How SME’s can internationalise and create successful strategies with limited resources

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The internationalisation of small and medium-sized companies has witnessed significant changes in recent years compared to classic business development models. The speed of the market, globalisation and above all the ease of information dissemination through digital channels have increased competition and revolutionised consolidated business models.

At the same time, these changes have made available to companies, of all sizes, formidable tools to increase visibility and generate profits even with limited resources.

The key to success for many national and international entrepreneurial realities is today represented by the implementation of strategies to effectively compete with digital and non-digital players, selecting the best mix of digital tools integrated into the commercial strategy, useful for customer acquisition and customer retention.

In order to internationalise, products and processes must be suitable for export. Even before that, it is essential that the widespread mentality in the company is export-oriented. This is an important change of vision, different from sales dynamics in traditional markets.

Below we list and detail some aspects to consider when implementing a strategy for international expansion:
  1. Definition of the export strategy
  2. Temporary export manager
  3. Identification and selection of multi-firm agents in the foreign market
  4. Identification and organisation of the distribution network
  5. International sales network training
  6. Targeted multilingual lead generation
Definition of the export strategy

Before creating a strategic plan, it will be necessary to analyze the current export model and identify concrete opportunities for growth. Immediately after this initial phase of analysis, a strategic plan can be drawn up. It will include operational actions that vary according to the pre-established objectives. This phase also represents a training moment for internal company resources, who are exposed to new stimuli and with whom market approaches applied by other entrepreneurial realities are shared.

Temporary export manager

The activity of temporary export manager will give rise to a new profile, essential for business development in foreign markets; an export manager will be appointed who will act on behalf of the company to build the strategy, the sales network and finalise sales negotiations. Often this involves the existing sales force. The activity of Temporary Export Manager can be full time or part time depending on the needs of the company.

Identification and selection of multi-firm agents in the foreign market

Many entrepreneurial realities rely on multi-firm agents, multi-brand representatives who operate directly on foreign markets. These are professionals who frequently travel to the reference area or local staff who continuously live in the country of interest. The company has the task of identifying, evaluating and selecting agents, active representatives on specific foreign markets.

Identification and organisation of the distribution network

Due to radical changes in sales and communication / promotion models, consolidated sales networks on specific markets are becoming increasingly obsolete since they adopt commercial schemes that are no longer aligned with the new social and economic context. In these cases it is essential to reorganise the sales network, redefining the distribution players.

International sales network training

Designing and producing a winning product does not automatically mean being successful on the market. Especially when a product has innovative features, it is essential that the sales network approaches the market in a correct way. This team must be able to identify and adequately communicate the value of the product by leveraging personal relationships and, perhaps above all, competitive advantages. Perceived psychological levers are key to the purchasing process. In this phase, companies are advised to support the training of their sales network, also sharing concepts of advanced neuromarketing and behavioral psychology, thus identifying relevant promotional levers.

Targeted multilingual lead generation

Con l’attività di Lead Generation si crea interesse sulla marca/brand e sul prodotto/servizio specifico utilizzando le leve di marketing idonee al prodotto/servizio oggetto della promozione. Le leads, in una prima fase, sono delle richieste di interesse verso il prodotto o servizio, ma che nel tempo si possono trasformare in conversione (vendita o altro goal).

It’s not the number of leads that is important, but their quality, which makes the difference and generates profit.

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