As in every business model, your goal of becoming an exporter should be based on a roadmap that navigates you to go global step by step. To do this, you’ll firstly need an honest self assessment of your organization.
We can only talk about a viable strategy that brings the expected results when your roadmap is designed to align with your goals, capabilities and resources. These are basically 3 major pillars of a solid strategy.
When setting goals, you must be as much specific as you can be.
What exactly do you want?
“I want to be an exporter.” This is vague and lacks an answer to how and to find out “how”, it needs specific sub goals.
Primary goal: “I want exports to make up half of our sales in the next 5 years.”
To support the primary goal, comes the next question: what do we need in order to achieve the primary goal?
- Where are the markets that fit us best?
Do target market research and find the best ones.
- Who is our target audience for each market?
Determine your ideal customers (distributors, wholesalers, producers, direct buyers etc.) and create a potential customers list preferably on a CRM software.
- How do we reach out to our prospects?
Design an export marketing strategy
To give an example:
Find 2000 potential buyers in 2 months.
Specific and measurable: a list of 2000 potential buyers.
Achievable: Change 2000 and put in an achievable number to be listed according to your industry.
Relevant: In order to proceed with your outbound marketing you need to have as many prospects as possible. That you know 10 companies doesn’t mean they will buy from you. The more you find, the better you get the chance of finding your customers.
Time bound: you have 2 months to create the list.
Reach out to 2000 prospects with cold calls and emails for the next 120 work days, pitch your offer and turn 100 of them into marketing qualified.
With a staff of two, the second specific goal is quite achievable and measurable.
Get 10 sales qualified leads from the list in 40 days.
Goal 4 – Inbound Marketing
Increase the traffic of the company website up to [?]% in 6 months.
Goal 5 – Inbound Marketing
Increase the engagement rates of [social media channel] up to [?] % in 6 months.
No need to explore more, you got the point: have a big goal, break down the roadmap into sub goals and track them continuously if it’s going according to the plan. If not, do not immediately change the strategy, just revise the sub goals and tactics in the strategy.
If it still doesn’t work, you certainly either didn’t set smart goals in line with the strategy or your primary goal wasn’t achievable and realistic.
In order to understand that you have set achievable and realistic goals, looking at your capabilities is a good way. If your goals are bigger than you can manage in the present circumstances, then you are risking even your ongoing business.
— Is your production sufficient to meet the criteria and demands of more than one international buyer at the same time?
— As a company, are you capable of carrying out processes from communicating with foreigners, taking orders and keeping your stocks efficient to export documentation and planning of increased production?
— Do you know the international trade processes (Payment terms, Incoterms, contracts, insurance, credits)?
— Are you capable of executing inbound and outbound marketing activities?
That you are producing a great product is not always enough to meet the needs of buyers in your industry.
You could be insufficient in meeting the quality standards, volume of supply, technical support, certification, etc. or vice versa. You could be too big for a buyer and your expenses could be higher than that buyer’s order.
So, finding the perfect “fit” is of great importance.
The third pillar of a strong strategy is having enough resources to support your marketing goals.
— Do you have skilled staff to carry out international marketing, export processes, research and compliance?
— Do you have enough budget allocated to marketing activities, licenses, softwares, intellectual property, patents, personnel, travel planning, international communication expenses, trade shows and whatever your export plan requires?
Now you know;
- What you want. You set your specific goals to support your main goal.
- What needs to be done. You made it clear what you have to do to accomplish each step.
- What it takes to get things done. Finally, everything that is required to implement the strategy and achieve the goals is all out there.
Without a sharp focus, blood, sweat, and tears, there is no reward. First set a realistic goal, focus on the ultimate goal, stick to the plan, persevere and accomplish.