But the contract says.....I know. Somewhere in your 25 page distribution contract it stipulates that you local channel partners bear the responsibility for local marketing and lead generation. That's solves it. Easy. Done. You've got so much else to do...it's their job, let them do it.
And boy do they ever! What a bang up job most channel partners do! You know that time tested project creation and lead generation method - wandering by the fax machine periodically to harvest orders in between coffees (or cigarettes, siestas, chai, etc - depending on where in the world the channel partner is!) And to round out the campaign, the harvest is periodically punctuated by a random ring (is that what that tone is called?) of the phone (hopefully answered in between talking (you might know it as yelling) on the other 2 mobile phones simultaneously) as a potential buyer stumbles into your product and asks them to help.
Seriously...if you've been there you know what I mean. The sad part is your "channel management" probably tacitly condones this approach. (Be honest! maybe you should check out our international channel management infographic? Download it to the left.)
Here's the simple fact. Your international channel partners rarely market proactively as they should, nor nearly as aggressively as you imagine. So while you should continuously work to upgrade your channel, you must also accept the reality. It's your business - it's up to you to get it done.
Easier said than doneLike every single business activity. I understand. So don't do it.
Oh, that's not an option? You need to find new customers? You need to grow new markets? Well then we'd better start. The good news is that it's not nearly as daunting as you may think. The bad news is that if you tackle this as a DiY project you're going to make a mess - even though you've sipped Café Latte on the Champs Elysée or a fruity umbrella drink in Cancun. (It's habit - I have to annoy someone in every blog post - so now that's out of the way.)
But a great way to improve your marketing localization and simultaneously engage your partners as part of your channel management strategy is to include them in your international marketing process. The result?
- the localized marketing product will be better
- channel partners will be thrilled that you are adapting to their market conditions
- they'll have a more engaged approach to leads
It all starts with international inbound marketingAnd here's the best part - you can do most of this from your office right here at home. (Note - this refers to the marketing aspect, not the sales development piece which I always say requires frequent travel.)
If you build a carefully structured, internationally conceived inbound marketing program you will see multiple benefits. Not only will you start to understand demand patterns, and find other potential channel partners (part of continuous upgrade) but you'll generate real, qualified leads.
This is part of the enormous (and not yet widely recognized) power of inbound marketing. If you make it a central component of your overall international marketing strategy you'll find projects in corners of the globe you never anticipated, and vibrant pockets in interesting markets.
Involve your channel partners, but admit reality, they're not going to do it on their own. Thankfully with international inbound marketing you can; and at an amazingly attractive price!
This doesn't belong on a "to do" listIt only works if you do it. Put it on a list and I guarantee it will slide further down each day and in two weeks it will be forgotten. Contact Consilium Global Business Advisors today to explore how we can help you launch immediately. As the Chinese proverb says "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today."
Want a better overview of international marketing? Download our infographic on the topic.