Imagine a map showing where your company’s customers are located. What spots light up? Are your sales all clustered domestically, or just within a few neighboring countries? Or does your company have customers across the globe? Depending on how you’ve approached sales up until this moment, you may have been unnecessarily restricting your audience by failing to account for international buyers’ needs.
Many of the changes that need to happen to expand your company’s reach into the international market are so basic, it’s amazing they’ve gone overlooked for so long – small steps like converting measurements from English to metric units or offering appropriate cords and adapters for international power standards. You can make these changes almost overnight.
In other cases, however, international clients may have needs that are harder to account for, such as local safety regulations. These can seem like troublesome hurdles, but your company’s sales potential grows exponentially when you reach beyond your national borders.
Is your company ready to start making international sales? Here are five steps you’ll need to take to start and how iQuoteXpress’s CPQ software can help.
Consider the Need
Before you take steps to adapt your sales materials and products to an international audience, take some time to determine whether or not this step makes sense. Does your product fulfill a common need that isn’t already met by local suppliers? Can you meet this need at a competitive price? And can you efficiently manufacture and ship your product on a global scale?
If you can’t answer yes to those three questions, then you aren’t well positioned to enter the international market. Price is often the sticking point in this regard, especially if you’re manufacturing your product in the United States, where labor costs tend to be higher. Don’t feel that you need to compromise on quality or change where you make your product in order to meet international price demands. It may not be time for your company to expand yet.
However, if you’re selling an innovative product to a wide-open field and you see no barrier to international sales, then it’s time to take the next step.
The Simple Steps: Unit Conversions
The first thing you’ll need to do in order to put your product on the radar in other countries is make sure that all of your measurements and prices are converted into local units. For dimensions and weights, this is easy; nearly every other country uses metric units, so once you’ve converted these values and added them to your catalog, they’ll automatically be part of all your CPQ-generated proposals. This is just one of the many ways CPQ software can help you develop your distribution channels.
Pricing is a little more difficult to convert, simply because conversion rates vary with the fluctuation of international economies. You’ll likely need to work with a financial advisor to pin down the right values for each country. It’s important to find the right person for this job, since improper pricing can damage your company’s revenue.
Engineering And Design Factors
One of the most challenging steps your company will have with taking products international is redesigning certain structural aspects of your product. If your product relies on electricity, for example, you’ll need it to use the right voltage and cycles for other countries, as electrical systems vary.
You may also need to change certain materials based on local climactic conditions, like dust or humidity that are likely to damage the product as it’s currently manufactured. When you make these types of alterations, be sure to document them. You may find it necessary to add a section for international proposals to your CPQ templates where such details can be documented for buyers.
Another common design concern in the international sales arena is packaging. Different types of packaging appeal in different countries, so if you display your product in its packaging through your online catalog, you may want to take photos of the new packaging or remove those images if they’re immaterial to your overall marketing. Designers who specialize in product packaging can help you identify the best ways to present your product to a new audience.
Learn the Key Regulations
There are many laws and local regulations that control international markets, including environmental regulations – many of which are more stringent internationally than in the United States – and laws intended to protect local markets. Many companies also regulate the use of common chemicals used in American toiletries and cosmetics, so be mindful of these rules. Spend plenty of time researching these regulations, so that you’re familiar with what concerns different international markets may raise as you work to sell your products to new audiences.
The World Trade Organization has been actively working to reduce barriers to international sales and trade through the removal of tariffs and duties, but you shouldn’t assume that these no longer apply. Instead, consult with the proper governance bodies to learn what laws remain in effect. NAFTA, for example, makes it easy for American companies to participate in economic exchange with Canada and Mexico, but the laws change as you cross borders further away.
Listen To Your Audience
As you work to finalize your product for international sale, be sure to listen to any preemptive feedback from interested parties. Clients abroad may be able to suggest culturally relevant changes that will make your product more appealing in their area, and this will help you get off on the right foot. Don’t blunder through your first months of international sales, but instead open communication channels in advance so that your product is market ready.
Sell Internationally With iQuoteXpress
Whether your company is focused on sales at home or abroad, iQuoteXpress offers the tools you need to streamline the proposal process, cut costs, and grow your business. That’s because our CPQ software is all about integration and consistency, helping you present all necessary information clearly to your customers; we cover everything from your catalog to the final sales approvals.
To see how our CPQ software can benefit your business, contact iQuoteXpress today to schedule a product demonstration. Once you see how smoothly your company can operate with our program, you’ll never do business the same way again – we guarantee it.