Top 6 Skills You Need To Work for a Global Company
By Bonnie Kavoussi
I have had the pleasure of working with global companies and colleagues, as a journalist and economist, and now in marketing at Alariss Global. I’ve learned a few key skills along the way, which boil down to these top six.
When you’re transitioning from working for a US-based company to working for a global-headquartered company, there are certain skills that you’ll need to have to succeed that are both industry-leading, but also unique to working in a cross-border environment. It is a fundamentally different experience to be the only team member or one of the only team members for a global company based in the US, compared to working on a US team for a US company. Here are six skills you need to have to succeed working at a global company.
1. Effective communication
When you’re working with colleagues based overseas, you’ll need to get good at providing effective communication. When working for a US company, your working hours mostly overlap with your colleagues’, which means you have time to respond to messages. When working for a global company, on the other hand, you might have only a couple of hours of awake time overlap each day, which means that you need to respond quickly to messages that you receive. For instance, if a colleague proposes a meeting the next day, you want to be able to respond right away to schedule the meeting before they go to bed. Given the often small amount of time overlap, it might be hard to schedule frequent meetings with colleagues in other time zones. As a result, clear and concise communication is very important. You also need to be good at balancing synchronous communication with asynchronous communication in the form of collaborative documents, emails, and other channels.
In addition to time zone differences, there can be vast cultural differences between countries. You might be surprised by them; even if you speak the same language, you can run into misunderstandings and misinterpretations. It is important to be empathetic and to learn as much as possible about others, while also assuming the best of intentions from your colleagues, reports, and managers.
Even when working for a US-based startup, it’s important to be flexible to adapt as your company adjusts its strategy over time. This is especially important at a global company for two reasons. First, your company might want to adjust its strategy around US expansion, and you’ll need to be nimble as you work through these changes. Second, by virtue of the fact that you are the only US employee, or one of the only US employees, for the company, there isn’t an existing playbook for how to best sell the product to the US market. Thus, you need to have a flexible, adaptable mindset toward continually refining your sales and expansion strategy in the US.
Early employees are often self-motivated, especially given the performance-based compensation structures that they work under. When working at a US-based company, you can get motivated by the excitement of being part of a team working together toward sales goals. You have frequent interaction with your colleagues at a US-based company. However, when you’re working for a global company, there is rarely the built-in motivation of working alongside others, given that you’re likely the only one working in your time zone. So you need your own internal motivation to want to do your best for your company.
5. Ability to build a brand
When you’re working for a US-based company, the product that you’re selling may already have some name recognition, or at the least, it has a strong web presence. When you’re trying to sell a global company’s product in the US, there is likely little brand recognition of the product. As such, it becomes your job to build the company’s brand and to clearly articulate the product and its value proposition when meeting with sales prospects.
6. Existing US buyer network, ideally in the sector of your company
If you’re working for a global company on their US sales, it is your job to help them identify prospects and close deals. Both of these tasks are made much easier if you have an existing network in the US. Ideally this network has buyers who are in the industry of the product you’re selling, and this is one of the key reasons companies overseas really value and appreciate your experiences.
If you want to work as a salesperson for a global company, sign up for our talent portal today. We can match you to exciting job opportunities with a global company.