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131. Unlocking Cross-Cultural Collaboration with Nataly Kelly

Do you:

  • Lead a team that with team members from different countries? Or

  • Are you building a business with a global presence? Or

  • Do you lead a team with people who are different from you?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, this conversation with Nataly Kelly, author of the new book Take Your Company Global and Chief Growth Officer at Rebrandly is for you. Nataly is a seasoned business leader, international business expert, and longtime Harvard Business Review contributor on the topic of global business.

Whether you are an experienced leader navigating the complexities of a global market or are aspiring to expand your organization's reach, this episode offers a wealth of invaluable wisdom and practical strategies. Key Moments in Episode: 00:00:00 - The Importance of Curiosity and Awareness in Dealing with Other Cultures 00:02:33 - Natalie's Journey and Role at Rebrandly 00:07:15 - Creating a Globally Equitable Organization (GEO) 00:10:19 - Everyone's Role in Promoting a Global Mindset 00:13:48 - Building Relationships and Overcoming Cultural Differences 00:16:42 - Importance of Curiosity and Building Relationships 00:23:24 - Global First Approach and Involving Others 00:25:46 - Communication Preferences and Psychological Safety 00:30:29 - Globalization today is more incremental and continuous.

00:34:44 - Strategic market intensification for global expansion.

00:39:18 - What "Strong Leaders Serve" means to Nataly 00:42:10 - Asking the Right Questions


About Nataly:

Nataly Kelly headshot
Nataly Kelly

Nataly Kelly is a seasoned business leader, international business expert, and longtime Harvard Business Review contributor on the topic of global business. Kelly is passionate about enabling people to connect across borders of geography, language, and culture and is dedicated to

empowering business leaders to strategically expand internationally.

She is currently Chief Growth Officer at Rebrandly, a global software firm with customers in more than 100 countries. Previously, Kelly served at HubSpot as Vice President of Marketing, Vice President of International Operations and Strategy, and Vice President of Localization, where she

helped drive international expansion. She built and managed remote teams of professionals located in Colombia, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Scotland, Singapore, and the U.S. She led numerous strategic, high-visibility cross-functional initiatives, including launching new offices on three continents.

To help business leaders expand internationally and gain a competitive advantage, Kelly is launching Take Your Company Global: The New Rules of International Expansion (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) on September 26, 2023.

She is the first author to detail the new realities of international

expansion and share a comprehensive guide for businesses that seek to grow globally in a predictable, sustainable, and effective way.

Kelly is an Adjunct Professor in the M.A. program in localization

management at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. She was named a Remote Work Influencer in January 2022 by Remote, a Top 25 Content Marketers in Enterprise Software and Women Worth Watching in 2015, and Marketing Executive of the Year by Best in Biz, a 40 under 40 by Direct Marketing News, and a Stevies Women

in Business in 2014.

She received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in Intercultural Communication from Wartburg College. While at Wartburg, she spent a semester at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in 1997, and spent a year abroad at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador in 1998. She received a Fulbright grant to study sociolinguistics and pursue her Master's degree at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Ecuador.


While it's not perfect, we offer this transcription by Castmagic for those who prefer to read or who are hearing impaired.

Nataly Kelly [00:00:00]:

Curiosity is so important when you're dealing with people from other cultures, especially because a lot of us come in with our own assumptions, with biases, or sometimes a blind spot that we have or a lack of awareness.

Teri Schmidt [00:00:16]:

Welcome back to the Strong Leaders Serve Podcast. Are you leading the team with team members from different countries or are you building a business with a global presence? Hint once you have a website, you have a global presence. Or if neither of those are true, do you lead a team with people on it who are different from you? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, today's conversation with Nataly Kelly, author and Chief Growth Officer at Rebrandly, is for you. Nataly is a seasoned business leader, international business expert, and longtime Harvard Business Review contributor on the topic of global business. Prior to her current role at Rebrandly, she served at HubSpot as the Vice President of Marketing, vice President of International Operations and Strategy, and Vice President of Localization, where she helped drive international expansion. She built and managed remote teams of professionals located in Colombia, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Scotland, Singapore and the United States. She led numerous strategic, high visibility, cross functional initiatives, including launching new offices on three continents. Her new book, Take Your Company Global, provides a step by step approach for effectively building a globally equitable organization. What I loved about our conversation is that it provided advice for respecting, celebrating, and working with differences in any situation in which you are leading a team of people who are different from you. Again, I think that's every situation, so let's get to it. I'm Teri Schmidt, founder of Stronger to Serve Coaching and Team Building, where we believe that leadership is about courageously using your talents to make a way for others to courageously use theirs and this is the Strong Leaders Serve Podcast.

