Learning to Lead Globally

Two years ago I accepted a global leadership position. I was tasked with accelerating sales of new products and program launches; hitting quarterly sales plan numbers; and reducing revenue gaps in markets across the world. I was to do this by recommending promotions, sales programs, and pricing adjustments.  

Though I had spent my whole career in sales, I had never worked globally. While my decades of sales and channel management experience certainly “translated” to my new position, unfortunately, my old strategies and solutions did not.

As we executed the same promos, products, and programs across the globe, I quickly learned that each region and country often required its own carefully tailored solution—one that included unique pricing, programs, products, and promotions customized exactly to that market’s needs.

There was a lot of trial and error at the outset, but once I realized that no two regions were the same—and that each required anything from a small change to a whole new and different approach—we (me, along with my geographic, on-the-ground teams) were able to work our way toward an effective and successful sales channel in each region.

I’m in year three, and leading these global efforts is still challenging. Fortunately, I’ve picked up on a few methods that allow me to successfully engage and be productive globally—all while representing our corporate priorities and achieving our goal results.