Choosing the right Export Distributor or Broker for your business and its export initiatives is a very important decision that will impact on your export sales, profit and brand building outcomes.
Choose correctly and your new Export Distributor or Broker may well become your next best friend
Make a poor choice and you could be opening yourself up for significant disappointment including:
- Very low or non-existent sales volume
- High levels of promotional expense
- Sales into the wrong type of outlets and retail channels
- Zero brand building
- Months or years of frustration
An earlier article How to tell an Export Distributor from an Importer or a Broker? will provide you with background regarding terminology and descriptions of Export Distributors, Brokers and other Export Sales Partners.
Export Distributor Selection Criteria
Quite often the reason for poor export sales and profit outcomes is not because the Distributor or Broker in question is a poor performer in terms of their own business. Instead it is often because they are a poor strategic fit which could have been identified up front.
Export Distributor or Broker relationships often fail because their core business is a poor fit with the needs of the Australian Exporter in the first place
Enter the concept of developing a list of criteria that you will use to double-check that your prospective Export Distributor or Broker possesses the attributes and resources that you need.
The objective of Export Distributor or Broker Selection Criteria is to generate a checklist of criteria to ensure that your prospective Distributor or Broker has in place all of the necessary resources to help you make sales and grow your brand in the export market that you are targeting.
7 Key Areas of Export Distributor Selection Criteria
When considering Export Distributor or Broker Selection Criteria it makes sense to look at the key areas of your business in which you will need assistance on the ground in your selected export market.
From our experience the following broad areas usually float to the top in terms of importance to Australian exporters. We consider these to be the seven key areas of Export Distributor or Broker Selection Criteria:
- Geographic location
- Existing customer relationships and distribution
- Existing product or service portfolio
- Physical resources such as warehousing and logistics
- Human resources such as sales or technical staff
- Personal factors such as personality and integrity and the ability and passion to focus on a new range of Australian products or services
- Overall brand positioning, image and presence in the selected export marketplace
A poor strategic fit in any of the seven key areas of selection criteria will contribute to stress and/or failure in the Export Distributor or Broker relationship
Previous articles including 5 Keys to your Export Marketing Success and Export Market Research – 3 Things To Know Before You Go may be of use if you need help refining your plan of attack for your Export Marketing initiatives.
If you are the beginning of your Marketing Planning process then our previous article The Baker Marketing: 2014 Marketing Summer School (Part 1) may be a good place to start.
Example Export Distributor or Broker Selection Criteria
For an Export Distributor or Broker Selection Criteria Checklist to be of use when considering individual distributors or brokers it needs to be specific and as tangible and measurable as possible.
The following represent examples of how you could define specific selection criteria for the above seven key areas:
- Must be located within two hours road travel of London
- Must have at least 500 retail customers that are gourmet/specialty style or boutique in nature and have sales distribution in all three regions of Hong Kong (i.e. Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories)
- Must have a range of female skincare products without having a direct Kangaroo Essence Moisturising competitor within portfolio
- Must have access to temperature controlled warehousing and at least three delivery vehicles
- Must have a team of at least seven technically qualified sales representatives who are capable of presenting basic nuclear physics theory
- Must be able to communicate in English both verbally and in writing and be passionate about taking on a new Australian brand
- Must have a brand positioning and image that is in keeping with being a credible operator in the electronics industry
Please note that the above are provided simply as examples of how specific selection criteria may be defined. Each business, product or service category, industry and marketplace will be different. So please invest the time to consider your own requirements in terms of Export Distributor or Broker Selection Criteria.