Developing a channel sales program for a single market is no easy task for a vendor. So, it should come as no surprise that building a channel partner sales program across the globe adds layers of complexities and difficulties. Deploying and maintaining a successful international channel sales program requires thorough planning and a solid growth strategy. When expanding your sales program into the global arena, you must take into consideration local regulations, legal requirements, cultural differences, and financial risks. Such challenges must be carefully evaluated to ensure your program objectives are achieved.
In this post, we will outline the challenges associated with expanding your channel sales program globally and provide you with practical solutions for designing and managing an international channel sales program.
Sales and profit of course!
Yet, the drive for expanding internationally differs for each vendor. However, there are a few common goals that propel vendors to seek growth and expansion internationally. Some reasons for a vendor to go global include:
- A new source of revenue
- An increase in customer base
- Gaining a competitive advantage
- Discovering new talents
- Tapping into new global customers
- Taking advantage of local incentives
- Lower overheads per customer
Factors to Consider in Your International Channel Sales Expansion Strategy
Moving from a domestic to an international market requires a detailed plan. We recommend that your organization employ a central and local channel manager who brings value to your sales programs and is able to provide local knowledge. Your regional channel sales managers should also offer an understanding of cultural differences and access to customers that you would find difficult to attract otherwise. Factors to consider when looking into expanding into a new location are:
- Do you currently have any level of brand recognition in the market?
- How familiar are customers with your products and/or services?
- Will you need an international business license to operate?
- Is your team skilled with knowledge of new market’s language, culture, laws, ethics, etc.?
- What is the economic climate in your sector?
- Are your current channel partners willing and able to expand globally?
Challenges to also consider with global expansion:
- Language and culture barriers
- Foreign marketing challenges and opportunities
- Multi-currency and currency exchange rates
- Legal, ethical, and tax compliance
- Operational logistics
- Rate of adoption
Managing an International Channel Sales Program
As globalization has changed the way organizations conduct their business, many vendors are realizing the importance of international affiliates to grow their indirect sales opportunities. Here are a few recommendations for managing an international channel sales program:
Identify Viable Partners
Proactively prepare for multicultural engagements and sales processes: take the time to learn the culture. Learn about the local people, the buyer persona in each country, and their sales cycle.
It is important to set clear and measurable goals and be as transparent as possible with your channel partners. Collaboratively create a plan with your partners that outlines expectations and defines success.
It is imperative that the ongoing coaching and support you provide international channel partners are correctly translated. Don’t rely on translating software tools as many of them are known to butcher your content or, even worse, misrepresent your message.
Use an Automated SaaS Platform
Your product specifications, sales, and marketing programs are forever changing. Therefore, it’s important to employ the use of a comprehensive platform that is easily accessible to all your channel partners.