Nataly Kelly [00:02:32]:

Thank you Teri. It's so nice to be here. A big fan of your podcast, so very excited to be here.

Teri Schmidt [00:02:38]:

It is an exciting time for you. I know you just recently started a new role as Chief Growth Officer at Rebrandly, and then you also have a book coming out titled Take Your Company Global the New Rules of International Expansion coming out in late September. So I'm excited to dig into that. But I want to hear a little bit about what got you to this exciting time. If you could tell me a little bit about your journey here to this point.

Nataly Kelly [00:03:06]:

Sure. Well, I've always been interested in international business and for the last ten years have worked in B two B, SaaS, so B, two B software as a service and the tech space. And joining Rebrandly was basically an opportunity to work with an amazing company that is in a scale up stage and where I can have impact on lots of different areas, touching revenue and growth. And so that was super exciting to me. After a very long career at HubSpot which was also a B, two B SaaS company that I loved working at. But it was exciting to have an opportunity to take a new chance with a different company but also in the Martech space which I'm a very big fan of as a former marketer myself. And the book is actually kind of related too because Rebrandly is a global company and I've worked in a global company at HubSpot for the last eight years prior to joining Rebrandly. But it's kind of fun to see how at a scale up size you're able to impact things differently at an earlier stage. And I will say it's also interesting if you've ever worked in a company that was headquartered in the US and then expanded internationally, it's very different from a company that was founded outside the US and expanded into the US. Which is kind of the Rebrandly story. So I'm getting to see both sides and I just love having the different perspectives and still being part of that rapid pace of growth that I really enjoy.

Teri Schmidt [00:04:35]:

That is really interesting. I'm curious between those two examples that you were talking about where either it was founded in the US and expanded internationally as opposed to the other way around, what are some of the biggest differences that you have?

Nataly Kelly [00:04:52]:

Know it's funny because I think every company, no matter where they are headquartered starts from the same viewpoint of we know what we know and we know what works. And so therefore we think we can apply that in some other country without adapting it too much. And it's interesting whether it's from an HR perspective or a people management perspective or even a financial and billing perspective. Any area of the company, any function that you take has to adapt when you have international employees, when you have international customers. And so in the new book Take Your Company Global I do talk about that fact. And I think it's a new concept that I'm introducing that is very important of a geographically equitable organization or globally equitable organization. Because I think the earlier you start doing that in the life of your business the better. You can grow globally over time. It's much harder if you introduce it later. And I feel very lucky. At HubSpot I was able to introduce and frankly a lot of the founders and a lot of the well, the early founders brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, they had that mindset. Brian had lived in Japan, Dharmesh was from India. Like having a little international experience or a lot in their case is a huge benefit to any business. So I feel like kind of lucked out at HubSpot was already that awareness in place. But you are not always so fortunate if you walk into a company that was headquartered by two people who thought we're building this in Chicago, we're going to hire people within a 20 miles radius and that's where we're focused for now, that's fine. And that's important for some companies to think that way in their early days. But generally, I think the earlier you can hire people with international experience, the easier it is to go global later on. And I really believe that's the missing link is it's not about which market is the biggest or which currency are we going to bill in or anything like that. It's do we have the right people who know the market, understand the market, or are capable of learning the market because they have international experience and they've had to adapt in the past? That's kind of the intro to this concept of globally equitable organizations.

Teri Schmidt [00:07:15]:

Yeah, let's talk a little bit more about the globally equitable organizations.

Nataly Kelly [00:07:20]:

I call it a geo for short, by the way, because that is hard to say. But yes, globally equitable organization or Geo for short.

