When it comes to sales in foreign marketplaces key factors, like Trade shows, come into play due to the fact that they are the most direct marketing tool to understand customers’ needs. They are the leading tool to gaining information around product placement, features, and observe competitors in real time.
Going Global requires the highest possible professionalism, as product and marketing are quick to be judged; therefore, the company must clearly showcase what it is capable of. Continuous growth and the will to continue learning all play a role in achieving global expansion, while also branding the business as innovative and hard-working. If done correctly, results will be game-changing, and build a strong foundation that will reap longevity for the business.
Ten Things necessary to build a successful foundation for a Global outreach:
- Expanded Thinking – The American corndog is unique to the US, but the stick it is on, is not. This same wooden stick is used in ice cream in Europe; same size, shape, and form but different usage. Not all people may enjoy corndogs or ice cream; however, this small wooden stick is implemented in so many products that it is not connected to any certain part of the world, yet it’s uses can be connected to cultural icons.
- Knowing the product inside and out.
- Knowing the competition in local markets: sales figures and channels, the names of executives and key management, technical support staff, warehousing, and the warranty and customer service procedures. It is important to know the competition as well as, if not better than your own products.
- Recognizing up sell and cross sell opportunities in local markets.
- Ensuring relevance to customers in local markets (understanding the target market).
- Reviewing the product from the customers point of view.
- Identifying/Utilizing all sales tools.
- Showcasing what makes the company unique and successful, and what is the value preposition of the product.
- All employees must maintain the same mindset and understanding of the goals, so no time is wasted, and these goals are constantly being strived for.
- The ability and willingness to sacrifice family time, holidays, or otherwise for extensive travel abroad or being on standby 24/7 for the next 5-10 years. This is the hardest part-staying determined and not giving up.
Goal: Aiming for a year-over-year revenue increase by building credibility and creating a presence.
A presence is always earned through hard work, authenticity, integrity and commitment. This is true in every market, but vital in a foreign market! It’s hard enough in local markets not to think about language barriers, cultural differences, and time zones, but these obstacles gained the company success in the first place.
The next steps cannot be guided by ego or quick decisions, rather, highly professional step-by-step strategy. Using all the knowledge acquired via the research and preparation listed in the above guide it is now time to:
- Gather the sales intelligence
- Create a prospecting process
- Determine upsell and cross sell opportunities
It is critical to demonstrate the capability of being a potentially valuable resource to the venue abroad and others when it gets to market and industry knowledge (which you can also potentially turn into another revenue stream).
Key Takeaway: Creating a humble but successful elevator pitch is what differentiates a successful Executive and determines a products success. In a foreign market at this stage of the planning, it only serves the purpose of polite introduction and should not serve as a sales pitch.
In order to expand globally, a business must research the target country’s biggest media outlets and platforms for relevant information in their industry, and then contact the journalists/sources behind it. These articles come with complete and thorough market analysis, all done by local journalists/sources who are knowledgeable in their region/country. This invaluable information, which is normally gained through extensive field analysis, will help the business to gain insight, leading to targeted placement. With cooperation, this new source might be the market entry interview that leads to a press release or article. In addition, conducting interviews with Association Leaders in the industry of the country that is being targeted, is key.
It is of profound significance, to ensure compliance with all US and Foreign Government regulations. To understand local trade laws or regulations, communicating with a local port or airport customs official to discuss all import/export product related features, processes, and to determine product classification. Furthermore, obtaining all relevant declaration forms and training at least two of the employees on the process and relevance of these procedures will guarantee on time product handling and shipment. This is an invaluable asset in every customer centric daily operation.
Quietly comparing methods and thought processes. Taking notes and focusing on cultural differences, language barriers and experience presented by executives in a different cultural environment. Gaining insights about business mentality and common practices in the target market.
If this all resonates with the corporate identity and all employees support the decisions, the business is set to successfully go global.
In our next edition we will talk about the different ways how a marketplace can be entered:
- Assemble an international sales team
- Working with Distributors
- Licensing Agreement
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