Support services for internationalisation are becoming more and more complete, adapted to the professionals who require them and to the projects to which they are applied. They are mainly demanded by:
- Management teams
- Sales teams
- Purchase teams
- Marketing departments
Managers can manage their companies by integrating an export department into the company structure, or they can manage their international operations from the national sales department. This second option is valid at the beginning of the internationalisation of the company, or in the case that the company only carries out specific operations with other countries. Subsequently, the demands of users in other markets, whether customers or suppliers, will increase over time, requiring more and more resources and training for employees, a set of factors that will lead to a reconsideration of the structure by the company’s management. Any manager can find attractive opportunities in other markets, which may be of interest to him or her. For example, a production manager interested in expanding knowledge of technology or improving a production process, a sales manager interested in increasing sales by prospecting new markets, or a purchasing manager interested in reducing costs by identifying a foreign supplier. Managers can demand these support services at the beginning on an ad hoc basis, they can give them the option of using them as a tool for the sales teams they are in charge of, or they can outsource the entire export department.
In terms of sales teams, there are two possible realities. Either they are a sales force with the necessary training in international trade and languages, or they have limited training in procedures or language skills. In the first case, these are teams whose success in developing the company’s internationalisation strategy has not been accompanied by an increase in personnel and who therefore feel overwhelmed with responsibility and, let’s say, cannot coordinate such a volume of work without external support. For example, an export salesperson who is responsible for 20 markets. Even if he/she is an excellent professional and speaks the necessary languages, he/she will predictably not have the time to organise his/her annual trade missions for such a large number of markets. To this factor, it should be added that most of these professionals also attend international trade fairs and events, where they invest a great deal of time and where multiple commercial opportunities arise, which require allocating the necessary time and dedication to exploit them.
Finally, the marketing team may be interested in adapting their site to new markets where the sales department has already started to operate. This is a natural evolution, as users in these markets will ask the company to adjust the website so that users in these markets can access company information, product descriptions or components and product features. Also, as the company’s international distribution network develops, all foreign business partners will claim their right to access the distributor or supplier area. This will facilitate the work for both parties and avoid a large number of queries that can be solved on the web in a matter of seconds. Therefore, this department will often use external support services to adapt its brands and product lines to foreign markets, including creating the website itself, translating the content or enabling enquiry and ordering functions from foreign markets.