Many pundits discuss how to grow globally; it is a question that comes up frequently and is a target that lots of companies share. I find myself frequently about the side of the discussion. I recently published a book on the subject and reached out to some people I had worked with for stories and quotes I could place in the publication. I received dozens of answers, and if they all included part of what I had been hoping for — a few stories of how we had worked together to drive explosive earnings growth — practically all of them started with some variant of”even though Zach’s ideas seemed crazy and unorthodox…” I would have liked to feel that those ideas, ideas that have worked for 30 decades and in over 130 countries which have driven 1,000% sales growth four times, ought to be considered textbook rather than guerilla.
What is this unorthodox doctrine? For me, the key to international sales growth for a small- to mid-market-sized maker comes down to creating thoughts share with the right partners in the ideal markets. If you have this, everything typically falls into place.
I’d say that using a mind of sales who’s highly technical or knows your product will not lead to achievement. Language skills won’t lead to achievement. The sales skills that have proven successful in your home market won’t necessarily lead to success. Typically, those are the traits that firms are looking for in their own VP of global sales and then their respective regional supervisors — merchandise familiarity, Chinese or Spanish, and a proven track record promoting the product domestically. I have been called in more instances than I can count to take over the global expansion project from people who had these traits in abundance but couldn’t translate them into earnings.
“Building thoughts share with the ideal partners in the ideal markets.” The first skill you need is the capacity to identify the correct markets. Individuals frequently don’t possess a methodology for choosing the ideal markets, so they select markets for incorrect motives. This is a subject that actually demands a great deal of depth to talk about, and I’ve written dozens of webpages on this, the short way to address this is by simply asking, “Can we identify markets in which there are large numbers of people having the problem I solve and who have the cash to address that issue?” These are the markets that we should be going into.
Secondly, how can we find the proper partners? We might want to start with who the perfect partner is why we should have partners in any respect. Again, this is the form of sales theory that we could talk about for hours or even heaps of webpages. The answer is that this is all about force multiplication. If we would like to own sales assets carrying out the correct sales activities around the world in a cheap manner,
I believe the only way to get a small- to the midsize company to do this is by forming station ventures. If we’ve mapped out the earnings process and we know what actions we are looking to execute, we are going to assign a few of those actions to the spouse — for example, discovery calls in the current market, presentations, and building relationship with the end-user — and we all could use this listing of jobs to specify the perfect mate. After we have profiled the spouse, we could figure out where we can find him and how we can onboard him. As a fast example of this, consider the query, “Could I figure out exactly what else the perfect partner would be selling and identify him this way?”
Now comes the interesting part: building and protecting mind share. Every day, every salesperson who works for your station partners gets up and decides what she is selling that day. What you want doesn’t come into the equation. If the distributor is great, the salespeople are making a good living now. They have products in their portfolio that have paid for their property, their car, and maybe their boat or summer home… and then they have your product. Perhaps you have convinced them that they can make money from your product, that it is easy to use you and, most importantly, that you are trusted not to try to deceive them?
Very often, American producers that are new or growing their exportation business have a very different comprehension of”cheating” compared to local channel partners do. Channel partners expect to put effort into creating the market, and then they expect to make their profits when earnings are made. Changing partners, splitting markets, and going direct are things that are likely to concern partners and who possess the potential for losing mind share. It can be crucial to become crystal clear with the message about your coverage on this.
There are many different tools that you may use to build this mind share, including coaching, good sales enablement, building a distributor community, and coaching.
As with anything, the real key is to learn from the beginning what it is you’re attempting to achieve to cultivate revenue and market share — that will be mind share with the right partners in the right markets.