This past week I had the pleasure of being involved in the Ambition North America conference in Dublin Ireland. The event was organized by Enterprise Ireland with the focus of helping Irish companies to grow their business in North America. The event was held at the Aviva Stadium, the national Rugby and Soccer stadium for Ireland, which made for a great backdrop to the day. I was most interested in the organizations that wanted to grow international sales to Canada. It is a great time for Irish companies to explore Canada with the new Canada-Europe trade agreement.
Enterprise Ireland action packed the agenda with guest speakers, tips from the road, administration considerations around legal and accounting, and vertical breakout sessions. I sat on a panel in the afternoon with a focus on sales planning for North American sales. This was followed up with some smaller break-out sessions. During the day there were a few common threads on the planning for your international sales success.
Do your research
An international sales effort can be expensive and take up valuable company resources. There should be a significant amount of time spent researching target customers, new competitors, resources needed, and the administration needed to support the sales in Canada. The Enterprise Ireland team can support organizations with their international expansion planning.
Pick your vertical
Canada is a large target with many types of organizations. Focusing on a vertical does not mean reducing your opportunity but being able to close more customers faster. The use case or customer problems in verticals can be consistent. Industries can often use different terms, and getting to know how they describe or name the different processes is important. It is much easier to be a subject matter expert equipped with this knowledge. Many times the names of customers from Ireland or Europe are not recognizable in North America. Getting some success within a smaller vertical will mean that other targets recognize your customers.
How are you different
A new market means new competitors and ways of doing things. How is your solution different and better than what is already available? One term that was referenced during the day was: look for the “loose brick” in the wall as you are starting your efforts. Target the companies that best match to the benefits of your effort.
Commit to the effort
There are many ways to have a presence in a new market. It could range from setting up an office to visiting from Ireland. The key is that there is a consistent effort put in. Sales can take time and in a new market, it will often take longer than the home market. Be prepared and commit to it.
Look for partners
One of the ways to grow international sales is to find in-market partners that already have local experience and customers. There are positives and negatives to using a partner versus going direct. There are many situations where using a global partner may be the best fit.
If you are looking for some help with your Canadian market growth please contact me and we can talk about how the help you grow with in-market sales help.