A co-founder and I have been working with local and US-based clients, all of them were people we met from our jobs.
We are trying to grow, but I found it is incredibly difficult to find good customers when you don't live in that place. We are from Argentina, and trying to sell our services in USA, Canada and Europe.
I do not want to give much detail because indirectly promoting our business is against the rules, we do IT/software services (outsourcing, staff augmentation, etc.)
This far, most deals and projects came from previous contacts we had, and besides that we used LinkedIn to get some leads, without much success.
What is your advice on introducing your company in a foreign market? Traveling is an option, since I know best contacts come personally and not spamming "Let's do a quick call". Do you think hiring an on-site sales representative is worth? If so, where would that be or would be a good place to start? NY and SF seem oversupplied.
I will be dedicating some hours in the Network area here in CFL, but I would like some advice on what would be a successful approach to get in touch with real businesses that have real needs.
Outsourcing is a commodity business, especially IT/software services. You will find extreme competition in most parts of the world. And you will find a lot of suspicion about your reliability, technical skill, and communication skills. You're not alone in that. I'm just confirming that it's extremely difficult if not impossible to break into an over-saturated market where you are not present.
First, you must absolutely have a dramatically different service for anyone to have a chance of being persuaded to choose your company over whatever they're doing today. A dramatic difference is not 20% different, it's more than 50% different. Price is not a primary factor. It's about what you can do that no one else can.
There are several discussions in this forum about outsourced IT/software services and the challenges in entering foreign markets. Even if you were present, there is extreme competition. The list of objections to outsourcing is mostly the same no matter what country you're coming from. But in the US, nobody knows about IT skill levels in South America. Argentina any anywhere else in South America are considered sub-par for technology and highly corrupt financially, which means you have an even more difficult time convincing potential clients that your service has value.
Your best path in is referrals from current clients. I fear there will be no other way for you, and even with referrals the rate of new clients will be slow. I suggest you do more research on the markets you wish to enter so you can understand why companies don't want to do business with people from your part of the world. It's unfortunate, but a very serious challenge that may lead you to re-evaluate your plan.