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Overcoming operational challenges to penetrate a growing international footprint

Apr 29, 2024

 PaymentCo, a leading point of sale and restaurant management platform company from the United States had seen incredible success and was looking to international markets for growth. After entering a few markets, the company began to identify its propensity to reactively localize and some of the gaps that existed with how the company’s operational model was built for the United States market, lacking the flexibility to adapt to fit the needs in other countries. Global Class was brought in by the Head of International to help evaluate the current state of the company’s expansion and identify gaps and areas of risk, while making international expansion more of a priority for company leadership. The result: PaymentCo’s stock increased by 29.45% since engaging with Global Class and the international team was able to secure more executive-level support for global growth initiatives.

 

The Situation

Becoming a clear market leader in the United States, PaymentCo set its sights on entering and finding product-market fit in international markets. To do so, PaymentCo did what many American companies do, the company fell into (what we at Global Class call) familiarity bias, where companies select markets based on geographic proximity or similar language. The American flavor of this is to go to the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia, because all of those markets have large English-speaking populations. 

Since PaymentCo’s go-to-market strategies focused more on concentrating success in specific cities, it led the company to focus more on finding traction in the market quickly than truly localizing to capture high market share. As with other companies, this led PaymentCo to be reactive about localizations, finding it hard to stay ahead of required localizations and build them before launching in a new country.

Most members of the international team were long-time employees from PaymentCo corporate who lacked native knowledge of local markets, further exacerbating the situation. The Head of International, having been in the role for multiple years, was looking toward succession planning, understanding that much of the support for international among company leadership was due to the trust in, institutional know-how and existing international relationships of the Head of International.

While local sales teams had the autonomy to localize, operations and systems were centralized and was hard-coded for the US market, making it hard to support operational changes required for new markets, from financial reporting requirements to regulations.

PaymentCo’s Head of International brought in the Global Class team to help assess current gaps and make recommendations for how to accelerate growth in global markets.

 

Our Approach

Explain the GCS process – Partnered with Head of Intl. interviewed entire team

Identify gaps - like on the operational side

Global Class saw indications of roadblocks slowing international growth, all stemming from the fact that international expansion (new markets) was a lower priority for company leadership than other growth drivers.

Using its proprietary Global Capability Score (GCS) in-depth analysis, Global Class conducted diagnostic interviews with PaymentCo’s entire global expansion team, uncovering key gaps. This detailed GCS, identified risks, like how localization discovery was driven by the head of international products, with little involvement from most other members of the international expansion team, leading to suboptimal localization insights, which provided fertile ground for the reactive behavior in PaymentCo’s local markets.

As part of the GCS, Global Class identified areas of strong and weak alignment around global expansion and presented a set of 5 strategic recommendations to PaymentCo’s international expansion leadership team.

 

Bridging Recommendations and Implementation

Besides the formal GCS analysis, Global Class regularly coached PaymentCo’s Head of International on how to make global a higher priority for the company’s C-suite and how the team could continue to collaborate, using Global Class methodology to super-charge the organization's growth. 

Global Class taught the Head of International Product how to effectively conduct the localization discovery process, taking a more proactive approach and further involving their colleagues in other crucial functions. 

Global Class outlined ways to implement structures and processes to better support growth (which we refer to as “momentum builders”), to improve collaboration and feedback loops between local teams and HQ.

Finally, the Global Class team drove PaymentCo to consider other (non-English speaking) markets for expansion and to consider a wider range of the operational model  changes that need to be made by headquarters to allow for flexibility reduced to 

 

The Results

Since Global Class’ involvement, PaymentCo has made incredible strides in its global growth, fostering internal alignment and increasing results in existing markets while streamlining the process of evaluating new markets. Key results include:

  • PaymentCo’s stock price increased 29.45% in the first year from when the Head of International engaged Global Class
  • PaymentCo revamped its expansion evaluation process, looking beyond market size to consider a more holistic set of criteria to evaluate new markets, as well as including new markets that weren’t English speaking, so PaymentCo can break out of its familiarity bias for only targeting English speaking market
  • Growth in new markets (international expansion) went from being a lower-priority growth driver, to the most important engine for company growth

*We take our clients’ confidentiality seriously. While the names have been changed, the results are real.

If you'd like to learn more about Global Class and implement strategies and tools that we have developed, reach out to us!
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