574: Why & How to Launch Offices in New Regions w/ Mikko Honkanen

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Mikko Honkanen, Co-founder of Vainu.

Are you struggling to come up withoriginal content weekend and week out? Start a podcast, interview your ideal clients, let them talk about what they care about most and never run out ofcontent ideas again. Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to theB tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to helping betb executives achieve explosive growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've cometo the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's getinto the show. Welcome back to the BB growth show. We are heretoday with Miko hunking in. He is the CO founder at the new dotIo. Miko, how you doing today? I'm good, thanks and thanks forhaving me today. No problem at all. We go. So we'regoing to be talking about launching offices in new regions and new countries today,but before we get into that, I'd...

...love for our listeners to just understanda little bit of context. Can you explain to the folks listening you knowwhat is they new data Ioh all about? Yes, so, by don't we'rea software so service PLATFORM FOR BE TOB sales professor nos on account managers. We help them to identify best possible prospects, so best possible sales prospects, and also the know the ideal timing, when and how to be in touchwith those people and companies. So we have built a database of morethan one hundred million companies and we we end reached that database with all openand public data. So, for example, if people want to if sales peoplewant to find all software companies in California who have recently rest funding andalso provide a free trial on their website, they can very quickly do that typeof search in our platform and get the list of those those companies.And today we're little bit more than one hundred people in six different offices atthe moment. We launched Fino in August two thousand and fourteen. Love it, I love it, and so that's...

...really going to be the focus ofthis conversation. Mego is launching those six offices. Since since two thousand andfourteen, you know, I talked to a lot of folks that are,you know, really bullish on this idea of remote work and opening up,you know, really a global workforce by allowing people to work remote companies likebuffer doing it Zappier. I'm seeing a lot, a lot of companies embracethis. Talk to us about why you guys have chosen the other path toopen up multiple offices and different parts of the world. Yes, so,of course we also have people who work remotely and they might live in acities where we don't have offices. But really the number one reason why wewant to open up offices is that we want to be very close to ourcustomers and since we're building a database off of companies, we acceally need tobuild the software and the service that we provide a country by country and then, once, for example, the US database was complete earlier this year,we wanted to make sure that we put...

...lots of folks on that market andhave an office in the US as well. Very good way to get lots offeedback from customers when we actually get a chance to meet them facetoface andwhen we sign up those early early users, to get that unfiltered feedback directly fromthe from the market. And of course it's it adds lots of localknow how into the company as well when we have local people. Okay,so so how do you guys handle recruitment when you're launching these new offices?Is it do you find the talent first and then you launch an office,or do you launch the office and then and then go find the talent?How does that work for you guys? Yeah, typically, first we decidedthat, okay, we want to enter a new country, let's say Sweden. So then when we made a decision that we want to open up anoffice in Sweden, we always choose few existing and employees who are willing tomove into that new country, and the reason is that we want to transfersort of the DNA and the culture of the company so that all the officeswill be aligned in terms of how they do business and how they run theprocesses. But then, very early on...

...we bring local talent as well,because we believe if you want to find the best people and really understand themarket, we want to have local people as well. So it's sort oflike a mix of existing employees moving into that new new city and new countryand then right away hiring local people as well, and it's been a goodway to make sure that the culture is aligned across all the offices. Butof course then all the offices they can create their own unique tweaks into theculture if they want gotta. Okay, so talk to us about of theyou'd mentioned. You alluded to before, but you some once you have anoffice stood up, what's that look like them to start engaging the local marketas you're developing relationships with customers in that area? You said that was,you know, one of the key reasons that you guys like having offices.Are you guys hosting events at that location to bring in prospects and existing customersto you, or you going out to them? What's that look like?The way we do selles a marketing.

We first of all we put alot of folks on sales and marketing because we believe that the best way toget get that unfiltered feedback is to actually meet with a lot of potential customers. So we have an active inside sales team, of course using our ownproduct so that we can identify the companies that where we see the best bestfit with our service. And then we do lots of content marketing. Onething that is may be unique for us we have decided to localize the contentin all the all the markets that we operate. So right now we wecreate content in Finnish, in Swedi, is in Norwegian, in ducts andin English. So that's a good way to also showcase for the audience that, Hey, we actually speak your language. We have lots of interesting content outthere. Typically we also hold some events. Last week we had eventsin Housingking we had event in Stockholm. But more than anything, we wantto make sure that we use our own software and identify the companies that arevery good fit with our software and then we want to make sure that wemeet them and and speak with them and understand their pain points, and that'sthe best way to get that feedback back...

...to the product team as well.Gotta okay, so me go. I want to go back to another thingthat you touched on a little bit earlier. Can keeping the cultural line. Whatare some of the things obviously, launching the office with existing team members, what are some of the things you guys are doing where you and yourcofound are based to make sure that that culture does transfer from from one locationto the next? Yes, so, yeah, one thing is really thatwe always have those people who will move into that new city and they willwork with the new team and make sure that they sort of know them,know the DNA of the company. But then I mean using all these collaborationtechnologies. I mean we use slack, for example, a lot. Wehave lots of short channels with between all the offices. We do weekly updatesand we typically get some sort of video clip from all the offices where peoplejust showcase what they've been up to lately. We also have lots of different likehigh potential programs. We have a project project called the blacksmith where weinvite some of the best performers from different...

