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Guide for an Effective Internationalization Strategy

Adopting an internationalization strategy: How to implement such a plan?

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Guide for an Effective Internationalization Strategy


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International expansion is now within reach for all companies, regardless of their size, field of activity, or geographic origin. Choosing internationalization means deciding to expand your activity beyond the borders of your domestic market, embracing opportunities, and meeting the specific needs of foreign markets.

But what are the drivers and modalities of internationalization? What benefits can be expected, and what challenges need to be overcome?

What measures and strategies should be adopted to successfully execute your international expansion project?

In the following lines, we will explore the concept of internationalization, its main challenges, and the key steps to implement an effective international expansion strategy. We will also highlight concrete examples of companies that have successfully established themselves in foreign markets, with a particular focus on the SaaS (Software as a Service) sector.

Finally, we will provide practical recommendations to help you embark on the exciting journey of internationalization.

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What Is an Internationalization Strategy?

Deploying your activities beyond the borders of your domestic market is the core of an internationalization strategy. This strategic growth approach allows a company to expand geographically, seeking new business opportunities and providing tailored responses to the specific needs of international clients.

Internationalization can take various forms, such as establishing production units abroad, entering multiple national markets, or forming partnerships with local entities.

It is crucial not to confuse internationalization with globalization. While globalization refers to the global integration and interdependence of economies and societies, internationalization represents a deliberate strategic approach by a company, influenced by its goals, available resources, competencies, and immediate environment.

Venturing into foreign markets requires adaptability to various particularities, whether cultural, regulatory, competitive, or technological.

The motivations behind internationalization are multiple, allowing the company to:

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  • Diversify its revenue sources, minimizing dependence on a single market.
  • Increase its competitiveness and profitability through economies of scale.
  • Differentiate itself through innovation, acquiring new technologies and foreign expertise.
  • Enhance its brand image and gain recognition on the international stage.
  • Anticipate and respond to market changes and new consumer demands.

However, expanding beyond national borders also presents challenges and risks for companies, including:

  • Significant financial, human, and material resources commitments.
  • Facing increased and varied competition.
  • Managing the complexity and uncertainty of foreign markets.
  • Coordinating and controlling remote operations and subsidiaries.
  • Complying with host country standards and regulations.

To successfully internationalize, the company must develop and implement a customized strategy aligned with its capabilities, ambitions, and the specifics of the target markets.

Internationalization Strategy: What's the Point?

In the wake of our exploration of internationalization as a growth lever, it is crucial to question the tangible benefits that a company can derive from such a development approach beyond its borders.

1. Entering New Lucrative Markets

Internationalization opens doors to promising markets, providing access to larger, often more receptive, and potentially more lucrative territories than the domestic market. This offers the opportunity to capitalize on economic growth, increased demand, and higher purchasing power in some countries. It is also an opportunity to venture into niches or market segments that are less saturated or even novel in the home country.

2. Diversifying Revenue Sources

Internationalization also helps shield the company from the uncertainties of a single market. Diversifying revenue sources minimizes the risk of sales declines due to crises, market saturation, or increased competition in the national market. This allows a company to compensate for fluctuations in demand, prices, or regulations in one country with successes achieved elsewhere.

3. Standing Out from the Competition

Internationalization serves as a catalyst for differentiation against competitors. By entering foreign markets, the company can gain a significant competitive advantage, offering a unique, innovative, or superior quality product tailored to the specific needs of international customers.

4. Enhancing Brand Image

Investing in international territories also enhances brand image and amplifies the company's reputation, elevating it to the status of a recognized and reliable global player.

5. Leveraging Successful Strategies Across Markets

The company benefits from synergies, knowledge exchanges, and enriching learning opportunities among its entities or partners spread across the globe. This fosters innovation and creativity inspired by the modes, trends, and demands of foreign markets.

6. Economies of Scale

Finally, internationalization improves the performance of the company's offerings through economies of scale, optimizing its value chain and increasing flexibility, adjusting to the peculiarities of each market according to tastes, customs, or local standards.

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Different Strategies for Internationalization

The journey of internationalization can take several forms, shaped by the aspirations and needs of companies. Among the numerous paths, we explore the following:

Global Strategy

A global strategy aims to offer standardized products or services worldwide, treating the entire world as a single market with largely uniform marketing and production strategies. A company operating with a global strategy seeks economies of scale by capitalizing on mass production and replicating what works well in its home country elsewhere.

Example: Coca-Cola is a classic example of a global strategy. While the company may adjust certain ingredients to meet local regulations and consumer tastes, the brand and the core product remain consistent worldwide.

The International Strategy

The international strategy is characterized by using the domestic company's competencies and core products as the main leverage abroad. Products are often created for the domestic market and then sold internationally with only slight modifications. The focus is on exporting products, with little localization for target markets.

Example: Harley-Davidson uses an international strategy. Its motorcycles, symbolic of the American lifestyle, are sold worldwide and are primarily identical to those sold in its home market. Harley-Davidson exports its "Made in USA" brand image internationally.

The Transnational Strategy

A transnational strategy seeks to combine the benefits of local responsiveness with those of economies of scale and global consistency, finding a balance between global standardization and local customization. Companies adopting a transnational strategy often use knowledge and innovations from one part of their network and apply them to others.

Example: McDonald's is an excellent example of a transnational strategy. While the brand is globally consistent and the restaurants offer the famous Big Mac worldwide, they also adapt their menu to local tastes, such as the McSpicy Paneer in India or the McArabia in the Middle East.

