International Sales And How to Get it Right - Sales Dev Hub - RightBound
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International Sales And How to Get it Right

Hey there globetrotter! Stepping into the world of international sales? Buckle up because you’re in for an exciting ride! In today’s global economy, big or small businesses can tap into markets far and wide, bringing in diversity and profit. You’ll need a map (no worries, we got you!) because navigating international sales has far more twists and turns than the smoother domestic sales path. It takes some change in processes, strategic planning, and a good grasp of cross-cultural dynamics. 

Remember that map we mentioned? No worries, we are going to outline the most important factors which also cover the most common mistakes that many companies make when attempting to open the international market. So let’s peel back the layers of all that is international sales. (Much like an onion, if done wrong, it stinks, but if implemented properly, it can bring amazing flavor to your sales dept). 

Breaking Borders

Picture this- You’re a small startup or a seasoned corporate giant, thinking about expanding into markets beyond your normal stomping grounds. International sales offer a world of opportunities, but it’s not just about having a fantastic product or service. Nope! It’s about understanding the lay of the land, forming strategic partnerships, and fine-tuning your sales strategy.

Let’s start with market research – your biggest ally. Before you venture into foreign territories, you need to familiarize yourself with your audience, their preferences, the rules of engagement, and who your competitors are. Dive deep into the minds of consumers from various corners of the globe, and customize your offerings to hit the 

bullseye. Without the proper markets, you would be running in place, getting nowhere while you burn money and resources.

Another important factor before you plunge into international waters? Distributors. These guys can make or break you, so it’s crucial to know what you’re getting into. First things first, not all distributors are created equal. Each market has its own set of players with their quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. Before you shake hands and sign contracts, do your homework. 

Research potential distributors like you’re scrolling through Yelp reviews for the best taco joint in town. Check their track record, reputation, and whether they’ve got the chops to push your product in their neck of the woods. Long story short, when it comes to distributors, choose wisely, my friend. Your international sales adventure may depend on it.

You also need to consider the differences between your sales reps and managers. They are conditioned to adhere to processes that are cohesive to the inner workings of domestic sales. Once you introduce international sales to the mix, they will have to learn different ways of doing the same things. The cadence of responsibility changes greatly. They will now be dealing with different languages, time zones, and cultures, which often have certain ways of doing things that may be unfamiliar to your domestic rep. 

What Could Go Wrong?

The answer is anything and everything if you are not careful to have your ducks in a row before entering foreign markets. There are specific things you will have to be aware of that could change this exciting venture into your worst nightmare. Choosing the right markets is mentioned above but as International Sales expert Zach Selch will tell you (chance to learn from him below), some companies choose their markets by the top 3 places their wives like to vacation. Obviously, not a good strategy. Though you may think a quick game of eeny meeny miny moe can narrow it down quickly and unbiasedly, let’s slow down and talk about avoiding some major missteps when it comes to choosing your markets. 

Being reactive or impulsive in the international sales markets has caused many companies to fail within their international market choices. Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and jump into new markets without doing your due diligence. But trust us, this can lead to some serious headaches down the line. Take your time, research, and make informed decisions about which international markets are the best fit for your business.

Now, let’s dive into the one-size-fits-all approach. Every market is a different animal with its own set of rules and preferences. Trying to use the same sales strategy everywhere is like trying to speak the same language everywhere, it just isn’t going to work. So, take the time to tailor your approach to each market you enter, and you’ll see much better results.

Next up, let’s talk relationships. In international sales, trust is everything. Building strong relationships with your distributors and customers is key to success. But it takes time, patience, and a genuine interest in understanding the local culture. So, don’t rush it – take the time to nurture those relationships, and you’ll reap the rewards.

And don’t forget about the legal stuff. Each country has its own set of laws and regulations governing international trade. Ignoring them or brushing them off as unimportant can land you in some serious trouble. So, make sure you stay on top of the legal requirements in each market you operate in, it will save you tons in legal fees later on. 

Last but not least, leave your cultural stereotypes at the door. Embrace diversity, be open-minded, and show respect. Assuming you know it all can be a one-way ticket to a major cultural blunder. Keep an open heart and mind, and you’ll find yourself making friends and closing deals all over the globe. So, take your time, do your research, build relationships, stay legal, and embrace diversity – and you’ll set yourself up for success in the international sales game.

The Journey Ahead

Granted, embarking on global sales when you are used to solely operating domestically can be unnerving and a bit scary, sometimes. Without risk, there is no reward, and many companies have made the decision that expanding their business to include international markets is the way they are going to redeem their reward. However, certain aspects cannot be ignored if the venture is to be successful. You must approach the undertaking like a fresh initiative, leaving behind the grandeur thoughts of your domestic success. Many fail when they allow their egos to take over and think “How different can it be?” 

Hopefully, if you are looking into expanding internationally, you heed the advice and warnings within this piece. If you feel like you now know a couple basic facts but would like to take a more comprehensive look into what to do (and not to do) when integrating global markets, join RightBound for their virtual lunch series featuring a renowned expert in “all things International Sales”, Zach Selch.