A framework for international expansion
I’ve worked at multiple technology companies where we made the leap from domestic to international. Along the way we learned a lot… a lot of what to do… and a shit load of what not to do.
I have the scars on my back and 117 pptx versions of our “International Prioritization Framework” to prove it.
I’m going to share that framework today so you can better evaluate your future go to market footprint abroad across three vectors:
Ability to win
In terms of when you should do this type of analysis - probably yesterday if you’ve already placed concentrated bets abroad. But the second best time would be as part of your annual planning process; this way you can link resourcing to field marketing spend and sales pipeline goals.
What vectors should I evaluate international expansion upon?
Visually I’ve created a quadrant that combines Market Attractiveness, as seen on the Y axis, and Ability to Win, as seen on the X axis.
In a perfect world you'd want to be in the upper right hand corner, which reflects both a high ability to win and a very attractive market.
If you can't get into that golden quadrant, then your next best bet is to either go for high market attractiveness, with a lower ability to win, or high ability to win, with lower market attractiveness.
And if you find yourself in the bottom left hand corner, well that's probably a sign that you haven't set yourself up for a high return on investment in that country. It’s what we call “a dead zone”.