Start selling abroad with your local country manager

Start selling abroad with your local country manager

Starting business in a new country requires that you know the market and be there. The tactics that you successfully applied in your home market may not work. Our local specialists can act as your country manager and ensure your sales.

What is your sales strategy?

Potential agents or distributors will ask how you want to position your brand and approach the market. The better your plan, and the better your support, the more they will do for you. So you need to define your strategy in advance.

If you sell fast moving consumer goods or basic products

The quickest way to sell is to get you on she shelves of major retail chains. These are not difficult to identify. The hard part is to get a meeting with the right purchasing manager and to convince him or her. This requires a good presentation of your products, shipping options, pricing structure, brand positioning and support in marketing. For supermarkets and drugstores you may have to pay listing fees, which is a compensation for the retail chain for the risk they take in granting you shelf space.

We help you optimise your presentation, we arrange the meetings with the right people and accompany you to overcome cultural differences. You only have one chance of presenting yourself.

Starting with online sales first may be an alternative. This way you can test your brand with lower investments and prove that it can sell well in the market.

If you sell specialty products

In this case we will have to look what type of distributor would fit with your brand positioning. If it is a good fit, the distributor will also be interested to work with you. Finding the right distributors is the key challenge here. For consumer products we may find them more easily than for business-to-business products. Their market share is important: how many clients do they serve already?

For specialty products, knowledge transfer, training and detailed marketing materials are important. The more support you offer, the more likely a distributor will put effort in selling your services or products. It will also be important to invest in your local online presence.

If you sell services or customised products

If you sell customised products or services, then you need an agent, who will sell on your behalf, in return for a commission. Agents can be individuals, as long as they have a good network in the relevant industry. But working with a company can bring you in touch with larger prospects. Working with an agent who provides complementary services may be a good option, but will often limit you to the agent's customers. And in many cases he will promote his offering first, and only then your service.

Even with online services it may be wise to appoint a local sales agent, especially if the sales process is relatively complex. The agent can provide implementation services or additional services. Be careful with granting exclusivity for a country or customer segment and also discuss what to do with the sales that you generate directly.

Working with us starts with a Country Strategy Roadshow

Working with us always begins with a Country Strategy Roadshow. You come over and our local specialist will guide you around, arrange meetings with retailers or end-users and useful organisations where you can tell about your offering. During these two days you learn more about the market and together we will draft a market entry strategy and action plan. On basis of this plan we will make a proposal for further activities. And if you like this, you can choose to work with us.

We will act as your local country manager

Our business development specialist will be responsible for growing your business in the country, just as one of your own people would do. Our advantage is that we don't have to travel and know the market from within. You can hire us part-time, and for any activity that you need.

Our specialist, acting as your country manager, will execute the plan that we agreed upon. As a first phase, we may help you to fine tune your offering to the local taste or customs. For consumer products packaging is essential, and for business-to-business documentation should be optimal. In some countries you may need approvals or certifications. We can handle these processes for you.

If the plan includes finding distributors or sales agents, we will arrange it. If your product needs to be visible online on local platforms in the local language, we will do so. If free publicity or visiting trade shows will help you sell, we will work on it. We report to the people in your organisation and we work strictly within the budget that we agreed upon. For major decisions, as the choice for a distributor, we may ask you to come over.

You'll pay us step by step, and we are committed to results

We have clear fixed fees for the two-day Country Strategy Roadshow, during which we define a strategy together with you. The first period you will pay us a monthly retainer, and we report back to you every month on what we have achieved. Once our activities shift from marketing and preparations to sales management, we can (partly) work on a commission basis. This way you keep control over your budget.

Let's be clear from the beginning: there is no market entry without any investment from your side. Apart from our fees you may have to pay listing fees, advertisements, certification fees and other costs to get started in a country. But working with our local specialists is certainly profitable compared to flying somebody in and out. Also see our article: What are the real costs of an export manager?. We would be happy to make the calculation for you!

Contact me discuss how Alliance experts can be our new country manager!