Teri Schmidt [00:07:27]:

So tell me more about that. And a lot of our listeners may not be in a position where they are starting a company or where they're even at a high enough leadership level to make some of those decisions that would help create a geo. But I suspect that some of the same principles that are part of building that organization are also extremely relevant to just working among diverse people on your team and leading diverse people. And I know a lot of those who listen to our podcast are in that experience, whether they have a team member that lives in a different country, in a different time zone, or even maybe lives where they live as well, but is from a different country. So I'm curious, in your perspective and what you share in the book, if you can dig into that a little bit more about the geo and what the key principles are and the key steps.

Nataly Kelly [00:08:29]:

Absolutely. Yeah. So, Teri, I think what your listeners might love to hear is that you don't have to be a sea level executive to have an impact here. In fact, the funny thing is, even if the sea level leadership wants this to happen, they often cannot unless every single layer of management and individual contributors throughout the company is on the same page. So to give you an example, like the example that you shared, where someone has someone on their team who lives in another country or someone who is simply working in the same city or same office with someone from another place, it's important to recognize those aspects of those employees as benefits and adding to diversity and improving the perspectives that we have. And not only because of the employees, and we want to have a diverse group of employees that is able to contribute in multiple ways from different vantage points, but also because we are serving customers. And if you're serving customers in another country or even in the United States who speaks Spanish or speak Chinese or speak some other language, you want to be able to have empathy for them. You want to be able to understand them. So my view is every person you hire who is either from another country, has immigrant experience, has international experience, has living abroad experience. They are enriching the fabric of your company and making you a more global ready company. A company that is prepared to go global even if you're not thinking about it yet. Because those folks with that perspective will naturally be thinking about how to build things in a way that eventually can be adapted for global purposes and local purposes. And also they won't come in with the attitude of like my way is the only way. They'll come in with an attitude of, oh actually, I know that mobile access is more important in this country than most people don't have internet at home, but they would definitely have it on their mobile device. And so even the way you build a software product, for example, can benefit from that experience. Even the way you think about sales and negotiating and bartering and going back and forth and how much discounting is common in one culture versus another, all of that plays into the processes you develop, the strategy you embrace. All of those things can help build a more diverse global ready company. So I think it's everyone's job to have a global mindset and to promote a global mindset from within. And interestingly, at a lot of companies it's not the sea level folks who do it. It's kind of a grassroots thing happens or you might have one evangelist who really cares about it. That was me in past lives carries companies, of course. That's why I wrote a book on it because I care about the but I think the thing that I like to focus people on when we talk about globally equitable services, globally equitable businesses is the fact that it's really about fairness. And that doesn't necessarily mean everything has to be identical or equal. Just a concept we think about a lot with diversity. And in general, it doesn't mean that just because I do the same thing for this group that that's going to work the same way. Because they're coming from a different perspective, a different history, a different vantage point. And I think the same is true when you're talking about international business. You can't just expect that because this product took off in your home market that it's going to work the same way in the next market or that they even value things the same way. Right? So that's important for how we treat employees, it's important for how we design processes, how we build products, everything. It plays into everything. Yeah, definitely.

Teri Schmidt [00:12:28]:

And I think there are so many parallels. Again, whether we are talking about international diversity or other forms of diversity. You talk about starting from where you are, starting from what you know and then trying to broaden your perspective and one way to do that is to hire individuals who have had experience, whether they are international themselves or they just have experience traveling abroad. What are some other steps that people can take to broaden that experience, to have a more equitable organization?

Nataly Kelly [00:13:05]:

