How Do International Business Managers Adapt Sales Strategies for Foreign Markets?


    How Do International Business Managers Adapt Sales Strategies for Foreign Markets?

    In the global marketplace, adapting sales strategies is crucial for success. We've gathered insights from CEOs and International Account Managers on this topic. From shifting to relationship-based selling to learning the local language and building rapport, explore six experiences these professionals have shared about tailoring their sales approach to foreign markets.

    • Shift to Relationship-Based Selling
    • Patience and Cultural Empathy in Sales
    • Conduct In-Depth Market Research
    • Integrate Local Traditions with Offerings
    • Hire Multilingual Copywriters
    • Learn Local Language and Build Rapport

    Shift to Relationship-Based Selling

    Adapting to foreign markets is an integral part of our overall approach at Messente. One of our most memorable experiences was our entry into Southeast Asian markets, where the variety of languages and nuances of culture significantly impact consumer behavior and communication preferences.

    In Europe, we were more direct and formal in our approach. We relied heavily on our platform’s resilience and security as key selling points. In Southeast Asia, however, we quickly learned that relationships and trust are more important for business decisions.

    To adapt, we changed our sales approach to focus on long-term relationships rather than short-term sales. This meant investing time to understand local business culture, build local relationships, and adjust our messaging to focus more on relationships and tailor it to each market.

    As a result, engagement and market presence increased significantly. This experience highlighted the need for flexibility and local market knowledge in our global growth strategy. It also highlighted the fact that there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach in international business. Success is often a matter of listening, learning, and adapting.

    Uku Tomikas
    Uku TomikasCEO, Messente

    Patience and Cultural Empathy in Sales

    Research your market; what sells in your market might not be what sells in theirs. Communicate your value and use the right tone and cultural awareness to deliver it. The hourglass is not always the same in foreign markets. Be patient; I cannot emphasize it enough: be patient. Cultural empathy is invaluable. Try to understand their perspective. Often, a gentle approach works best. Prepare to be led rather than to lead. A sense of humor is vital, especially after much effort, when you need to start the process again from the very beginning.

    Rachel PeckoverInternational Account Manager, American Society for Microbiology

    Conduct In-Depth Market Research

    Adapting sales strategies to the specific needs of foreign markets is one of the keys to success. One of the most vivid examples is when we started expanding into Southeast Asia.

    Even though TP-Link was known worldwide, we found it challenging to compete in markets like Indonesia and Thailand, where consumers' buying habits were very different from those of our traditional markets.

    To address this, we conducted in-depth market research to gain insight into local customer needs and trends. We found that while affordability is essential, customers also value personalized customer service.

    With this knowledge, we adapted our sales strategy by working with local retailers that had built relationships in their local communities.

    In addition, we adapted our marketing strategies to meet the needs of Southeast Asian consumers, focusing not only on the quality of our products but also on their affordability and dependability. This meant adapting our messaging to the local culture and preferences.

    As a result of these changes, we saw significant growth in market share and brand affinity in the area. By staying adaptable and responding to the requirements of overseas markets, we have strengthened our position as a preferred Wi-Fi service provider, even in very competitive markets.

    Laviet Joaquin
    Laviet JoaquinMarketing Head, TP-Link

    Integrate Local Traditions with Offerings

    When expanding LoveNTouch Handicraft LLC internationally, the key was not just to sell but to connect. We adapted by integrating local traditions with our offerings, creating a fusion that celebrated both the new culture and our rich Indian heritage. This strategy opened doors to meaningful dialogues with our customers, transforming each sale into an exchange of cultures. This approach didn't just increase our sales; it turned our products into bridges between worlds, enriching our brand's global narrative.

    Nidhi Sood Ruperee
    Nidhi Sood RupereePartner, LoveNTouch Handicraft LLC

    Hire Multilingual Copywriters

    When embarking on our foreign market expansion strategy, we faced a huge obstacle in terms of language barriers in the countries we wanted to roll out our tracking service. While we could have simply used automated translation tools, we understood that some of these tools don't understand the nuances of the local languages. We hired multilingual copywriters and translators to help with our sales scripts, marketing, and web content. The project was a success, and TrackingMore can now relay tracking results in up to 14 languages. We've also expanded our tracking service to Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia.

    Clooney Wang
    Clooney WangCEO, TrackingMore

    Learn Local Language and Build Rapport

    One of the main strategies I use is learning the little things about the market and the people. It has helped me big-time traverse the hardships of getting into a new niche market. Also, speaking their language. It may not be the easiest, but they love it when you try. Similarly, deal or not, keeping a nice rapport with them will be a good seed to sow for the future. I am still learning, and sales excite me every day.

    Anisha Shabnam
    Anisha ShabnamBusiness development manager