5 things you must do to be a successful B2B Exporter

In Denmark, only 1 in 20 companies are exporting their products. And when 10 companies set out to conquer the export markets, only 4 succeed. Why is that? What is it that surprises the often small and medium-sized companies that fail? Here are 5 important points, for companies anywhere, to consider before you make the decision to go abroad – or to use for evaluating your current efforts.Own your home market
To be able to add any kind of value for your customers abroad, you need to be one of the stronger players in your home market. Export sales is not something you do when your home market fails – on the contrary!
Margins are lower due to distributor or dealer margins; costs for distribution and support are higher; information is always lost on the way from you to the end user, both due to more intermediaries, the culture and translations – to put it short, odds are against you when you are up against the local players. Only by being on the top of your game, will you be able to compensate.Understand your distributor’s business
Using dealers or distributors in the B2tB market makes you vulnerable if you do not understand their business or motivation. How important are your products, your USPs to his product line, and to his customers? Where does his primary volume and margin come from? What are important competitive factors in the local market? Only by understanding this will you be able to adapt your offerings to his needs.
If it is important for end users to meet the producer – offer to do road tours with him. If your product is part of a wide range, make it easy to market your products by supplying PR material, testimonials, newsletters every month or two all ready to use – in that way you will be able to gain more focus on your products. Be creative.Respect the value chain
For many business owners selling products directly to end users in their home market, it can be painful to offer a good share of the margin to a distributor. Often half of the money you used to make per product is gone!
But remember all the time used per customer that you save when selling abroad; the telephone calls, the emails, the meetings and marketing. If your distributor is taking over a large part of the value chain, he will expect to have a good margin as well.
Where would you put your focus in your portfolio; on the product with a margin of 20% or the one with 40%?Be loyal
Distributors are selling products from other suppliers. This makes them vulnerable if the producers want to go direct to customers or sell through other channels. The nightmare scenario for a distributor is using a year working on a project – and when the customer is convinced – another dealer makes a lower bid and gets the order without doing a thing.
Be very clear about territories and which customers belong to the dealer. Always stick to your policies – even when the end user wants to buy direct and the margin can be tempting. You only have to go around your dealer once – and word will be out with all of your dealers and potential customers. Motivation to promote your products will be close to zero0.Be long term
As a new exporterexporter, you will almost certainly not make a profit from your efforts the first year.
You may have the world’s best products or a super cost benefit. But when the local producer has been in the market for 50 years, and you just started, it will take more than 12 months to change habits and relations, and especially to make the customers feel safe. In the B2tB world, security of supply is more important than anything and will often outweigh any USP you are able to offer
So – be in the market for the long haul and show it to distributors and end users. After your second exhibition, the more conservative customers will start realizing that it might be worth taking a look at what you are offering – if it seems you are there to stay.

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