Yeah, it's a great question. I do think it starts with the hiring phase. And that's the fastest way to make a difference, especially when you're small, because if you have a company of 50 people and you intentionally hire the next ten people with international experience, you've already shifted the percentage in a major way. But I think to come back to your core question, the way that you do that and the way that you start improving that internally is simply by enabling those relationships and enabling those connections. So I mean, here connections with customers in other countries and connections with employees in other countries. And I think in a lot of companies, people would think, well, we have an open door policy. It's easy to connect me, go ahead and book time with me. But not every culture feels that way. They might have more hierarchical notions of how things should be. Maybe it's more formal in their culture. A lot of, especially American tech companies are like, I'm the city of a book time with me. People are like, they'd be all over your calendar. A lot of European countries, they might be like, oh, she's just saying that to be nice, but we obviously are not going to bother the CEO of things like that. So you see this a lot where cultural differences are very real. For example, in new hair training, a lot of companies find if they're American and they built their training to be dialogue based and interactive, people come in from other countries and they say, so what do you guys think about that? And it's silence because each person is being polite and they don't want to take they're more collectivist. In many cases, depending on the culture, they might be thinking, well, I don't want to take up more space than that person and I don't want to be the first one to talk. Whereas the Americans are especially Americans who are used to attention and being the focus of the conversations, will dominate and jump in and take over. I think building relationships is the crux of this. And one little thing I did when I was at HubSpot was I created a little buddy program and it was simple. And this was when we launched our Japan office. And I was concerned about the Japan office being very isolated from everyone else, created the Tomodachi program, which was tomodachi is the word for friend in Japanese. The Japanese probably thought it was corny, but at least the Americans thought it was like an interesting cute name. Anyway, we just paired people up, asked people to volunteer to meet someone from that office. And before long we had people in all offices saying, we want that program for our office, and okay, let's connect all the different offices and make everybody collaborate a little more. Just having a simple one to one coffee chat, it's amazing what a difference it makes. You might think, well, what's one conversation going to do? But the awareness is raised of, oh, we have another office there, and oh, I met Yoko from the Tokyo office, and she told me that sitting next to her is this person who struggles with renewals because none of the emails are in Japanese or whatever. So you start to learn things about that other culture and that office, and you start to get people as people, which I believe is the heart of all good leadership.

Teri Schmidt [00:16:25]:

Definitely. So the steps I'm hearing there are, first, the awareness that your way isn't necessarily the way that everyone thinks or acts or conducts business, just that recognition that there are other ways out there. And then being proactive about finding ways to get exposure to those different ways, being curious about what those different ways are, and then building the relationships that can help you to answer those curiosities can help you to gain that exposure. That really is Empathy 101 I've talked about in the past, where researchers have found that we're naturally empathetic for others when we see someone suffering, but it's only for people we consider to be in our in group. And so when you go through those steps that you mentioned, I think that then broadens kind of your circle of concern, broadens who you would consider to be in your in group and can help you ultimately to work more effectively.

Nataly Kelly [00:17:30]:

Yes, I think it ties. And I want to pick up on the theme of curiosity that you raised because I do believe that's a core component of this curiosity is so important when you're dealing with people from other cultures, especially because a lot of us come in with our own assumptions, with biases or sometimes a blind spot that we have, or a lack of awareness. So I like to make sure that when we are dealing with a topic that we don't just assume that we know how it's perceived, or that the way that we think about it is the way that another cultural might think about it. In fact, I think it's a good practice to ask, is it the same in your country? Is it different there? How do you interpret this and how would you say most people in your country interpret this? Because we obviously don't want to get into generalizations and take ways that are like, oh, everyone in this country does x at the same time, it's nice to have a sense of how it is. Like, one way that I like to do this is shining a light on things that are different to highlight those as strengths for Rebrandly. When I first joined six weeks ago, I went to our Dublin office and learned a lot about the things there. And I'm very familiar with Ireland. My husband's from Ireland and I go back to Ireland a lot, but there were some things different about that office that I learned very quickly. And then I went over to our Rome office and I learned a bunch of things about that office that were different just in the way everybody know the espresso breaks at the counter cafeteria has Yoke Thursday. Apparently this is a thing everybody like, it's like Taco Tuesday. Oh my gosh. And I was like, oh, I didn't realize there's a version of Taco Tuesday in Italy. Happens to be Nyoki Thursday. When I was there. It's like these little things, it's fun to share them and make people aware of the fun stuff. Because I think when we talk about intercultural communication, so often people are scared of it and it seems hard and it seems difficult, and it's really about people meeting people, and people are the same all over the world at the end of the day in terms of what motivates human beings. And I say that and yes, there are a lot of cultural differences, but that's more the nuanced stuff. The core we kind of have to operate from that core assumption that we all have some things in common, but that there will be differences in our backgrounds, our traditions, our history, our economy, many, many things, politics that have shaped the way we view things and the way we view the world. And all of that ties together. But I believe the foundation of it is building those relationships, being curious when you're talking to folks and learning about them, just like you would with anyone. But I think it's even more important to be aware when it's someone from another culture or country that you're likely to uncover some differences. So you might as well go ahead and ask about the difference. Can ask, how is this different? Or is it the same in your country? And you'd be surprised what the answers are. Sometimes like, oh, that's pretty much the same, or sometimes it's completely different.

