B2B sector means the wide range of problems: targeting the wide cross-border audience; doing business inside of various cultures, traditions, according to different laws; co-operation with the international logistics’ companies and other counterparts; creating marketing campaigns and many others. There are, at least, 5 reasons don’t be afraid of these difficulties and start to think about international B2B marketing.
Working on international market is the first prerogative of B2B sector. To target the foreign markets is the main aim for b2b companies’ CEOs. International market is a b2b ‘dream’ from the one hand and brings a lot of difficulties from the other hand. What to choose: doing business at home or look more widely?
‘To b2b or not b2b’, fear number 1 – will our products/services be claimed on the international market?
An answer is yes, they will be. It depends on target market, external (policy, export-import retractions) and internal (solvent demand, total and branch economic activity) conditions and the quality of goods or services we are going to offer business sector in that country.
If you are searching the commodity markets for raw materials, your target is the high industrial countries or/and the countries there natural bowels are poor. If you specialize on general industrial equipment set your sights on developing countries. Besides, this equipment or raw materials can be a production link, as the woodworking machinery for furniture manufacture or iron and steel for hardware manufacture.
Considering that the market you plan to target will meet your occurrence as a miracle is myopia. A competitive environment pushes the companies to improve the quality, good services, creativity and all the promises you’ve given. But there is also a chance of success.
‘Where fear’, number 2 – where should we search for the customers and business partners?
On the Internet, by using searching engines; industrial forums; Internatiuonal B2B electronic marketplaces, such as B2B-Club.ru; corporate web site promotions; direct mailing.
In more details about B2B marketplaces. New Internet services are useful because of the number of new contacts and purchases they bring. But the main one is to understand clearly which one will work and which one won’t. Not to waste corporate budget for nothing use the portals, forums and marketplaces which were checked up by other members. B2B marketplace doesn’t need to pay for simple registration form or waste the time for monitoring and researching. The main advantage of such marketplaces is diversified sphere: suppliers, customers, carriers, consultancies agencies are situated on the same website. It is also a chance to learn an experience of the counterparts across the countries and continents.
Direct emailing can be used as a resource to build a customers’ database on information you will get. Names of the local companies who can be interested in goods or services you offer; their portfolio; turnover (if it’s possible); existing suppliers or customers; contact names. Keep business emails simple and personal. If you’ve found these contacts using simple searching engines (not placed on b2b electronic marketplaces by their self) be ready communication’s process will be slow and be patient.
Promote own corporate web site in order to be found by potential international partners. It is a real opportunity to get new business contacts.
Printing press can be useful too, but only after you ‘come in’ and have an experience at the new market. Despite the Internet is a huge and the main one, local communications channels, such as highly specialized press or serious business editions become a competitive advantage for foreign players. International B2B marketing will be much more successful by connecting together offline and online approaches.
Before targeting an international (or even local) market think first of the business sector with whom you try to communicate. B2B marketing needs to be direct and attentive.
‘How’, number 3 – We know nothing about: taxations, export-import laws, such as existing restrictions or/and quota size.
There is a wide range of business services: law, consulting, design, financial services, researching agencies, even labors and employment and many others. To target an international market you need to be open for new knowledge, new contact, for any information you get.
‘Language fear’, number 4. Do you speak English? Yes, you do (if you read this article). Do they speak English? Yes, and not only English, but also German, French, Spanish and local one. We are speaking about B2B sector; it means every company has English-speaking members (in sales and purchasing department, international communications and marketing department). In a case of long-term co-operation and/or huge volumes of turnover, your future partners may need to “learn” your native language, at least, 1 or 2 corporate translators.
English is the most popular business language in the world. Translation mistakes might cause a damage, you just need to be attentive and have an experienced team of interpreters. Language is not an obstacle on b2b markets, but some of the internal rules stipulate that the campaigns, information, contracts need to be produced in the official language of the country you come in. So, you will also need to use local language (equipment descriptions, marketing communications, basic phrases for business dialogue and others).
Fear number 5 – What if not?
Believe in your success. Without confidence and aiming at high results – you won’t have a place on international market, both on b2b and b2c. Work hard and be patient. And remember, that even the most successful company and marketing program can always improve the results and to strengthen market position.
Nothing is impossible. New market means new opportunities.