How to succeed and win deals in Asia?
- Podcast – Manufacturing in Malaysia – Volker Friedrich - June 17, 2020
- How to succeed and win deals in Asia? Part 4: Solutions to Sales Channels Development. - March 3, 2020
- How to succeed and win deals in Asia? Part 3: Channel Sales Challenges. - February 21, 2020
”We have the best possible partner in this market, it is one of the biggest players in the business and is operating across Asia. However, no sales have materialized so far.” Does this statement sound familiar to you?
For us at Asian Insiders this is very often the starting point with our new clients; a new channel partner has been found, but the sales performance remains below expectations. Channel sales is always challenging, but there are several best practices and working methods we would like to share with you. The main challenge in channel sales is to win deals in Asia with your partners. Finding partners is actually a lot easier.
This is the first blog article in a series of four, so please stay connected with us to learn more! One of the biggest benefits of being a consultant in this business comes from continuous learning. We learn every day together with our clients.
It is actually quite remarkable to notice, that the steps a company has to take to become successful in Asia are pretty much the same regardless of what products or services we are talking about. We at Asian Insiders wish to leverage our learnings and experiences with our clients as the only thing we are interested in, is creating success and a positive impact on our clients’ business.
Validating your market match
But before going into the challenges of channel sales, let’s take a few steps backward. I would like to start by sharing my thoughts about two important questions:
1. Is Asia a good place to do business for your products or services?
2. Where in Asia the conditions for good business for your products or services are the most attractive?
There are multiple ways to respond to both questions. Some of them as more fact-based and some are more, shall I say intuition-based.
The good news here is this: you don’t have to guess. The suitability and competitiveness of your offering can be verified in a systematic way and the markets can be ranked in terms of market potential and attractiveness for your products exactly and not from the point of view of any general macro-economic data.
Many Asian countries have been at the top of the fastest-growing economies of the world for a few decades by now. ASEAN is at the moment the fastest-growing region in the world.
Yet there are many companies in Europe and North America wondering or hesitating should they enter Asian markets or not or the business with Asian customers has been sporadic or random at best. Focus is very often in the nearby markets, where the perceived risks are believed to be more under control.
Some companies don’t have Asia in their strategy for the sake of focusing their scarce resources on their core markets, which often are located within the same geography, say Europe. The key question however is, that for how long can an internationally operating company stay away from the fastest-growing markets of the world?
We at Asian Insiders are calling for professional curiosity and open-minded thinking at companies’ top management. Like I mentioned before, you don’t have to guess or wonder if some markets in Asia are suitable for your company.
Your opportunity can be systematically verified before you need to commit to any substantial market entry investments. By doing the right things right you can increase your chances to win deals and new business in Asian markets.
Let me present for you one real case example and for the sake of confidentiality without any names.
The company in question is a leading European manufacturer of devices and equipment for environmental protection and energy efficiency business. The company operates globally including Asia. However, in this particular case, the targeted customer segment was outside the company’s own core business.
External sales channel was required to reach its customer base. When we met this company for the first time their management was quite doubtful if Asia would be the right market area for them in the first place. In one of the target markets, the company had tried twice to appoint a distributor to represent them, but in both cases, they had failed completely.
Consequently, there were a lot of doubts about the market potential and if there was a good market match for their products at all in this country. Based on our own experience in this industry sector, we strongly believed this could be a really good market for our client and later on, we started a systematic cooperation to enter this market successfully.
The first phase of the project was a Market Test Drive ( more info here: https://asianinsiders.com/service/asian-market-expansion/), which is one of Asian Insiders’ service concepts. The key component of this service is joint end-customer visits.
Altogether some 12 high-value visits to the most interesting potential end-customer companies were arranged. As a pre-work, an attractive value proposition was designed highlighting the tangible benefits for the customer.
This value proposition was then used in the context of the visits together with a questionnaire, which was based on the Market Test Drive methodology.
To cut the long story short the key outcome of the work was really positive. The market opportunity was verified to be very attractive and the suitability of the product for this market excellent.
The addressable market size was also estimated with fairly reliable accuracy and can be categorized by the word “substantial”. The project then continued to the channel development phase.
This case highlights one of the key principles of Asian Insiders’ way of working: we work in very close cooperation with our clients. We go together to meet our clients’ potential customers.
In Asia, it is quite challenging to organize meetings with potential customers without your own contacts in the market. Thanks to our local presence and vast experience from all main markets, we are usually able to open pretty much any door required. We have the tested methodologies and local networks and of course, our clients know their own business and products better than anybody else.
By working together, we can achieve excellent results.
In the next article, we will discuss how to find and choose the best markets in Asia. To this question, there are no standard answers.