Teri Schmidt [00:20:42]:

And that's such a nonthreatening question too. How is this different? Or is it the same? Because I think sometimes we just go up based on our assumptions because we're afraid to ask the question or we're afraid to offend someone. But we all like people to be curious about us, to show an interest in wanting to learn about us. And so if you can phrase it in a way like you just did, that's not threatening at all.

Nataly Kelly [00:21:08]:

It can require yeah, that's super important. I would say another thing that is related to this is in terms of building those relationships. Like as a leader, what I like to do is kind of force the relationships. I'll just bring people together across teams and across geographies so that they kind of have to learn about each other. And it's not to be mean or force a time zone issue, but sometimes I just want them to understand that they are stronger together and they'll enrich the project they're working on with their different viewpoints. And there's so much to be learned from that. It's funny because I have an example from a past life where I used to really push this notion of global first and I still do everywhere, because the earlier you think about global the better. But global first kind of became a meme at HubSpot and so a lot of people started to use it like oh, we have to do this in a global first way. And it became a very popular thing to say and to embrace really, it was great. But I remember someone relatively new was meeting with me and she said well we created this program and we're doing it in a global first way because we built it in the US, tested it and then we rolled it out to all these other countries. And I'm like that's not exactly global. Global first would mean that you involve them from the beginning in planning the project or you talk to a few people to get their perspective to weave it in. That would be more global first. But if you roll it out, that's the opposite of global. That's technically global later. I think there is a lot of nuance to this and people are like oh, I thought I was doing the right thing just by considering people in other countries. Well, it was nice that you thought of them and you had that as part of your plan to eventually get to them. But getting them involved earlier will save you so much trouble down the line, so many challenges down the line, because you don't want to learn the hard way that something doesn't work after you've built it in one country. You want to know that before you go to the trouble of building out the full program or process or whatever it.

Teri Schmidt [00:23:24]:

I mean, when I worked in corporate, it was solely a company in the United States. But that has parallels as well. Know if your team is building something maybe to be used internally, you want to involve people from other teams as well as early as possible.

Nataly Kelly [00:23:42]:

Exactly. It's like being that connector to get everybody together and being that glue to make sure you're thinking about more than just the one team that happened to request it, all the people affected by it. So, same thing when you're talking about a global customer base. You can't talk to every single customer in every single country, or even maybe one customer in every country is too much when you're moving really fast. But could you talk to one customer in your most important nondomistic market? Probably people have time for that, but they don't want to necessarily build it in up front unless they're coached to do that.

Teri Schmidt [00:24:22]:

Well, I'm curious to go back a few minutes when you were talking about you'd like to kind of force the connection. If I was a leader and I had a team who had people either just from different cultures or if we want to say from different countries, do you put some supports in there to help make sure that those forced, and I'm using air quotes. But those forced connections are productive and do lead to the team working more effectively as opposed to just creating more conflict.

Nataly Kelly [00:24:57]:

