By Gregg Pugmire, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Nexsan
Does this sound familiar? You’re a U.S.-based channel partner trying to close a deal with a large international prospect. You can see the finish line. Then the prospect inquires about your international abilities, and in an attempt to make the sale, you inadvertently oversell your capabilities in other countries — and ultimately lose the deal. Then a large tech vendor with direct sales teams in every region swoops in and secures the win.
If you’re in the channel and tackling international accounts, you’re likely often asking yourself, “How am I supposed to compete with that?”
The answer might lie in taking a closer look at exactly why the HPEs and IBMs of the world are successful here. The natural process for most channel organizations, even those that do have multi-international offices, is to push U.S. experiences and sales strategies in other countries, as this is where the bulk of their expertise lies. Compare that with the big guys’ direct, on-the-ground expertise in every country. How does a sales rep that can speak the local language, adhere to the local customs and make culturally appropriate jokes match up against your capable, yet U.S.-driven team attempting to make the same inroads?
So how can channel organizations accomplish the same thing with smaller U.S.-based teams? Do what you do best: partner.
Since businesses in other countries often don’t work the same way businesses in the U.S. do, rethink your strategy to create a true global network. Forge relationships with local-country partners who can bring the knowledge and flavor of their specific regions to an international deal.
Creating this cross-culture channel model allows partners to work together as an international ecosystem. Bringing together global partners that have an understanding of the same kinds of technology and services, along with locals who understand the culture, creates a symbiotic approach that maximizes results for all involved.
Your suppliers, as well as master agents and distributors, can help make these connections and help you avoid pitfalls. Many are likely already working with the very in-country partners that could help you close an international deal and will likely be more than willing to dive right in to help make the connections, knowing it can only help their businesses grow as well.
And from the perspective of channel organizations in other countries, especially emerging markets, many are very hungry to work with U.S. companies with a channel model, to participate in these kinds of global partner network opportunities. There are plenty of startups as well. So the time is right to work with your full partner ecosystem to make these connections.
Done successfully, this approach can lead to much more than just a few international wins here and there. With an international network of fellow channel organizations you can truly grow your international footprint, expanding sales into new countries at rates you may not have thought possible. At the same time, you’re helping your partners do the same, all while they’re helping you with the orchestration. Again, a win-win-win for all involved.
For years the international business world has operated with a “United States is King” mentality, but globalization is challenging the status quo. In today’s “Skype with China while I hop a plane to Brazil” business environment, it’s no longer enough to be U.S.-centric. Each region has its own unique strengths and strategies that need to be recognized.
Gregg Pugmire joined Nexsan‘s team in 2004 as the executive vice president of business development. Gregg has 25 years of sales and marketing experience in high-tech companies. At Nexsan, he has lead the development of channel and OEM business in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He has also led the product introduction along with the worldwide channel and OEM business development of several of Nexsan’s new products.
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