OK, so you have determined that investing in a new market is the right way to move your company forward. And you have determined which is the best market segment to focus on. The next challenge is determining how you actually get into that market, in other words what is your market entry plan? Your market entry plan is going to be highly situational and will depend on the resources you were able to allocate to the venture. But in general, these are the main considerations to think about as you put your plan together:
1. Will your market be driven by consumer pull or will it need creation and market push?
2. How will you connect with your target buyers? Will you sell directly, sell through intermediaries, sell through partnerships, or create bundles with established players?
3. What is the buying process that your typical customer will go through? Will it be a simple purchase order, credit card, standing offer, blanket order, multiple presentations, or pilot testing?
4. Is your market strategy based on low price and high volume, or is it based on high price and low volume?
5. What is the pricing structure that the new market is looking for? Is it a single purchase price, rental, leasing, or subscription?
6. How long is the typical sales cycle? Is this an impulse purchase, or two-year tender-driven process?
7. Are there any special security, privacy or confidentiality considerations?
8. What are the logistics requirements needed in order to complete the sale? Funds transfer, shipping, data-access, commissioning, duties and taxes?
9. What are the post-sale requirements? Training, repair, integration, warranty, recycling, upgrades, add-ons?
10. What are the staffing implications? Sales, channel support, marketing communications, language skills, 24-hour coverage, warehousing, customer support, training?
Every situation will be different but most of the above will apply in some ways to any firm entering a new vertical or new geographic market. I've seen market entry fall apart due to lack of customer support in different time zones, I've also seen problems where companies apply the same sales channel approach as they've used in other markets. Without a doubt, a bottom-up plan using the checklist above will help you to identify what's different and, what may be missing as you enter the new market.
As always, I am here to help.