Yeah, I mean if it's a team that already has preexisting conflict I wouldn't be so inclined to do that new relationships. But sometimes I do actually use that as a strategy when there is conflict as well. It just depends on the scenario. I think there's so many different angles and ways to approach this. I think what I usually like to focus on with any team is psychological safety first. Trust and safety are kind of the hallmarks for me and it takes a while and so I think one of the things it's nice to do is first find out people's communication styles and preferences because you can't easily apply the same models that might work for one team versus another. So for example, I had a global team in my last job and I have a global team today in Rebrandly. And one of the things that I've always noticed in running global teams at any company is there are different preferences by culture and also by personality type. So it's funny because you might have somebody from a culture that's known to be very outgoing and friendly and gregarious, but they might be the biggest introvert ever and not be the stereotypical profile of their culture. The very first thing I like to do with any project team cross functional project is to understand people's communication preferences, their work hour preferences, which channels they like to use, what are their communication preferences. That's super, super important to me because I think a lot of people start with this default assumption of oh, most people like to communicate the way I do. So if you don't clarify that up front, what I've seen happen is people get annoyed like oh, that finds messaging me on Slay, oh, that person sent me a message on WhatsApp? With like a picture of their dog, what are they doing? And most people probably would like that but they found it offensive. So it's important to understand the different preferences and to always make it optional for people to use them whenever possible. So, obviously, if we're having a team meeting and we're ten time zones, we probably are going to have to use zoom. But let's make it optional for people to turn off their camera or to come on an office they please, or to dial in from their phone if they're a parent taking their child to camp, like I was this morning on a zoom call. So I think giving people real clarity on here's how I like to communicate, and I hope that's okay with you. Like just today I had somebody in another time zone and we were using Slack, and I left them some audio messages because I was running and doing some other thing and it was just baftir for me. I said, Let me know if you don't prefer audio messages. What I like is it gives you the transcript and it's much faster. And she was like, oh, that's great. I appreciate this because I like the context and it's nice to hear your voice. But not every person might like that. If they're not a speaker of English, maybe that's good, maybe that's bad. Maybe they'd prefer it to be in perfect written English, that they can copy it into a translation tool or something. So just the baseline of just it's very simple. But just asking people, how do you like to work? How do you like to communicate? I think that's the foundation for building trust and preventing misunderstandings. And then once you know that you can operate from that framework, like, oh, she prefers she's usually this might be her quiet time in the morning. I'm going to contact her later in the afternoon, things like that. I love to know that about individuals and cultures. You start to see trends across cultures as you do this more.

Teri Schmidt [00:28:53]:

And and I'm so what I'm hearing, you you learn about the culture perhaps through those one on one relationships, and you may even come into a team where, for example, maybe you worked with someone from Ireland before and, you know, preconceived notions or assumptions about what this new person from Ireland is going to act like. But just like anything else, it's being curious at an individual level that may be playing in the background. That may help you to learn a little bit more quickly because you have that background, but you still need to ask the questions of the individual and respect them as an individual and respect their preferences. And that then lays the groundwork for you being able to build a relationship with them and be more curious and learn more about their specific ways in which their culture informs their behavior.

Nataly Kelly [00:29:50]:

Exactly. Excellent summary, Teri. Well, very good. Well, I'm curious.

Teri Schmidt [00:29:57]:

I want to make sure you have an opportunity to share about your book. And I know we talked a little bit about the GEOS, but I did notice in the title it's The New Rules for International Expansion. And you mentioned at the very beginning how with Rebrandly you're having an opportunity to start earlier. I'm curious about if you'd like to speak to that as an example of how these new rules are playing out or if you have other examples, what makes these rules new and what are they?

Nataly Kelly [00:30:29]:

Yes, so I actually have an entire huge list of the old rules and the new rules in the book as. They apply to different areas of business. And one of the core concepts in the book is that the way you go global has changed. Today it happens more incrementally than ever before. It used to be kind of like in the days of waterfall development, where software companies would release a version of a product and ship it all at once. And then here, later, another. It's kind of the same concept here today. Software is very agile and continuous in nature, continuous deployment. You get updates in your apps all the time that this app has changed. You get updates to your desktop software all the time that, oh, there's a new zoom update and have you downloaded the latest version and all that. And it happens a lot more continuously. Same concept for going global. And the reason is, today you're global. The second you have a website, anybody can find you once you're online. The Internet has really changed everything. A lot of my marketing friends would say, well, it's not that easy. You don't just put a website on. Like everybody comes to your website. You have to do a lot of promotion and SEO people can find you whether you want them to or not. And so increasingly, especially with companies with an online business model, I'm seeing this play out where they're only in year three and they already have 20 30% of their revenue from outside their home country. And at Rebrandlate, we're a very young company too, but we already have customers in 100 plus countries. Felt like we went out and said, we want to target that country and that country and that and that. We didn't just throw darts at the map and say, we want all those countries. They came to us. And so I think it's a combo, of course, but primarily if you have an online business model, and with Rebrandly, we have a product that growth model where people sign up for free and then they upgrade if they wish, but we don't know necessarily where they're coming from at the time they sign up. Those types of models are more and more common and possible because of the Internet. So in the past, you'd have to plan international expansion very carefully. How much are we going to spend? How many people we're going to hire? Where we're going to put our office. It was very place driven and it was very time bound. It was like, we're going to set up this office in these six months we'll hit this much revenue. It doesn't work that way now. To degree, it still does to a degree, especially depending on the market you're in, the industry you're in, if you're in physical products versus digital. But still, it's much more incremental. In the book, I talk about how you used to be able to do marketing with hiring a local marketer in each market who had a target and they had a budget and all that not usually the way it is now with a digital marketing portfolio. Basically their marketing team, they're responsible for global targets. And it doesn't necessarily matter where they come from, as long as they are paying a similar price and they're getting to the revenue targets they want. So it's interesting because I think Rebrandly is very much one of these new school companies that is benefiting from this more continuous globalization process than a lot of older school companies that were created in the past and maybe had a different approach.

