Solving ‘The Dependency Problem’
To solve this problem we hired a product and engineering team purely dedicated to US projects. We became autonomous and agile overnight. Product was shipped quickly and we could iterate on customer feedback with lightening speed.
The cost of being highly autonomous is having a smaller impact. You have less resources to play with but you go fast. To get those highly leveraged outcomes you must give into dependency and leverage HQ. This can be slow and painful, but sometimes the outsized returns are worth it.
So how do you choose?
When should you be fully autonomous and when should you leverage existing resources?
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
For the most part Go-To-Market motions are about speed, not distance. You’re looking for small, quick wins that compound over time. Therefore building a fully autonomous team is usually the best option.
However, you’ll have a tough time getting the board’s approval if you’re still pre-product market fit. As the saying goes “you don’t build a house on quicksand” and likewise you shouldn’t over invest in a new market before validating product-market-fit (PMF).
“If you haven’t validated product market fit in your new market you should optimize using existing resources instead of hiring locally”
What about if you’ve already got PMF? Should you go crazy and rebuild sales, marketing, product, and engineering locally? Probably not.
There are two factors that go in to deciding whether to hire locally versus leveraging existing teams:
- How aligned are your current goals with HQ
- Do you need small quick wins or are slow big wins ok
How aligned are your goals with HQ
When your goals perfectly align with those of your core markets then leverage is powerful. The problem is they rarely overlap, and when they do it probably won’t last for long. When your goals don’t overlap it’s better to hire locally.
Let’s say you are a German company with a German blog, and you’re expanding to the US. Writing an English first blog is not going to be the top priority of your core market. Therefore hiring a local American blog writer would be a wise move.
Small quick wins versus slow big wins
When you need quick results you need autonomy. Quick results mean smaller sized however. You may be increasing traffic to your website, or building a new pitch deck. These items tend not to need the backing of HQ and can easily be done with the help of a local team.
But let’s say you’re eyeing up channel partnerships as a potential acquisition channel. You have a partnerships team back home who take care of this in your core markets. Should you hire a local partnerships person along with your new marketer? Probably not.
Channel partnerships are usually a scale play. They come later on. They’re long and slow to build. Hiring a local partnerships person would have a small impact towards a long term goal. Far better to leverage your partnerships team back home by investing now for a future big win.