...offices and they all fly into anew city and spend time together. So I think it's it's a combination ofusing technology so that people can collaborate remotely and also organizing and facilitating events wherepeople meet facetoface. Now in January all the business people will fly into Lisbon. We don't have an office in Lisbon, but it's a great, great wayto spend four days together. And again, if you end up spendingfour days together with others, that's a good way to align the culture andmake sure that everyone knows them. Of course, the direction of the companyand KPIYES and and sort of buying way of doing things. I love it. Have you run in the any challenges as you guys have tried, youknow, what are the biggest challenges that you've run into as you've gone fromone location the sex? Yeah, I think one thing was, for example, finding the first people. That's always I mean we have a pretty goodname, for example, in the markets where we've been quite some time,like in the nordics, when we just placed a job at out, weget tons of applications. But member, when we opened up an office inNew York and we we placed an ad...

...out on Linkedin and a few otherplaces, we didn't get that many applications. Who? So we really had todo lots of head huntings or we went to Angel List and identified lotsof candidates and actively also reached out to them. So I think it's allabout making sure that we find those people and in competitive markets, if youdon't have a brand name, it's a lot of hard work that you needto put into find that key team, because the first employees you bring in, first people that you bring in in a new location, some extremely important. They are strong players and I feel that they being successful with that,but it has required a lot of hard work from us and does that looklike you or one of your cofounders? Obviously you're taking someone from the existingteam to play them in the new office, but then do you empower the personthat you've hired in that new office to then build out and hire theteam locally, or do you guys spend a lot of time, you andyour cofounder, spend a lot of time in that in that new city,kind of doing the hiring yourself, or is a lot of skype interviews?What's up look like? It's a combination of both. So when we openedup an office in in New York,...

...the first seven months I actually movedto New York and, together with my family, lived in Brooklyn, spentthe first seven months with the team in New York and then be at aother cofounder. He was doing basically the same thing in Sweden. When weopened up an office in Stockholm, same thing in Amsterdam. He spent acouple of months in Amsterd I'm doing recruit ments, finding the first customers andso on. And now, when we opened up in Oslo, it wasone of the first employees and he's also partner of the company called Yuh.So you ays now running the office and making sure that they also have bineway of doing things, of course, a lot of remote skype interviews aswell, and then traveling quite a bit, that we make sure that we arepresent in all those all those different markets that we're in. Yeah,would have been some of the things that you have noticed, that have beentelling you? Know, as you're in these new areas, you're obviously movingto another part of the country, moving to New York to spend time here. You want you want to make sure that that time is fruitful or theirother particular techniques or things that you've done,...

...that you've found that have been helpfulas you're building these new teams? Yeah, I think number one thingis to be very, very handsown. So if we want to bring inlots of sales and marketing people and customers success people, for example, makingsure that we are also hands on with those same tasks that they're doing,meeting with local customers and excellent way to see, obviously to understand the differencesin in the ways how they do business, as in in terms of understanding theculture in that new location, but also knowing how strong the product marketfit is from day one and then really channeling that feedback back to other otherdepartments, such as product development, but I think being hands on Istant anumber one thing for us. Awesome. Me Go. I want to closeout the interview by asking one one last question. What would you say isthe legacy that you want to leave behind? Yeah, I think if you talkabout business, I think the legacy we would like to leave as acompany's is simply and more effective be to be sales process, because today there'sso much guests work in the game and...

...and we believe people systematically use dataand insights in their process. Everybody will win. Sales people will have moremeaningful discussions and buyers won't get that many relevant phone calls and emails, butonly those frelement sales and marketing messages, so that it would be a bigthing for all companies out there. But then, of course, really themost important leg I said, that I want to leave on personal level isthe like I said that I want to leave behind. This is my daughter, so says today, foulteen months. So when see across a bit older, I really want to make sure the see always feel that says I tosave and Happy Childhood and it just got everything's in needs to leave a joyfuland fulfilling life. So that's definitely the number one thing, I think forme. I love it. Me Go. This has been fantastic. If there'ssomebody listening to this they want to stay connected with you, learn moreabout the new that I owe. What's the best way for them to goabout doing that? Yes, so, of course. I mean the website. Why not? That I always a good way to learn more about thecompany. And of course I could connect on twitter or linkedin. Mike GoHonkan, and it's my name, so happy to connect on Linkedin and twitter. All right, and that's the AI...

...in you that I owe. Makesure to check it out again. We go. Thank you so much foryour time today. This has been great. Yeah, thanks so much for havingme. If you're a BEDB marketer, we want to feature you on siteslike the Huffington post social media examiner and chief marketer. Every week wesend that a question related to bed marketing. We use the responses to those questionsto feel the content we write for really popular websites. So head overthe sweet fish Mediacom questions and sign up today. Thank you so much forlistening. Until next time,.

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