Teri Schmidt [00:34:13]:

Yeah, so with that continuous change and people coming in from places perhaps you hadn't planned them coming in from, how do you then take everything we've been talking about into account in terms of making sure that you are considering their perspectives? Because I can imagine it's a challenge. If you can't hit all of the countries in the world and have an understanding of every single culture, that is precisely the challenge.

Nataly Kelly [00:34:44]:

You can't do everything at once, and you have to be strategic. And so what I talk about in the book is market intensification as opposed to market expansion or going global, international expansion. I think we have to think more in terms of default. Global. Okay, we're a new business. We're online, we're doing things online. We're just going to have people from all over the world potentially hit our website, be interested in what we have to sell. So our default approach is global. Now, how do we intensify in a given market? How do we choose which market we want to lean into? Is it going to be dictated by how many customers we have? What type of customers we have? How valuable those customers are to us? The total addressable market for each country? Is it a combination? Is it how many customers are requesting discounts? How many of them are renewing? There's all these considerations. So in the book, I try to boil it down to a simple framework, which I call the Morocca Model, another one of my acronyms that's easy to say but difficult to remember what it stands for. But it's basically three different metrics. One is market availability, which basically means market size. How much is there in each country? So they have a clear sense of the size. And that's, I think, the traditional way of thinking about market size. Tam total addressable market is many are there of this type of company or this type of customer that wants to buy or could potentially buy from us. So that's market availability then Raw is actually real time analytics. So what does your data tell you? How much traffic are you getting from this country? How are they converting on your website? How much are they paying? Are they paying more? Less? Are they asking you for more discounts, less? What's the experience like and what's the data show? So that's the Raw real time analytics and then Maca is actually the most important one and that's customer addressability. That is, how well are we able to adapt for the unique needs of that market? So are we offering the right packaging? That leads you to the question of have we even asked the question of what they want to buy from us and how value it? Maybe they value some aspect of our product more than we realize. And this other part that we think is the most important thing in our home country is actually not important to them and they're not willing to pay for that, but they're willing to this other thing. So it's packaging, it's pricing. Do we have the price right for the economy type that we're selling into? Which, believe it or not, is actually a very common challenge for so many companies, especially tech companies. They just don't think about how they should approach that much, much later when it's harder to fix currency and even channels like are we selling through partners? Are we selling direct? How are we selling in this market? There's so many factors on the customer addressability score that I include in the book that I think it can be overwhelming to think through them all. But I'd rather give people a blueprint that they could say, oh, we don't care about currency for now. We're going to sell in US. Dollars only. That's just an omission. We're not going to tackle that. Now. Here are the things that we do care about. So they have a list kind of to pick from because I feel like otherwise this whole topic can get very overwhelming. So I like to give people kind of a clear blueprint of here's a simple framework. Take your market size, take a few core metrics in your real time analytics, and pick a few things for customer addressability. Rank them, measure them, and use that to make your decision on where you should. That's basically the heart of that whole section of the book. Yeah, I love that.

Teri Schmidt [00:38:44]:

And I love that we have touched on so many areas that are relevant, whether it's just leading a team that has differences on it or setting up your business for success. Because like you said, once you have a website, you are international. So having that in your mindset first and having that framework that you can pick and choose from I think can be incredibly helpful for anyone at any level of a business to make sure that that organization is set up to succeed for the long haul. So I'm excited to see the book come out and I really appreciate your time today. I do have one final question, and that is what does Strong Leaders Serve mean to you? When I say that phrase, what comes to mind?

