Scaling the Company in Multiple Markets

Product
Remote
Cultural differences

13 May, 2020

Gourav Chindlur, CEO at Tercept, shares his experience of scaling his company in multiple markets and ensuring the right information flow between the headquarters and multiple geographies.

Problem

I was a founder of a multi-channel growth marketing product powering customer acquisition & retention through Ad-Tech & Mar-Tech channels. As the company was growing, we launched our technology and markets across multiple geographies. The company was headquartered in India, but within six months we started scaling in China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the Middle East. The technology itself was not particularly novel but the scaling was rapid.
 

One of the key challenges was how to ensure the right information flow from the headquarters to each of these geographies in face of cultural and language barriers as well as the different speed with which things were changing at the headquarters and elsewhere. The problem was that the entire engineering team was located in India and had to send information on a fairly complex product to enterprise customers. In addition, it was hard for us to get timely information on what was happening on the ground -- how each of the customer conversations went or how localization efforts for each market proceeded. We understood that more frequent calls or emails were not the solutions but that we need to have someone who genuinely understands the company present on the ground.
 

Actions taken

We decided to place people who have already spent at least a year or two at the headquarters in India to remote locations as coordination program managers. During his/her stay at the headquarters, s/he would familiarize him/herself with the product, company culture, etc. Then, s/he would be sent to one of the locations to liaise with local chapters. This person would have a dual role -- to both push and pull most recent information and convey it further either to one of the geographies or headquarters. Also, s/he would attend all meetings, serve as a support for the local team, and facilitate the information flow between places. That dramatically improved communication and upped the whole process.
 

The fact that this person spent some time at headquarters in India and was later located someplace else made it easier for him/her to bridge the gap relating to cultural and language barriers. At the same time, the headquarters experience meant that s/he was familiar with the technology, features, headquarters’ teamwork, customers’ common questions, etc. Being equipped with all the necessary knowledge, s/he can share and disseminate the knowledge with ease in different markets.
 

Other challenges also played a part. For example, time zone differences were often challenging. We made sure that the coordination program manager had some overlapping time with the headquarters. The same could be said for cultural and language barriers -- they certainly played a part, but once the right model was in place they could be easily overcome.

Lessons learned

  • It is important to address difficulties with the information flow as early as possible, but certainly, before you launch and market the product. Most companies think about localization challenges, but that is just one aspect of the problem. In our case, though the product was localized for the market, we struggled to ensure the continuous and steady flow of information.
  • More generally, we didn’t anticipate the problem and didn’t think it through before it started to give us hard times.

Related stories

Remote Work in Times of the Coronavirus Pandemic
21 May

Steve Hoeg, Director of Engineering at Faire, provides a detailed list of instructions that will make your remote work in times of coronavirus pandemics more efficient and productive.

Remote
Steve Hoeg

Steve Hoeg

Director of Engineering at Faire

Resolving Remote Communication Issues
19 May

Viacheslav Bessonov, Chief Technology Officer at Algalon Capital, outlines how he improved communication internally - with his fully distributed team, while also improving communication with the customer - located across various time zones.

Remote
Internal Communication
Users Feedback
Viacheslav Bessonov

Viacheslav Bessonov

Chief Technology Officer at Algalon Capital

How To Identify the Right Product To Build
19 May

Alessandro Pintaudi, Product Management Director at Payfit, talks about how teams need to focus more time on building the right things and how to keep doing it with scale.

OKR
Managing Expectations
Product Team
Product
Dev Processes
Internal Communication
Roadmap
Alessandro Pintaudi

Alessandro Pintaudi

Product Management Director at PayFit

Building Customer Driven Backlog Across Several Component Teams
16 May

Maria Petrova, Principal Product Manager at Zalando describes how she built an organizational design from product and stack in a way that tech and product effectively function in a collaborative environment.

Product
Users Feedback
Reorganization
Maria Petrova

Maria Petrova

Principal Product Manager at Zalando

Scaling the Company in Multiple Markets
13 May

Gourav Chindlur, CEO at Tercept, shares his experience of scaling his company in multiple markets and ensuring the right information flow between the headquarters and multiple geographies.

Product
Remote
Cultural differences
Gourav Chindlur

Gourav Chindlur

CEO at Tercept

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.