Emerging markets domestically and new markets globally offer tremendous opportunities if approached realistically. The sales channel strategy, often with just some minor adjustments, can enable you to expand into new markets.
- Your sales channel plan is working as you would hope. Sales projections are coming in as forecast, and there's even some upside. The marketing team is in sync with your sales staff, channel partners, and key accounts. Even the finance team is smiling when they review the profitability of the channels. We should all be so fortunate to experience a business review meeting like that on a regular basis. Amidst all of that good news, what happens next is something I pretty much can guarantee, someone will say, "What's next? "What additional channels can we go after? "How about we expand globally?" In my career, I've heard those lines more than a few times, and I've also seen more than a few mistakes made because of the optimism based on current results in existing channels.
For whatever reason, there's a feeling that expanding the business in the new channels and even globally, can happen quickly. Some corners are cut because we're confident we learn so much implementing the original sales plan. We also falsely fall into the trap that business models can easily transfer globally. However, what we can never forget are the lessons we learned, the research we completed, and the overall surveying of the markets we did initially. We'll be more proficient at it since we've done if before, but the same steps need to be taken.
Domestically, if you're considering expanding in the new channels, the first question should be, why wasn't this channel in your original plan? Go back to the questions about what the competition is doing and ask questions of those currently working that channel. For years I worked with teams selling into the corporate market place. It's tough and challenging. During channel reviews I'd often hear the request to expand into a seemingly close channel, government accounts. There are similarities up to a point, and it can be very lucrative business.
However, after researching it, you'll see that selling to the government is far from easy and has created many casualties. Internationally, the ignorance that we all have of other countries and cultures, comes out so fast when everyone sees the potential for new revenue around the world. I've actually heard people say, "Why don't we just set up a similar structure "in Asia, the Middle East, and even the UK?" How many companies had China in their strategic growth plans? I'm sure in other countries, they look at the US with similar thoughts and big dreams.
Global expansion is very enticing, and the basic models can work, but must be redone to fit the local market requirements. Building a business in another country doesn't happen overnight. Sales take longer to close and that needs to be part of the overall discussion. The sales strategies you're currently using, oftentimes with just some additional analysis and adjustments can enable you to expand and develop new revenue opportunities. Emerging markets domestically and new markets globally can offer tremendous new growth opportunities.
However, always approach it realistically and with the same degree of diligence you've always followed.
- Surveying the marketplace
- Reviewing channels
- Managing channels and investments
- Developing a go forward plan
- Working with other departments and teams
- Handling channel conflict
- Forecasting sales
- Creating a channel marketing structure