When expanding a brand to new markets, large enterprises have a lot of challenges that too often are only realized after the fact. This is especially true for building materials manufacturers hoping to compete abroad.
Some of those challenges include:
- Competing with homegrown companies while coming across as authentic to the target market.
- Fitting into the culture of regional business ecosystems, which includes establishing channels between sales representatives and networks of local distributors and dealers.
- Translating, publishing, and distributing hundreds or thousands of documents to the right personnel, whether they be internal reps or new local customers.
None of the above is easy. A Harvard Business Review study of 20,000 companies across 30 countries found that companies selling abroad had an average Return on Assets (ROA) — a measure of how well a business turns a profit via balance sheet management — of negative 1%, as many as 5 years after their move.
Simply put, most businesses, including most building product companies, fail when expanding internationally.
It can be done, however. Establishing your brand’s presence in a new region will take a systematic, well-thought-out, daring approach. From there, you need to be both credible and agile in communications with retailers, distributors, and end consumers.
Here, we’ll explain why modern tech tools are crucial to meeting these goals. Then, we’ll explore 2 of the biggest challenges to overcome in sales and product communication as your brand takes new ground overseas.
Why Are Modern Tech Tools Crucial for Enterprise Building Product Manufacturers?
It’s nearly impossible to gain an edge as a homegrown building materials company in the U.S. without using today’s enterprise marketing, sales, customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence tools to manage your data and build a solid communications system.
Those difficulties don’t get any easier as an international brand.
It’s essential to choose the right tech to get ahead in overseas markets. Here are three big factors to keep in mind:
Tech tools built to enable scalability will allow you to vastly grow in reach and impact without actually degrading your communications.
Merit Group cites the example of Salesforce. Not only is this customer relationship management (CRM) software the type of scale-enabling technology that global brands rely on…but the business behind it was built on the principle of scalability from the get-go.
The software giant’s decisions to leverage a SaaS model, and to give the first few users at a company free access to garner buy-in from managers and the C-suite, played a major role in their success.
Another key to success is staying relevant wherever you sell your products. That means doing a lot of homework.
It’s key to learn the local consumer culture, as well as the specific ways in which buyers come to purchase from, trust, and become loyal to brands. This includes creating and sharing marketing collateral and other product communications in the local language.
Thriving homegrown businesses in the regions you’re targeting have an advantage: they already speak the language and understand the market.
Winning will mean understanding what those businesses are doing right, and offering something different while still meeting and exceeding local buyers’ expectations.
A U.S. enterprise brand that’s handling all three aspects of global expansion well, aided by premium sales and communications tech, is the prominent chemical and industrial product supplier Sika.
Sika needed a scalable state-of-the-art distributor and sales rep locator solution that would be easy for customers to access and use in any geographic region. It also needed to integrate seamlessly with Salesforce, their CRM of choice.
As it turns out, the Bullseye Locator Software met their needs perfectly. By leveraging a custom locator that can point prospects to territory-based sales reps (rather than only enabling customers to search by location), Sika was able to connect with high-intent buyers fast.
Sika met all three requirements of an expanding global brand by using scale-friendly tech, staying relevant to motivated buyers, and cutting through local competition with flexible locator functionality.
Your building materials brand can do the same with a robust tech stack!
A strong locator solution that facilitates customer engagement and sales, as well as a digital asset management (DAM) system that enables efficient distribution of sales collateral, product information, and other assets in your target country’s language, will help your overseas operations succeed.
2 Major Challenges That Global Building Materials Manufacturers Can Overcome with the Right Tech
Technology makes everything easier when scaling a global brand. For global building product manufacturers in particular, there are 2 challenges that the tech solution must meet for stability and enduring success:
#1: Gain Insight Into Customers While Showing Them How to Buy
You’ll need to establish visibility on both sides of the sale — meaning that your customers know how to buy, and you know who those customers are — to endure as an international brand.
For the first part, showing customers how to obtain your products, you’ll want a robust dealer, distributor, or sales rep locator.
It should allow customers to search by location, or provide options for the closest sales rep who can give them the answers they need. It should work seamlessly, no matter how many new regions your brand moves into, and no matter where in the world your buyers are.
If you want all these benefits and more, consider Bullseye’s enterprise locator solutions.
