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. And if you don't have an export department yet, we can take this role upon us for you.
If you sell fast moving consumer goods or basic products
The quickest way to sell is to get you on the 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, or to find the right distributor who can do this. This requires a good presentation of your products, shipping options, pricing structure, brand positioning and support in marketing. For supermarkets and pharmacies you may have to pay slotting fees, which is a compensation for the retail chain for the risk they take in granting you shelf space. Your distributor mostly passes these costs on to you.
We help you optimise your product 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.
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 commercial activity that you need.
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.
We find the right agents or distributors for you
Based your strategy for your market entry, we draft a partnering profile, describing your company and the type of partner that you are looking for.
In parallel, we list a broad range of potential distributors or agents. We discuss this long-list with you, to see what type of companies you want to focus on. Once we have the short-list of companies, we try to arrange meetings for you shortly after one another, so that you can come over and spend your time efficiently. We prepare these meetings with you, so that you can present yourself in the best possible way.
Explore e-commerce and online lead generation
E-commerce can especially be useful for specialty products, the 'long tail'. When products are ordered at the source, your factory, you can customise the product itself or the packaging, thus adding value to the product. The key to selling online is localisation, which means:
- having the right products, that are in demand locally
- being on the right platforms, in the local language
- doing enough promotion, on local (social) media
- optimising your process for delivery and returns
Alliance experts can help you with all four aspects. We advise you, take care of translations, connect you with the right service providers and we can manage you business locally.
You'll pay us step by step, and we are committed to results
The first period you will pay us project based or through 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 slotting 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!