Picture this: You’re the CEO of a visionary EU-based B2B tech company, with breakthrough technology and venture capital funding. Your sales have already begun in your local market validating your product-market fit. As the next move, you are considering expansion beyond your home country. The US market, a potential goldmine representing over 50% of the global B2B landscape, sits across the Atlantic, promising not just rapid scale but also sky-high valuations.

But cracking the US market code demands more than just ambition; it requires careful planning and a deep understanding of market dynamics. So, what are the proper actions for preparation and what are the right questions to ask?

Over the past two decades, I’ve personally navigated this journey of bringing tech companies to the US and assisting numerous others. Drawing from this experience, before setting sail for the US, I would first suggest accepting a humble attitude. Forget your EU market share; in the US, with no sales, you’re essentially a startup. Revisit your core assumptions: problem-solution fit, ideal customer profile, differentiation, etc. fundamentals. What worked in the EU might need tweaking. And when you do that, you will realize that the opportunity waiting for you is enormous, but also that it looks different than what you have experienced in the EU. Because that’s what it always is – different.

Assessing Your Target US Sector’s Maturity

One crucial yet often overlooked step is assessing the maturity of your target US sector. Is it in its infancy with early adopters or a well-established arena dominated by established players? This distinction is crucial, as it shapes your approach. And it is specifically important because sometimes the US lags the EU market stage or vice versa. For instance, strategies that resonated in the EU’s mature market might need a complete overhaul for the US’s early-stage environment.

For those who prefer a deeper dive, Crossing the Chasm (3rd Edition already!) by Geoffrey A. Moore offers valuable insights on navigating different market stages. It’s a comprehensive read, but highly recommended for anyone interested in successfully navigating complex markets.

Early-stage Market Entry: Selling to Early Adopters

Early-stage US markets, while offering less initial competition, present the unique challenge of capturing the attention of early adopters, a mere 16% of the market according to industry statistics. Early adopters are curious and forward-thinking. While they don’t want to be guinea pigs, they are willing to take calculated risks to try something new if they believe it can solve their problem. But because they are so few, they are also difficult to find. Even if you find a person on LinkedIn that looks exactly like your target prospect profile, if he does not share the early-adopter psychology then he is not your ideal target after all.
The best way to engage with this elusive group requires prioritizing education in your product promotion efforts. Early adopters crave a clear understanding of the ROI and practical benefits your solution offers.

PRACTICAL TIP: If you don’t see multiple strong competitors in the US, it’s a sign of an early market. To find and win early adopters, turn your website into an educational hub with thought-leadership content, white papers, case studies, and expert blogs, to attract and educate early adopters.

Later-stage Market Entry: Differentiation is Key

Established markets are a different beast. Here, you’ll face established players and fierce competition. To stand out, differentiation is your weapon. While emphasizing ROI and benefits remains important, remember, that your competitors have likely already educated the market on these aspects. Therefore, your task is not to convince buyers of the benefits of your product category but to demonstrate why your mouse trap is better than others.

Say you enter the US power drill market; you don’t have to explain the benefits of a power drill. You just must explain why you are better than Black & Decker.

Clarity in your product’s differentiation in a later-stage marketplace is non-negotiable. Vague claims like “easier to use” or “better quality” won’t cut it in a mature market. Quantify your differentiation. Demonstrate how your product saves time (by 5x!), reduces costs (by 10x!), or offers tangible advantages over competitors. Back your claims with evidence and data to establish credibility.

Ultimately, your differentiation strategy boils down to one crucial question: Why should a US customer choose your European solution over a trusted local vendor? If you can’t answer this clearly and convincingly, the US enterprise buyer will likely play it safe and stick with a familiar brand and a good enough local solution.

Practical Tip: The presence of a dominant ‘gorilla vendor’ often signals a mature market and competitive environment. Before entering the US, become an expert of your US competitors, know them better than your own product! Before focusing on their weaknesses, understand why US buyers may find competing products appealing. Ask your team: how and why is our advantage important?

Case Studies and References

Regardless of the market stage, real-world stories are gold in the US market. Happy customers acting as your cheerleaders can significantly de-risk your offering for potential US clients. Use illustrative reference cases to showcase your product’s impact, but make sure to translate EU-focused case studies into US-centric narratives to resonate effectively with American readers.

US audiences appreciate a confident, concise, and direct communication style. Structure your case studies simply, following the format: Challenge -> Solution -> Results. Clearly articulate your value proposition and quantify the outcomes your solution delivers (e.g., increased efficiency by 20%).

Collaborate with US industry experts and influencers on your case studies. Their unique perspectives can enhance credibility and resonance with the American audience, adding weight to your success stories.

Practical tip: In your marketing collateral, convert all prices and measurements to US dollars and standard US units (e.g., feet vs. meters, lbs. vs. kg, etc.), and the date format from day/month to month/day. Change your A4 to US Letter-size paper format, for printing your documents properly. Check the US Eng language, turnover vs. revenue, etc.


In the US market, credibility and building trust between business partners are key, and that means having a local presence. Someone locally in the USA calling around using the US phone number and US address. This may sound counter-intuitive to some EU-based executives, as within Europe it is maybe normal to call across the country borders. But in the USA overseas calls may lack the credibility needed to establish trust. Many enterprise buyers in the US are busy trying to understand the differences between the 50 US states, different jurisdictions, and practices. So, when somebody calls from, say, Finland, they have no idea what to expect in terms of business culture or behavior. This just adds another layer of perceived risk to the vendor selection process.

Practical Tip: Having your own “frontier scout” on the ground preparing for your entry, familiar with the nuances of the US business landscape, becomes instrumental in securing initial customers and partners.


When European B2B tech firms cross the Atlantic, they must be armed with more than just innovative technology; they need strategic insights into the US market’s complexity. Understanding the market stage of your target sector is crucial. Clearly define and quantify your product’s differentiation, showcasing real-world success stories through tailored case studies. Remember, local regulations and cultural nuances matter. Consider partnering with a local expert to bridge the gap and accelerate trust-building.

Expanding to the US is not just about crossing geographic borders; it’s about understanding and adapting to a new business ecosystem.

As you prepare for this exciting leap, I hope these thoughts help you navigate towards US market success. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to take your company across the pond and make a splash in the land of opportunity. Bon voyage!

Ready to navigate the US market with expert guidance? Contact Takehill Partners today for a free consultation and learn how we can help you find your first US customers and partners. Learn more at www.takehill.com (Boston, MA, USA)