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How to market and expand your B2B business internationally

Let’s face it, we have all erred by launching marketing campaigns without adequate planning. And what occurs? At best, the outcomes are variable. Results aren’t always even measured in these situations. No one in a glasshouse should cast stones, so I won’t either!

But it’s crucial to learn from those errors, especially when exploring new markets. Therefore, a strategy is essential before beginning any marketing activity. Why do I say that? Fundamentally, I imply that you should question your beliefs and confront your preconceptions.

Beliefs and perceptions

You could think you already know this from your current clients, but have you looked into and spoken with “sweet spot” clients in new markets such as the 

Chinese B2B platform? Are they similar to the current customers in terms of demographics? Is their size the same? Do they face the same difficulties or do they face more? What makes them different from others?

A typical error is assuming the market is the same. Even near marketplaces, the supply chain, the way customers buy, who they buy from, and who they trust to serve them differ frequently but significantly.

You can ensure that product-market fit is altered to best position your product for success in that new market by understanding cultural variations like these (and there are many of them).

The B2B market opportunity

What new markets are open to B2B, though? The expansion of B2B exports is anticipated to continue at a significant rate in the upcoming years, according to all the data that is now accessible.

Recent growth has been phenomenal. According to the most recent data, in May 2017, trade exports were $29.4 billion, an astounding 25% (or $5.9 billion) increase from the previous year.

And it wasn’t just a one-month anomaly. Exports rose 23 percent overall in Q1 2017 compared to Q1 2016, and all B2B businesses, big and small, may take advantage of the opportunity.

Without a question, e-commerce will—and in many cases already are—play a significant part in the rise of B2B exports.

According to a significant study conducted by Forrester in 2015, B2B e-commerce would surpass $1.1 trillion and represent over 12 percent, or one in every eight dollars spent in B2B, in the US alone by 2020.

When compared to $690 billion in 2014, that is an increase of 64 percent in just six years. According to the same estimate, the global B2B marketplace industry would be worth close to $7 trillion by 2020, which is more than twice as much as the entire global B2C market.

The digital export possibility for B2B

So now that you know how big the opportunity is, what specifically should B2B export-focused companies be focusing on? For businesses looking to enter new areas, the customer, culture, and market structure have always been a tough nut to crack.

What has changed recently are the enormous technological and communications advancements of the web, and digital marketing gives enormous opportunities as well as enormous obstacles for businesses interested in export growth.

It is essential to have a strategy that works for your business as a whole as well as—and perhaps more importantly—that works for the way your customers prefer to buy when using online marketing.

Contacting potential clients

Before they consent to a demo or meeting, for instance, extra information could be needed. Another is that the sales conversation may need to engage several corporate employees.

The key is having the tools necessary to handle this. Prospects require a prompt and knowledgeable answer. They could want further information, follow-up emails, and phone calls.

A methodical strategy for lead generation

Having systems in place is also vital. How are these leads being acquired? What did they search for, and what is the lead source (organic search, Google, Bing, Facebook, etc.)?

That last query, “What did convert consumers seek?” I believe this was crucial in the early stages of digital lead creation. You may continue to hone and enhance your online success if you can maintain a close working relationship between sales and marketing and receive that kind of focused feedback.

Trade shows

People are sharply divided on this issue since some companies adamantly maintain that a sizable amount of their annual sales are dependent on trade exhibitions.

And that is probably also true: trade exhibitions are crucial for some businesses. However, there are some errors that all new exhibitors consistently make.

Once you realize that, and that the exhibition/entry charges represent a tiny portion of the true costs, which crucially also comprise a significant amount of your valuable sales and marketing team’s time, you will also realize that sales are made before and after the show, not during it.

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