Cultural differences when selling/International career in sales

5 min read

Doreen Pernel is an Inside Sales Manager who is passionate about coaching and helping sales teams to grow to their full potential. Currently, working at Workplace from Facebook as the Inside Sales Manager for EMEA, APAC & LATAM regions; she is a part of the mission that is to give the world a place to work together.

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TIME-STAMPED SHOW NOTES:

[01:27] What led you to be the position that you are today?

[03:36] What is in your opinion on the most important thing when selling to a different country?

[05:22] How do you leverage social selling while selling across the regions? 

[06:59] How do you train your team members on cultural differences? 

[08:33] Do you have any advice for remote managers on this? 

[10:25] Could you give some advice for individual contributors being managed?

[11:45] What motivated you to work on 3 different continents?

[14:14] How do you manage your time?

[17:33] How do you imagine the future of sales?

Summary:

What led you to be the position that you are today?

Doreen: I have a bit of an international background. I’m originally from France. I did my studies in France, England, Finland, and Australia where I got my Masters of Management in the Business School of Sydney. 

From there I started to work directly in Sydney as a store manager getting to the sales motion more in the B2C side before moving back to London where I worked at Bloomberg as a Contracts Manager.

From there I moved to the US, still with Bloomberg where I managed a team in the US and in Brazil. I decided to move back to completely like a sales environment and represent and to move to a SaaS company as you know, Bloomberg is more of a FinTech company.

So I moved to Box which is a company for cloud content management systems where I worked as an inside sales leader and then I had the opportunity to join the Workplace from the Facebook team where I’m running the inside sales team, which means the SMB sales the inbound and the outbound motion.

In terms of cultural differences, What is in your opinion on the most important thing when selling to a different country? 

Doreen: when we target a different country in sales, the best thing to do first is to do some research regarding the culture. it’s always interesting to know about cultural habits and business habits. 

It’s easy to find it. You can just Google it, do some research yourself on the Internet or ask your colleagues. We are in a world where we have very culturally diverse teams and it’s super cool to hear each and everyone’s backgrounds and best practices. So often we miss the opportunity to speak directly to our colleagues and we go directly to the roots of Google but really when I do my research to target a country that I’ve never targeted before. I always try to find the most knowledge I can before targeting this country. 

Now that social selling is an effective way to create meaningful relationships with clients. How do you leverage social selling while selling across the region? 

Doreen: What we try to do is as we target often acts throughout our network is to use if we can speak the specific language of the target that we are reaching to. 

So depending on what I’m sharing on social media and on a social platform like LinkedIn, I will whether, for example directly write in French if I’m targeting a person from a french-speaking country or I try sometimes to translate my posts from English to French and other languages, so making sure that I’m not forgetting anyone in my network if I want to have a global message to target a lot of people at the same time. 

What I try to do is to post at friendly hours for everyone. So trying to post like midday for Europe, so it’s not too early in the US but not too late for APAC. So trying to the kind of careful when I’m sharing my content. 

How do you train your team members on cultural differences? 

Doreen: The team that I managed directly cover APAC, LATAM and EMEA and US. We try to do a global approach where we provide the same resources and the same knowledge base to all our team members and for each regional training, we would do separate sessions. It really does make a difference at the end of the day. 

Do you have any advice for remote managers on this? 

Doreen: I am a Remote Manager. My team is based out of Dublin. The best advice that I can have is to stay connected. Try to get some video time with your team as much as you can, have team huddle. If you are remotely managing people in other time differences, try not to reach them outside of their business hours. So you should be conscious of their work-life balance. 

Could you give some advice for individual contributors being managed?

Doreen: I would say that you need to do excellent PR for yourself because your manager is not sitting next to you all the time. We cannot see everything that you’re doing and the amazing work that you are providing. So I would say, tell us about your great successes. Tell us when you need help tell us when you need training.

You need to be very vocal than the people that are being managed next to your manager because we don’t see everything. Yes, we can see that in our CRM. Yes, we can listen to calls. Yeah our recording system, but it’s great to hear about the great wins. It’s great to have the communication flowing. 

You have a background of more than 8 years, managing different teams from different parts of the world. What motivated you to work on 3 different continents?

Doreen: I’ve always been interested in traveling. That’s why I chose first to do international studies. So I picked business schools that I knew I could travel and do some exchange semester. So that was my first step and then what I did was work abroad. It was a lot of research because as you may know you need like certain visa approval work permits you to need as well to kind of move your life to another country in terms of health insurance, forming your network in another country. I think for each country that I believe it was different. 

When I decided to move to the US, I made a business case for myself at Bloomberg and I spoke with my manager at the time expressing my ambition to really move abroad and relocate to New York. 

How do you manage your time? I see you’re managing a team that are from different continents.

Doreen: Work-life balance is very important. I am very organized a lot of my friends say that I’m a freak of the organization. I do get time sometimes to do some sports, meet friends and so on. But to be connected with other regions like LATAM, my counterpart in the US, I have to add that to their working hours, but I ensure to add sometime where I am not on my phone or checking everything and I think that’s the healthy way to approach your workload. Because then you are refilled and for another good day at work, but making sure to have a strict agenda and putting some time to do your personal life, especially at the moment because we are always in front of computers and cell phones. I feel that that really helped me to have a good work-life balance. 

How do you imagine the future of sales going to be as it is becoming more Global and Digital every day? 

Doreen: I imagine it in the future people would want some face-to-face time or at least more video calling. The sales world is going to go through a lot in terms of social selling. 

I feel that we’re going to be all closer together. Definitely. It’s going to be a challenging time. But as we are all recovering and all-seeing towards the future. I feel like social studying and having some face-to-face time might be something that people are attracted to.

cultural differences

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Sanjana Murali is a Marketing Specialist at Hippo Video. She is an award-winning blogger, one of her articles on “Customer Success” was selected from worldwide participants and won her MVP 2019 award. She has learned the knack of ranking her blogs and website pages in the 1st result of Google Search from her 6+ years of writing and marketing experience. She is also the host of #Limitless webinar and podcast series at Hippo Video. She loves to talk about branding and marketing with videos. An eternal writer, words are her lifeline.

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