Export travels online is the title of a training course organized by Punto Confindustria which will begin on June 24th. I am one of the speakers together with my colleague, Claudia Zarabara.

I have always been an advocate for the importance of having priority markets to focus on. I have seen many small businesses shoot proposals off wildly in every direction in the hopes of landing a client, with the end result of not having a significant presence in any market. Today it is in fact necessary to invest more time and resources towards the collection of results; think about the costs of trade fairs and business trips, for example. However, these two activities are currently frozen. This, therefore, opens up a new scenario: our salespeople forced into their own offices where – in addition to maintaining contacts with existing customers, of course – they can also explore new markets. Without big investments.

Obviously, the place to do this scouting activity is online; what is less obvious is how to carry out these activities. Hence the idea of ​​this course. Here are some of the key elements I will cover:

  1. First of all we start with a ranking of the most attractive markets for my products, focusing on those where we are not yet present.
  2. Then the competitors in that market are analyzed; something we always do too little of! We must study both their physical presence (local offices, distributors or agents) but also through various digital marketplaces; something that today is increasingly important, even in b2b.
  3. In the third step, we are going to build a list of contacts in these markets. Maybe we will use the occasion to also test a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) program. If you have never used this tool I suggest Teamleader; by clicking this link you can test it for 2 weeks at no cost.
  4. Then we will make a small investment by preparing the material needed for an initial approach, all translated into the languages of these new markets: email, company profile, a landing page of our site, a company page on LinkedIn, etc. In this phase we will also evaluate the presence on one or more of the marketplaces that are most frequented by my competitors.
  5. Finally the operational phase. With 3 simple tools we will initiate a first contact: email, phone calls and through digital channels (such as LinkedIn).

We mustn’t neglect to also consider entry through a Resident Export Manager. It does have a cost, but if we find the right professional it has many advantages: in addition to linguistic and cultural mediation, you can physically visit potential customers/distributors. In 10 years of activity I have built a good network in many markets.

We obviously don’t expect everything to be easy! But the better we have set up our showcase (point 4), the more likely we are to succeed. As the saying goes, “you never have a second chance to make a good first impression”.

If you want to deepen these themes you can read my book EXPORTING IN 7 STEPS.