Managing Overseas Distributors. When Three’s NOT A Crowd

‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd’
English language idiom

 

I was recently talking to a colleague about managing overseas business relationships. I shared some of my experiences managing different distributors, both in the same country and overseas, which she found interesting. Naturally, these delivered varying levels of success, but here’s how I tried to do things.

I was employed to manage and generate sales, so I didn’t leave it to my distributors to do this all by themselves. The saying goes ‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd’ I like to have a three-way working relationship, that looked something like this:
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Creating Demand On A (Non-existent) Budget

 

Building a brand in a new territory takes more than just finding a distribution partner, sending a price list and waiting for the orders to roll in. You need to do some work to create demand, both with the end-user of the product (consumers) and with those that will help you get your products or services to market (distributors/retailers). I see this as the work of the Sales Manager, rather than relying on distribution partners.
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