We sell through distributors"OK. Good for you. Why?"
You'd be surprised how often that is the reflexive response from folks when asked how the plan to sell internationally. And often that is both an appropriate answer and a sound strategy. But is it always?
Various modelsThere are many ways to sell internationally. Ranging from eBay to wholly owned subsidiaries and including reps, agents, distributors, JVs, local employees, acquisitions, licensing, franchise and remote sales, the options are broad. And the best option in one market may not be the best for all markets.
A number of factors, including your product, the target markets and your preferences will impact the optimal model.
Distribution is often best....but don't discount the others.
No matter what - you have to manage channelChannel management is a critical skill regardless of which model you select. A sales channel is a living entity. (Read more about the pitfalls of channel management and inherent incompatibility here.) It must be nurtured and fed - irregardless of whether you have employees, reps, partners or distributors.
Someone once told me that business would be easy if you could just take the people out of it......Channel is about people, though, and channel management requires strong international, management, people and leadership skills.
Aligned values and shared successUltimately your success will depend on your ability to align the values of the companies and individuals involved. Simply establishing sales goals and revisiting them with periodic reports is doomed to fail. Actively engaging them and focusing 80% of your attention, resources and support on the 20% actually producing will yield huge results.
If you have equitable contracts and compensation, and you fully engage in new channel relationships with robust training and mutual commitment, then you will quickly discern which partners are closely aligned.
Focus on them and build your business!
Need some help selecting the optimal channel model or implementing a solid channel management program? Contact Consilium Global Business Advisors to discuss how we can help.
Want to learn more about the Six Critical Phases of Channel Management? Download our free whitepaper.
Or how about Channel Model Selection Considerations? Download our free eBook.