Go-To-Market Strategy for Startups: The Importance of Local Talent Part 1

a person writing the word go-to-market on a clear board

Expanding into new markets is an exhilarating yet challenging endeavor for startups and founders alike. Success hinges not only on the commercial viability of products or service but also on the go-to-market (GTM) strategy. For example, one main reason why companies fail in global expansion is because they hire the wrong people, according to research published by Harvard Business Review 

In this blog post series, we take a deep dive into the significance of hiring local talent for a GTM launch. From identifying the right market to understanding the potential pitfalls of cross-border hiring, we shed light on how to build a winning cross-border growth strategy.  

Identifying the right market for hiring GTM talent

To embark on a GTM strategy with confidence, startups must identify the right regions for expansion and talent acquisition. For instance, if you are a fintech startup eyeing expansion into Africa, it is important to understand market-specific conditions across countries and cities. 

What are the market-specific conditions to consider in a GTM strategy? Read on to find out.  

Market Criteria  Steps to Take 
Market Size and Target Audience 
  • Calculate growth projections and emerging trends to gauge the true potential of the market. 
  • Define your ideal customer profile based on demographic, psychographic and geographic factors. 
Supply and Demand of Talent and Compensation Expectations 
  • Assess the pool of skilled GTM professionals within the market to qualify if you can fill the necessary roles. Cultural factors, including language proficiency, should be considered. 
  • Explore the demand for local GTM talent within the market, understanding specific skill sets or expertise that may be in high demand and where compensation packages may need to be more attractive. 
  • Consider cost-of-living and industry benchmarks for talent compensation, aligning compensation packages with market expectations. 
Competitive Landscape and Market Trends 
  • Analyze competitors to identify gaps and opportunities for differentiation. 
  • Stay abreast of evolving market dynamics and consumer preferences. 
Local Regulations and Economic Factors 
  • Navigate the maze of tax liability and compliance requirements to steer toward a smooth market entry, including employment regulations. 
  • Assess economic stability, purchasing power and currency fluctuations to make informed decisions about business expansion. 

Advantages of cross-border hiring

Having the right local talent on your team can be a “make or break” for your GTM strategy.  

“Local professionals bring invaluable insights to your company and possess a deep understanding of the target market,” says Harry Dillon, Director of Recruit & Hire at GoGlobal. “Their expertise in navigating the local business landscape, understanding consumer behavior and grasping cultural nuances significantly enhance the effectiveness of a GTM strategy – elevating the prospects for market success.” 

While hiring locally brings distinct advantages – such as language fluency, cultural acumen and market intelligence – it also poses challenges that demand attention and resolution. The following are some of the key advantages gained in cross-border hiring.  

  • Language Proficiency and Cultural Awareness: Hiring local professionals with native or fluent language skills allows for effective communication with prospective customers, partners and stakeholders. This can advance customer engagement and build trust with key stakeholders. 
  • Familiarity on Regulations: Expanding into a new market means new labor laws, tax regulations and employment practices (e.g., payroll processing and benefits administration. Having a local hire who is familiar with the legal framework can help mitigate the risk of penalties. 
  • Market Intelligence: Local professionals know the intricacies of the local market, including customer demographics, competitors, distribution channels and regulatory landscape. This empowers startups to make informed decisions and adjust their GTM strategies accordingly. 
  • Established Networks: Local professionals have established networks and relationships within the industry and the local business community. Leveraging these networks can swiftly connect businesses with potential customers, partners, suppliers and other key stakeholders. 

Up next: benchmarking for key GTM functions

Thank you for joining us in this series as we unravel the complexities of GTM strategies and outline how startups can effectively expand their operations internationally. 

Stay tuned for our next post, where we will focus on creating a successful GTM team in target markets abroad. We will also offer insights into compensation benchmarking, outlining key takeaways for attracting and retaining top talent. 

Watch for our webinar It’s a Small World: International Expansion for Startups or download our comprehensive guide Roadmap to Global Growth for Startups.

Reach out today if your startup is ready to expand into new markets around the world.