The Multidomestic Strategy

A multidomestic strategy involves completely customizing marketing and production operations to meet the needs and preferences of different national markets. Companies may establish independent subsidiaries in each country that operate autonomously and adapt products, services, and marketing campaigns to local customers.

Example: Nestlé is often cited for its multidomestic strategies. Nestlé has local production plants in the countries where it operates and adapts its products to the food preferences of each market. For instance, recipes for sauces or cereals can vary significantly from one country to another to match local tastes.

Example of Internationalization in SaaS

The SaaS (Software as a Service) sector, offering cloud-hosted software for universal internet accessibility, is fertile ground for international ambitions. With significant cost reductions, ease of use, flexibility, and high-security levels, SaaS is an ideal candidate for international expansion.


Launched in 2006, HubSpot expanded internationally in 2010 by opening offices in Dublin, Ireland. The company has successfully adapted its products in marketing, sales, and customer service to the unique characteristics of each market, leveraging local partners to strengthen its presence and legitimacy.


Launched in 2013, Slack began its international expansion in 2017 with an office in London. It has localized its product in over 10 languages, optimized infrastructure through local cloud services, and personalized its marketing and customer support.

How to Implement Your Internationalization Strategy

Internationalization is an ambitious and complex undertaking requiring careful analysis and strategic planning to succeed. Choosing your target market wisely, adapting your offer to a new audience, selecting the most relevant entry method, and managing the inherent risks are critical challenges to address.

We offer a guide to navigate these international waters and make your internationalization project a success:

1. Target and Study the Market

Evaluate potential markets through in-depth market research to understand demand dynamics, competition, opportunities, and barriers.

2. Develop and Adapt the Offer

Adjust your value proposition, deciding whether to standardize or adapt your offer to meet local needs.

3. Define a Strategy

Choose the market entry strategy that best aligns with your business model, desired control level, and capacity to assume risks and investments.

4. Manage Risks

Identify and proactively manage risks, seeking expertise from consultants, lawyers, or other professionals.

Key Takeaways

Internationalization offers significant potential for companies seeking expansion. This strategic process allows access to promising new markets, diversifies revenue sources, differentiates from competition, enhances brand image, and achieves economies of scale.

However, it is crucial to recognize that this approach is not without challenges. Engaging significant resources, facing increased competition, mastering the complexity of foreign markets, and complying with local regulations are hurdles to overcome.

To succeed, a structured and rigorous approach is essential. Carefully select target markets, adapt your offer to local needs, choose the right market entry strategy, and effectively manage risks.

For practical assistance, Ringover can help in various ways:

  • Global accessibility: Ringover allows businesses to access their business phone systems from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. This means that employees can stay connected and reachable even when working remotely or traveling abroad for meetings or business missions.
  • Localized and international numbers: Ringover offers phone numbers in many countries around the world. This enables businesses to display a local presence for their foreign clients without needing to physically establish offices in each country.
  • Savings on communication costs: With cloud telephony, international calls are generally cheaper than traditional calls. Ringover offers competitive rates for international calls, which can help businesses reduce their communication costs while maintaining effective communication with their partners, clients, and suppliers abroad.
  • Advanced features: Ringover offers a range of advanced features such as voicemail, call transcription, conference calls, call transfer, and many others. These features facilitate collaboration and communication between teams dispersed around the world, thus improving the operational efficiency of the business.
  • Flexibility and scalability: Ringover's cloud telephony solution is flexible and scalable, meaning it can adapt to the changing needs of a growing international business. Whether the company adds new users or expands its operations to new countries, Ringover can support this expansion effortlessly.
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To learn more about how Ringover can help you expand internationally, try our solution now or request a personalized demonstration.

FAQ Internationalization Strategy

What is an internationalization strategy and why is it important for businesses?

In the relentless pursuit of growth and success on a global scale, an internationalization strategy serves as a key action plan enabling businesses to transcend the boundaries of their local market. By adopting this strategy, they open the door to exploring new territories. This allows them not only to expand their market share but also to benefit from economic diversification, providing better risk distribution. Moreover, venturing into international markets can lead to reduced production or distribution costs while offering the opportunity to access new and diverse resources and skills.

What are the main tools used to implement an internationalization strategy?

To successfully navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of internationalization, several essential tools are revealed. The value chain is the first among them, providing businesses with a detailed analysis of the components of their competitiveness. Then comes the omnichannel strategy, which ensures the implementation of a personalized and seamless user experience, regardless of the point of contact. Digital platforms, for their part, are valuable allies for facilitating exchange and collaboration internationally. Finally, regular and adaptive evaluations, taking into account feedback and performance, allow the strategy to be continuously refined to better meet the challenges of the global market.

What are the advantages and risks of an internationalization strategy?

Adopting an internationalization strategy offers a multitude of compelling advantages. On the one hand, it increases the company's growth prospects by accessing new markets and customers and allows for effective diversification of economic risks.

On the other hand, it encourages the acquisition of new knowledge, technologies, and partnerships, thus enriching the company's skill set. However, this promising picture is not without challenges. Companies must navigate the complex web of international regulations, overcome cultural and linguistic barriers, and face sometimes fierce competition. They also manage the additional costs associated with adapting their offerings to local specifics, while ensuring impeccable quality and consistency of their brand across different cultures.

How to evaluate the performance of an internationalization strategy?

To measure the effectiveness of its internationalization strategy, a company must scrutinize its impact on several key indicators such as:

  • Revenue growth
  • Improved profitability
  • Market share expansion
  • Enhanced brand awareness

It is also crucial to analyze the specifics of the adopted internationalization process, considering the deployment pace, the level of risk assumed, and the cultural distance from the target markets, to constantly adapt and optimize the strategy to maximize benefits.

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