3 min read

How to Be a Savvy Buyer of Global Expansion Services

Global expansion


Brett Ungashick


December 03, 2021

Last Update

July 08, 2024

Table of Contents

1. Start internally

2. Shortlist efficiently

3. Evaluate discerningly

4. Select confidently

Since the pandemic started, many businesses have realized that the old model of only hiring employees in their backyard can limit talent pools. Additionally, employees who were once local have started to recognize the freedom of working remotely.

Remote work and hybrid workplaces are here to stay, and company demographics continue to skew towards millennial and Gen Z workforces. With all of these external changes, businesses are trying to figure out how best to hire and manage a global workforce in this new world of work.

Traditionally, most companies avoided hiring international workers due to the bureaucratic red tape involved with setting up entities abroad.

However, new solutions in the global payroll, global EOR, and contractor management space have made it easier for businesses to hire anywhere in the world, pay employees accurately in any currency, and stay compliant.

Since many of these solutions are new to the market, many buyers don't know what questions to ask, what to look for, and which vendors are the right fit. 

Here's how you can be a savvy buyer of global expansion services:

1. Start internally

Determine your hiring model

Before you go to market, make sure you know exactly what you're looking for. If you don't know exactly what you need, it will be tough to discern between different options, and you'll open yourself up to being sold unnecessary features and functionality.

When it comes to finding the right global expansion services, a key decision to make is what type of international hiring model is the best fit for your business:

  1. Opening a Subsidiary 
  2. Hiring Through an Employer of Record
  3. Hiring Independent Contractors

Each of these models comes with its own pros and cons that you can read about here: How to Choose the Right Form of International Hiring

Build consensus

Get your team together and create buy-in before you go to market. The last thing that you'll want to do is spend hours falling in love with a specific global expansion partner, only to find out that your teammates aren't on board with the decision.

We always recommend having a project kick-off call with your cross-functional stakeholders. This meeting allows you to hear from your key stakeholders early on and makes the project real for everyone.

In this meeting, ask each member of the project team two questions:

  • What do you hope to get out of this project?
  • What do you need to see from a vendor to be comfortable enough to move?

Having this meeting will allow you to determine who your project advocates and the people you will need to work on are to get their buy-in.

2. Shortlist efficiently

Start broad

Once you know what you're looking for, it's time to figure out who can do it.

The first thing you'll want to do is start broadly. Build your initial list by canvassing review websites and blogs and reaching out to your colleagues and peers to see which names pop up the most.

It will be easier to feel confident in your final decision if you've already ruled out several competing options.

Additionally, there are free services that can recommend the right vendors for you based on your requirements and goals.

Narrow quickly

But how do you rule out options without getting on demos? I'm glad you asked. There are three ways:

  1. Missing functionality - Go to software vendors' websites to see if any of them do not have the key modules that are in your requirements (i.e., vendors that only do EOR, but not contractor management).
  2. Size Match & Scalability - Go to software review websites and see what sized companies are predominantly reviewing these platforms. If all of the reviews come from companies with fewer than 50 employees, you'll know this is an SMB tool and might be too limiting. Vice versa, if all of the reviews are from companies with 1,000+ employees, you'll know this is an enterprise tool and might be too robust.
  3. Low Market Presence - Check each software vendor's LinkedIn page to see how many employees they have and their Crunchbase page to see their ownership structure and funding. Also, look at different review websites to see how many reviews they have. You don't need to go with the biggest option in the market, but the vendor should have a decent-sized team, some customer reviews, and growth potential.
Global Expansion
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3. Evaluate discerningly

Prepare for Demos

Don't show up to the meetings empty-handed and expect the salesperson on the other end to give you all of the answers you're looking for.

Your job is to be the one driving the evaluations, not the one who gets sold to.

Create a meeting agenda to make it clear to the vendor what needs to be covered. Come up with key questions and workflow scenarios that you want to see the vendors respond to in real-time.

A little preparation will go a long way in ensuring you get everything you need out of your 60-90 minute demonstrations.

4. Select confidently

Check References

References are a high-variance resource, and the right reference can open your eyes to what to expect moving forward. However, many references are available because they had the perfect experience, which may not always be replicable.

Request each of your finalists to provide references. And be specific about what type of reference you want (i.e., someone who left the same platform as me, is in the same industry, built a similar integration, and more.)

When speaking to those references, get a real sense of what the day-to-day partnership is like. Ask about support turnaround times and the process of setting up integrations.

A great question to ask is always: What did you wish you knew when you were in our shoes?

Brett Ungashick is the founder of OutSail, a Denver-based company that provides free services to help HR teams research, evaluate and select new technologies. Brett started his career by selling software to HR teams at LinkedIn before recognizing a growing need from software buyers for support throughout their buying processes. OutSail was founded in 2018 and has helped over 500 companies with new HR software purchases, including companies like SalesLoft, DoorDash, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.

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