approvals and how that will impact timing and costs. Furthermore, this will vary from country or region in terms of general regulations, taxes, cultural, political, business and consumer behaviours.
Add to this that many companies will have already done some ‘fishing trips’ following up leads, attending (in those good old pre-pandemic days) conferences and events, or may have already gotten some direct sales online or via 3rd party distributors. Those trips will have given them parts of the jigsaw – but not all. That is where the GTM Strategy comes in.
The Four Stages of Expansion
In the course of working with the thousands of companies in our ecosystem, we realised that there are four distinct stages that each company goes through in their international expansion journey. At each stage, we see that the needs of the business vary, initially being more research focused but quickly moving into planning and execution modes, both of which have different support needs. The four stages are explained below.
Broadly speaking this stage is about doing research and acquiring sufficient knowledge to identify the geographies and locations where opportunities exist and to understand (most notably) the likely barriers to entry, the legislative and regulatory compliance requirements, the potential routes to market, risk factors and likely costs.
Many companies start their journey not with a single focus on international expansion but as a result of having gained a few customers overseas and then contemplating whether this is a sign of potential worthy of pursuit. For these their discovery efforts are likely to focus on the locations where their customers already exist: nonetheless, there is a lot to discover when moving from the reactive sales situation to a more proactive strategic position.
Others have already identified a clear opportunity where they can focus on a particular region and the discovery is then about market entry strategy: Whether to setup an office, work through a local partner or distributor, attempt to support remotely and so on. These considerations and others, will be influenced by the geography and sector in question, and importantly the choice of routes to market for your products or services. There is more on this in the Business Considerations section below.
We find that in reality, the discovery and planning stages tend to merge together which is not surprising. However, a good number of companies do their discovery and then pause for thought, perhaps recognising that the business is not quite ready to commit the time and resources or that additional funding is required to do the job properly.
Whatever your circumstances, the need for a market entry plan is fundamental, just like any other business plan. And as is the case there, a well thought our strategy is a pre-requisite and critical to achieving successful market entry.
During the planning stage it can be hugely beneficial to get feedback from in-country specialists who know the local market and have intimate knowledge of your sector. At GTM Global we can often facilitate this by connecting you to relevant partners in our ecosystem. Not only does this help to validate your plan, but often, the specialist can make introductions to relevant business partners and sales opportunities. These can be invaluable.
In the next section of this guide, you can find useful information to help raise awareness of the business factors to consider when formulating your strategy and plans. The final section then provides a template for developing and documenting your strategy.
Your market-entry strategy will provide the over-arching direction of travel, but in practical terms, you are likely to need a support infrastructure on the ground especially if you are setting up an operation in the region.
For example, in your planning stage you may have determined that the best corporate structure from a tax perspective involves the incorporation of a local entity, and that this entity will hire local staff to support your operation.
To deliver on this, you will most certainly need a good lawyer and accountant with intimate knowledge of local practices and ideally with experience of representing similar companies with their market-entry structuring and operational agreements.
In addition to professional services support, there may also be benefits of connecting with local marketing agencies, logistics companies, supply chain organisations and so on. Rather than build these relationships from the ground up, many companies in the GTM Global ecosystem reach out to us to facilitate warm introductions from trusted partners.
There also good support infrastructures available in certain cities and regions operated by government departments, economic development agencies and other FDI organisations – and indeed trade partners and membership bodies. Many have incentives and benefits to attract inward investment and they provide access to important business networks & opportunities, including funding.
We have strong evidence within our ecosystem that this support is real and tangible so don’t underestimate the potential!
You’ve done the hard part; your market entry has been successful, and you have established your business in the region. Hungry for more success, you are now thinking about expansion.
Do you do this organically, raise further investment, acquire a business etc. Is it about duplicating operations in additional cities, states or countries? Are there new GTM strategies that are now in play given your local presence, market credibility and knowledge?
Addressing these questions and developing the right strategy will touch upon aspects of your earlier discovery and planning stages. However, this time round the scale, size and costs may necessitate advice and support from a different level of professional services organisations and trade partners. For example, M&A specialists, international investors, global structuring & tax optimisation etc.
This need might seem a long way off, but when the time is right, we hope to be able to support you through our global network of partners. Increasingly these include international VC firms and family offices, M&A practitioners, specialist IP lawyers, global law firms and corporate venturing companies.
GTM Global (GTM) success.
GTM Global (GTM) success.