Here are some features that make Bullseye your perfect partner in establishing the kind of two-way visibility that can help your brand thrive abroad:
A range of possibilities for search. With Bullseye, you’ll have an on-brand locator you can fully customize for each country you do business in. With the wide range of geographic search options Bullseye supports, prospects can search using postal codes, addresses, or other ways that make sense to them.
Robust language support. Whether through auto-detection culture settings, query string parameters, or a drop-down language menu, Bullseye supports over 100 languages. There’s support out of the box for translating search categories, addresses, and other key labels and terms that matter to your business: both for customers visiting your website, and your internal admin account users.
The ability to cater to different buyer personas. Whether you want to show homeowners where to buy your products locally, or forge connections between distributors or territory-based sales staff in multiple regions with several admin accounts, Bullseye’s enterprise capabilities will meet your specific needs.
The second part of the visibility equation is knowing your customers better. Fortunately, as you leverage an airtight enterprise locator solution like Bullseye, deep awareness of your target market will be a natural byproduct.
Bullseye-built locators allow you to collect inquiries from leads, get to know their specific needs, and serve them with greater efficiency as they proceed along the buyer journey. The platform also enables you to foster strong relationships with distributors and dealers as you drive more business their way.
That can only open the floodgates of regional business intelligence over time.
With an enterprise-level locator solution like Bullseye, you’ll avoid operational bottlenecks with global expansion and emerge as a much smarter, more strategic brand. You’ll discover all the need-to-know intangibles about your target market to make your brand a durable success in every region.
#2: Distribute Content in Multiple Languages in a Scalable Way
When selling your building materials in other countries, you’ll also have to communicate in the native language..
There should be no blind spots here. Every piece of sales and marketing collateral, as well as spec sheets, installation guides, and regional compliance documentation, should have a version in your target market’s language.
Fail to do this, and at best, there will be a major disconnect between your brand and your target market…if your operations can get off the ground at all.
Fortunately, modern solutions for growing enterprises exist. Today’s digital asset management (DAM) tools are built for secure and efficient organization, tracking, and distribution of key materials to end consumers, channel partners, sales reps, and other parties you designate.
Achieving this across multiple regions, in many languages, can seem impossible. However, there’s a leading DAM that will help you get it all done: RevBase.
RevBase’s state-of-the-art features help you meet the unique challenges of doing business abroad by:
Keeping assets and essential product documentation up-to-date in the right languages, across many locations. No matter how many thousands of translated documents your brand has to put out across territories and regions, RevBase can handle them all, enabling near-instant distribution and secure access without buckling under the pressure.
Automatically meeting regional sales reps’ and channel partners’ needs. RevBase can get the right materials to key personnel exactly when needed, while giving you visibility into usage and performance. Users can either download digital items directly, or add print-on-demand items along with delivery locations and quantities to an online “shopping cart.”
Overseeing all product communications and branding for quality control. RevBase lets you review all assets before you release and publish links to final approved versions of assets. Errors and unauthorized changes are minimized, and you’ll have more control over brand communications within each region and to each audience.
As the building blocks of product communication, your documents and marketing assets have to be managed with finesse…especially if they’re expanding and must be produced in multiple languages.
Want to reduce bottlenecks in your asset management while strengthening connections on the ground? Use a tool like RevBase, and benefit from the smoother operational efficiency, sales enablement, and relationship building that will come about as a result.
To Win at International Sales, Bolster Communications and Customer Outreach with Scalable Enterprise Tech
Expanding your brand to another country is a bold undertaking, and not for the faint of heart.
Building material manufacturers will have to face the huge obstacle of communicating in the right languages…while doing so in a relatable way to international channel partners and consumers.
The only way forward is to have the right technology on your side. With that in mind, you can’t do better than the leading software platforms built to support global expansion for building materials manufacturers and other multinational companies: Bullseye and RevBase.
Bullseye allows customers to quickly find out how to buy your products, no matter the country they live in or the language they speak. It will also give you insight into local market realities, as you collect leads through your locator solution and follow up with them.
RevBase, on the other hand, will enable you to distribute and track thousands of documents and assets intended for use in specific geographic regions. It will boost your ability to enable territory-based sales reps and channel partners, while tracking the usage and effectiveness of those assets — which enables you to measure the impact on your bottom line.
To win overseas, you need the right tools at your disposal. If you’re ready to see how Bullseye and RevBase can help, schedule a demo today.