Growing globally can help to drive sales growth. There are a number of challenges that can be mitigated with international partner support. Here is how to determine if an international partner is the right next step for your business.
Questions To Ask
The first question that needs to be asked is if the products translate into international markets. If the answer is yes, then the next question to address is if a direct sales model or an indirect sales model would work best.
A direct sales model simply means the business will have direct sales people who will be employed in these markets. In addition to hiring an in-country sales team, the business will also need to consider stocking inventory locally to avoid long delivery lead times.
An indirect sales model means the business will partner with distributors, resellers, and/or agents to sell the goods abroad.
The key benefit of working with international partners is that they are experts in their particular market and understand the competitive landscape. More importantly, they will likely have an established sales force that can drive sales of products. An added benefit of international partners is that their costs are typically a variable (commission) of sales.
How An International Partner Benefits Your Company
International partners serve other roles in support of business growth. For example, they have the ability to serve local customers in local currency. A distributor or a reseller also has the ability to stock inventory for immediate deliveries.
Finally, a local partner has a native understanding of the language and culture. This is sometimes overlooked by many American companies trying to grow sales in new international markets. Many distributors, resellers and agents can be found in the U.S. at specific industry trade shows offering their services.
Summary of Benefits of an International Partner:
- Established Sales Force
- Market Expertise
- Warehousing Facilities
- Transact in Local Currency
- Variable Cost Structure
- Language and Culture
What does this mean to you and your company?
- Local partners can accelerate your growth by leveraging their existing sales force. This reduces the time to establish a productive sales force.
- A local partner’s knowledge of the competitive landscape will prove useful when creating pricing and product roadmap strategies.
- Local partners can help you reduce your delivery lead times to your customers by stocking your inventory.
- Local partners can invoice and collect in local currency and are less vulnerable to foreign exchange fluctuations.
- Local partners can help you decrease your operating costs with a variable sales cost model.
- You can leverage the local partner’s knowledge of the language and culture, as well as their service and reverse logistics organization, to improve customer satisfaction.
Michelle Guilbeau is a writer, reviewer, teacher and business owner. She also has experience in school administration, literacy coaching and is proud founder of CraftKitsForKids.com and MichelleGuilbeau.com Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of cities, food, travel, education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.