This blog post will be of interest to any company that has identified a new, non-local, market for your products or services.
You’re export-ready, and researching the best ways to reach buyers in a market where you don’t have a physical presence.
Right here in Atlantic Canada, we have many companies that are successfully selling their products and services across the country and across the border. In some cases it’s a matter of necessity, in others it’s about growth.
“You can be an SME in New Brunswick and the world is your market.” – Amanda Neadow, Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters (Tweet This)
As part of your journey towards selling to new markets your company will need a plan for reaching buyers. But, don’t let “how will we sell there if our offices are here” be a roadblock. It’s the 21st century, this hasn’t stopped countless other companies from selling beyond our borders, and it shouldn’t stop yours.
So let’s talk about the options, from a marketing perspective.
Depending on your industry, a traditional approach to generating leads and sales would include attending trade shows, advertising, hiring sales reps, expanding the territories of existing sales reps, Yellow Pages ads, and so on.
The problem with a traditional-only approach is that it fails to accommodate an important facet of modern buyer behavior. The fact that, as I’ll show below, a majority of 21st century buyers are turning to digital sources to search for vendors, and conduct pre-purchase research.
The company that fails to meet these buyers where they are is going to have increasing difficulty with growth as the trend towards online search and research increases.
I’d never suggest that a company should halt all their traditional advertising and marketing efforts and move 100% to digital…it’s more about having the right mix, and focusing efforts where you see the best ROI. In other words – taking a results-focused approach versus a “this is what we’ve always done” approach.
Here is what we know about modern buyers:
- 65% of business buyers begin their solution research online. (DemandGen, 2014)
- 89% of consumers surveyed use Internet search engines to make purchasing decisions. (Fleishman-Hillard and Harris Interactive, 2012)
- B2B buyers find 70% of the content they read and study before making a purchase decision (using search, communities, discussion forums, websites, and blogs), rather than receiving it from marketing or sales. (Forrester.com, 2013)
- 46% of business buyers create a short list of potential vendors before their first contact with a sales rep. (DemandGen, 2014)
Fortunately for companies that sell beyond their local region, a properly executed online strategy will ensure you’re found by buyers across the country, and even across the border.
What this looks like, as well as success stories of successful companies, is explained in more depth in our free white paper: “Selling to New Markets: How Expanding Companies Can Generate Awareness and Leads“.