Nataly Kelly [00:39:32]:

I have so many thoughts when I think about that phrase, and I've really enjoyed listening to past episodes and hearing what others have to say about it. For me, Strong Leaders serve really means that you're invested in building a legacy and building up teams that can carry a torch forward. I really do believe it is our responsibility as leaders to find the talent, develop the talent, encourage the talent, give visibility to the talent that you have sponsored, endorsed, advocated for, and to take a proactive role. It's interesting to me how many people say, oh, my boss never asked me what my goals were, or Boss never talked to me about what I want long term in my life, in my career. And I'm like, well, how can you have a relationship if you don't even know those basic things? Because I think any good leader will tie the mission of the company, the mission of the team, to the goals that their individual team members have. It's the practice of aligning everybody. And so for me, when I think of strong leaders serve, I think we're serving a mission, we're serving our company, we're serving our team. But we also are responsible for serving the individuals on the team, advocating for them, helping them lead, and if they're not working out, finding a way for them to find happiness and feel productive and valued in some other way on some other and just being very able to acknowledge that when it's not working and when you see them struggling and you know it's not a fit, having the ability to serve them in not just a way. That is like, well, I'm only going to serve you in the context of I'm going to stop when it, you know, it's going to end when it doesn't benefit the company. Yeah, I don't believe you can do that. I don't believe you can because you have to take in the whole person and the whole perspective. So those are the things that come to mind when I think of strong leaders serve.

Teri Schmidt [00:41:49]:

Yeah, I agree with all of them. Very well put. And it does baffle me when you hear about leaders that don't even ask because what easier way to motivate someone than to tap into what they are naturally passionate about and what energizes them? So hopefully we don't have any listeners.

Nataly Kelly [00:42:10]:

That are those type of leaders.

Teri Schmidt [00:42:12]:

But if you are, I would recommend if you want your team to work efficiently and effectively, that you start asking some of those questions, if for no other reason than to help your team perform better. But hopefully you care about the individual too.

Nataly Kelly [00:42:26]:

Yeah, I mean, I'll just add it's one of the questions I usually ask, even at the recruiting phase, I usually will ask the person, what is the thing that you love doing so much that you wish you could do nothing but that all day? If you could only do that question, what would you do? And they usually have an immediate response for me. They don't have to think about it. They usually just, oh, this is what I love, and they can tell me. And I'm thinking, oh, that's interesting, so that's how they can contribute here. Or sometimes, oh, that's actually not a fit for this job. We're not going to hire you because that's definitely not what we need. And thank you for being clear about that because sometimes it's not always obvious from the job description. And then the other question I ask is what is the one thing that you wish you never had to do again? That if you take that out of your job and never do it and just give it to somebody else to do, what would that be? Because that also tells me a lot about what demotivates them and what drinks them and what will unhappy that I should avoid as a leader. And that also I can know in my team, okay, do I have other people who can cover that that they do not want to do? And it helps me develop them if they do come onto the team. So I love to use those two questions. I've used them now for more than a decade in every hiring process because it tells you so much that enables you to really get at the underlying motivation as the people have.

Teri Schmidt [00:43:53]:

Yeah, you just gave two wonderful questions to anyone who's interviewing right now or in the future. So thank you for that and thank you again for your time. If people want to connect with you or if they want to get the book, where is the best place for them to go?

Nataly Kelly [00:44:10]:

Sure. So you can connect with me on LinkedIn. Just look for Nataly Kelly. Both ending in y. And also check out Rebrandly, our website. We have software for link management, branded links. We're on a mission to end spammy generic links forever. I love that. Check out our rebandley website. And I also have a blog. It's called Board to Be Global. And my book is available everywhere. Books are sold? Pretty much. Amazon, Barnes and Noble online. Wherever you look, you can find it. It's called take your company global. Excellent, excellent.

Teri Schmidt [00:44:46]:

Well, thank you again and I will make sure all those links get in the show notes so that people can connect with you. Try out Rebrandly and get the book.

Nataly Kelly [00:44:56]:

Great. Thank you so much, Teri.

Teri Schmidt [00:45:02]:

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. I have a challenge for you. I challenge you today to ask one curious question of someone who is different from you in some way. And be sure to pre order Nataly's book so that you can get it right when it comes out in September.

Until next time, lead with this quote by Pat Wadors in mind: "When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive and better organization."


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