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 with original 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 of content ideas again. Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to the B 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 come to the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to the BB growth show. We are here today with Miko hunking in. He is the CO founder at the new dot Io. Miko, how you doing today? I'm good, thanks and thanks for having me today. No problem at all. We go. So we're going 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 understand a little bit of context. Can you explain to the folks listening you know what is they new data Ioh all about? Yes, so, by don't we're a 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 touch with those people and companies. So we have built a database of more than one hundred million companies and we we end reached that database with all open and public data. So, for example, if people want to if sales people want to find all software companies in California who have recently rest funding and also provide a free trial on their website, they can very quickly do that type of 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 at the 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 of this conversation. Mego is launching those six offices. Since since two thousand and fourteen, 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 like buffer doing it Zappier. I'm seeing a lot, a lot of companies embrace this. Talk to us about why you guys have chosen the other path to open 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 a cities where we don't have offices. But really the number one reason why we want to open up offices is that we want to be very close to our customers and since we're building a database off of companies, we acceally need to build 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 and have an office in the US as well. Very good way to get lots of feedback from customers when we actually get a chance to meet them facetoface and when we sign up those early early users, to get that unfiltered feedback directly from the from the market. And of course it's it adds lots of local know 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 decided that, 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 an office in Sweden, we always choose few existing and employees who are willing to move into that new country, and the reason is that we want to transfer sort of the DNA and the culture of the company so that all the offices will be aligned in terms of how they do business and how they run the processes. 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 the market, we want to have local people as well. So it's sort of like a mix of existing employees moving into that new new city and new country and then right away hiring local people as well, and it's been a good way to make sure that the culture is aligned across all the offices. But of course then all the offices they can create their own unique tweaks into the culture if they want gotta. Okay, so talk to us about of the you'd mentioned. You alluded to before, but you some once you have an office stood up, what's that look like them to start engaging the local market as 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 customers to 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 a lot of folks on sales and marketing because we believe that the best way to get 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 own product so that we can identify the companies that where we see the best best fit with our service. And then we do lots of content marketing. One thing that is may be unique for us we have decided to localize the content in all the all the markets that we operate. So right now we we create content in Finnish, in Swedi, is in Norwegian, in ducts and in 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 out there. Typically we also hold some events. Last week we had events in Housingking we had event in Stockholm. But more than anything, we want to make sure that we use our own software and identify the companies that are very good fit with our software and then we want to make sure that we meet them and and speak with them and understand their pain points, and that's the 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 thing that you touched on a little bit earlier. Can keeping the cultural line. What are 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 your cofound are based to make sure that that culture does transfer from from one location to the next? Yes, so, yeah, one thing is really that we always have those people who will move into that new city and they will work 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 collaboration technologies. I mean we use slack, for example, a lot. We have lots of short channels with between all the offices. We do weekly updates and we typically get some sort of video clip from all the offices where people just showcase what they've been up to lately. We also have lots of different like high potential programs. We have a project project called the blacksmith where we invite some of the best performers from different...

...offices and they all fly into a new city and spend time together. So I think it's it's a combination of using technology so that people can collaborate remotely and also organizing and facilitating events where people 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 way to spend four days together. And again, if you end up spending four days together with others, that's a good way to align the culture and make sure that everyone knows them. Of course, the direction of the company and 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, you know, what are the biggest challenges that you've run into as you've gone from one location the sex? Yeah, I think one thing was, for example, finding the first people. That's always I mean we have a pretty good name, for example, in the markets where we've been quite some time, like in the nordics, when we just placed a job at out, we get tons of applications. But member, when we opened up an office in New York and we we placed an ad...

...out on Linkedin and a few other places, we didn't get that many applications. Who? So we really had to do lots of head huntings or we went to Angel List and identified lots of candidates and actively also reached out to them. So I think it's all about making sure that we find those people and in competitive markets, if you don't have a brand name, it's a lot of hard work that you need to 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 look like you or one of your cofounders? Obviously you're taking someone from the existing team to play them in the new office, but then do you empower the person that you've hired in that new office to then build out and hire the team locally, or do you guys spend a lot of time, you and your 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 opened up an office in in New York,...

...the first seven months I actually moved to New York and, together with my family, lived in Brooklyn, spent the first seven months with the team in New York and then be at a other cofounder. He was doing basically the same thing in Sweden. When we opened up an office in Stockholm, same thing in Amsterdam. He spent a couple of months in Amsterd I'm doing recruit ments, finding the first customers and so on. And now, when we opened up in Oslo, it was one 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 bine way of doing things, of course, a lot of remote skype interviews as well, and then traveling quite a bit, that we make sure that we are present 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 been telling you? Know, as you're in these new areas, you're obviously moving to 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 their other particular techniques or things that you've done,...

...that you've found that have been helpful as you're building these new teams? Yeah, I think number one thing is to be very, very handsown. So if we want to bring in lots of sales and marketing people and customers success people, for example, making sure 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 differences in in the ways how they do business, as in in terms of understanding the culture in that new location, but also knowing how strong the product market fit is from day one and then really channeling that feedback back to other other departments, such as product development, but I think being hands on Istant a number one thing for us. Awesome. Me Go. I want to close out the interview by asking one one last question. What would you say is the legacy that you want to leave behind? Yeah, I think if you talk about business, I think the legacy we would like to leave as a company's is simply and more effective be to be sales process, because today there's so much guests work in the game and...

...and we believe people systematically use data and insights in their process. Everybody will win. Sales people will have more meaningful discussions and buyers won't get that many relevant phone calls and emails, but only those frelement sales and marketing messages, so that it would be a big thing for all companies out there. But then, of course, really the most important leg I said, that I want to leave on personal level is the 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 to save and Happy Childhood and it just got everything's in needs to leave a joyful and fulfilling life. So that's definitely the number one thing, I think for me. I love it. Me Go. This has been fantastic. If there's somebody listening to this they want to stay connected with you, learn more about the new that I owe. What's the best way for them to go about doing that? Yes, so, of course. I mean the website. Why not? That I always a good way to learn more about the company. And of course I could connect on twitter or linkedin. Mike Go Honkan, 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. Make sure to check it out again. We go. Thank you so much for your time today. This has been great. Yeah, thanks so much for having me. If you're a BEDB marketer, we want to feature you on sites like the Huffington post social media examiner and chief marketer. Every week we send that a question related to bed marketing. We use the responses to those questions to feel the content we write for really popular websites. So head over the sweet fish Mediacom questions and sign up today. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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