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Internationalisation: opportunity and strategy

Where does internationalisation come from?. Does opportunity or strategy come first?

Companies often ask me: where does the idea of internationalising sales come from? I reply that it comes from opportunity. We have seen the case of many companies that, without having the objective of selling their products or services in foreign markets, have received an order from another country. In other words, they have been presented with the opportunity to sell beyond their borders.

The company wants to profit this opportunity for expansion. The next step, to bring together the managers of the different departments involved to analyse the feasibility of placing the order. The management does not have a plan of procedure neither a protocol to follow, and need to give a quick response. Haste is the opposite of strategy. This sales operation may be successful, but it is clear that if foreign companies continue to place orders, this will strongly affect the company’s business and it needs to have a plan and an organisation and allocation of resources. In short, a strategy to follow.

It is now when the management meets with the sales department to discuss the internationalisation of its sales and it is at this point that it becomes clear whether the sales team is prepared to carry out an analysis and selection of the most suitable country to export to, or whether, on the contrary, they need to hire the services of an expert to carry out this analysis. As a result, the company will know which country is the most suitable for exporting its products or services and, based on this new objective of internationalisation, the company’s global strategy will be defined. It will be global because all departments will be involved, from purchasing to after-sales service. Thus begins the preparation phase of the company for this enriching experience of making its products and services cross borders.