I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks focusing on consuming content, spending a good deal of time in PowerPoint and getting insights from folks which has been very rewarding and challenging. I’ve also been taking an inventory of situations I’ve been in/witnessed throughout my career to see if I would address a situation/access the situation differently today than I would have say 6 years ago. The scenario I’ve dragged out and documented below is one that most product managers who have a global sales force have been in before – a newly launched solution in which not everyone is fully up to speed on, especially the folks who aren’t in your country. Regardless of the organizations readiness, there are opportunities in the pipeline and work has to be done to move the prospect through the sales cycle, like a demo for a large customer somewhere on the planet and the local SC’s don’t know/aren’t comfortable with the product yet.
Launching products are tough enough in one geography, but launching a product globally requires additional discipline, different tactics and a baseline understanding of what each market and sales organization needs to be successful post-launch.
So while it might be easy to just to do a webinar or provide “global” product overview sheets for the field it may not be the most effective way to engage and spin up a global sales organization for lots of reasons. Below is a reasonably accurate reconstructionist email thread from a while back around a product launched globally which which aligns to rule of thumb asserted above. For ease of reading I’ve reversed the order of the email thread:
De: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto: email@example.com]
Enviado: Lunes, 08 de agosto 20xx 6:02 AM
Asunto: Reunión y Demo en Barcelona y Madrid
Dos de nuestros grandes clientes en España desea un panorama general de nuestro nuevo producto, ya que todavía no han tenido una llamada de ventas en la solución, ¿sería posible que usted venga a España y aportar la visión global de NOMBRE DEL CLIENTE 1 y CLIENTE NOMBRE 2? Déjame saber y confirmar las reuniones de 15 de septiembre y 18. Gracias.
Follow Up Note:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto: email@example.com]
Sent: Lunes, 08 de agosto 20xx 8:12 AM
Subject: RE: Reunión y Demo en Barcelona y Madrid
Sólo hablo un poco de español, pero si usted me pregunta que hacer una reunión en el otoño de España a principios, entonces tengo que pensar en eso. 8 horas en el aire, el tipo de cambio y todo lo que puede hacer que no de 4 horas de las reuniones de la pena. Voy a seguir en el próximo par de días. ¡Salud!!
For even easier reading, I’ve used Google Translate below, which is what most of us use anyhow when researching a global product inquiry in which over 50% of the forwarded email thread is in a different language:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto: email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, 08 of agosto 20xx 6:02
Subject: Meeting and Demo in Barcelona and Madrid
Two of our larger customers in Spain want a quick overview of our new product, which I have not yet had a sales call for the solution, is it possible that you come to Spain and to provide overall vision CUSTOMER NAME 1 and CUSTOMER NAME 2? Let me know and confirm the meetings of September 15 and 18. Thank you.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto: email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, August 8, 20xx 8:12
Subject: RE: Meeting and Demo in Barcelona and Madrid
I only speak a little Spanish, but if you’re ask me to do a meeting in the fall of Spain at the beginning, then I have to think about it. 8 hours in the air, the exchange rate and all we have is 4 hours of the meetings of the sentence. I will confirm in the next couple of days. Cheers!
There are a good deal of options to pursue and at this point, from a wholesale no to other travel related options. I’ve listed a couple for consideration:
- Decline the meetings wholesale and kindly point them to the intranet information (training videos, presentations and online demo)
- Setup additional client meetings yourself, extend the trip a week and do a couple more sales calls throughout Europe, but also schedule a product session with the field on the newly launched solution face-to-face.
- Book flights for the in-laws to come down to watch the kids and add your wife to the boondoggle and accept the two meetings only while occasionally responding to emails.
- Accept the two meetings, enjoy Olympic Harbor, do email at odd times and essentially work 14 hours a day for a week responding to inbound email and meeting requests in North America
- Setup a webinar for the EMEA organization to again provide an overview and decline the request
- Request from your superior to do 90 days helping the field in Europe to get comfortable with the new product, effectively becoming super SC for Europe and odd hour email response personnel.
Are there other options you would pursue? Or would you do a hybrid of a couple of them, say option 2 and 5? Option 4 is basically just a reality from my experience, at least the 14 hour days part.
As an FYI: Option 3 is tough many levels even though it seems like a good idea on the surface, I had a Microsoft Partner Conference in New Orleans I tried it with, but we did get to see 2 nights of Widespread.
So what would you do?