How to Sell in Emerging Markets

New markets can be full of potential when it comes to rapid maximizing revenue sources, but it should not be forgotten that each market is different and has its own set of unique challenges. Failure to even try to develop an understanding of the market’s local customer base is a surefire way to trip over the aforementioned hurdles. In order to break into emerging markets and maximize its full potential, sales executives should learn how to think like a local.

One of the major mistakes committed by multinationals is to use strategies that were developed for their home markets, without making any modifications. On the other hand, local players don’t always understand just the amount of resources and speed needed to match market needs on a global scale.

There are currently three imperatives that must be kept in mind by sellers who wish to accelerate growth in emerging markets:

Get on the ground

One key characteristic of emerging markets that make it difficult for multinationals is the fact that hard data on customers and the local market can be difficult to obtain. While large corporations can divert a large amount of funds into data sources and expert consultants, the best results in data gathering will still come from getting a firsthand sense of how the local markets work, and this can only be done by visiting resellers and local areas.

A ground level understanding, powered by substantial business ethnography, will also give sales leader a chance to respond to market changes rapidly or at least see the market’s direction well in advance, so that they can make preparations.

Over-invest in the right partners

In fully developed markets, investing in partners is fairly straightforward because the market has matured enough that there are already many capable potential partners, and searching for the right one is easy and carries very little risk.

The opposite is true for emerging markets, as finding a capable partner requires strategic thinking and a lot of effort. Therefore, partners in emerging market should be treated as long term ones. This means if you finally find the right partner in an emerging market, you need to take care of the relationship and invest for the long haul.

Hire and build talent for the long haul

Similar to the case with partners, talent is abundant in developed markets and competition among workers is aggressive, so finding ones is not that difficult, nor is replacing lost talent. In an emerging market, however, skilled individuals is often scarcer. So you have to invest in getting the best talent, or hire raw talent then train them to their full potential. Regardless of which path you choose to take, you need to approach talent while considering them as long term ones.

Training is not always enough, though. Multinationals who want to succeed in emerging markets must also adapt the organization to the local situation if it will result in the talent performing better due to familiarity. It will also help build stronger relationships with talent, so that they don’t leave the company and take their skills and knowledge somewhere else.

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