Wednesday 26 July 2017

SME Advice: Transform your global sales with appliance of science

Claire Minogue, Enterprise Ireland
Claire Minogue, Enterprise Ireland

Claire Minogue

Successful companies, the world over, tend to be founded on a great idea delivered with a great deal of passion. Having achieved some initial success, however, many leaders of Irish companies find they have reached a stage where their international sales hit a ceiling. To grow the business further, they need to increase sales in existing markets, enter new markets or, most likely, do both. From our experience, for a company to successfully scale to this next level, good ideas need to be matched with rigorous commercial discipline.

The International Selling Programme is Enterprise Ireland's proven international sales development programme targeted exclusively at maximising international sales for Irish companies.

With key themes covering internationalisation strategy, leadership skills and sales process, the primary goal is to help companies to succeed by demystifying what it takes to reach targeted goals of increased and diversified sales through good business principles.

This way, international selling is transformed from an art into a carefully calibrated science. It becomes a repeatable and scalable process of intelligence gathering about the market, correctly positioning the company and the product, qualifying the right kinds of prospects to target and understanding why and how these customers ultimately buy.

Developed and delivered by Enterprise Ireland, in association with Dublin Institute of Technology, the programme works directly with Irish companies by bringing world-leading expertise to bear in the development of an international selling strategy.

Participants gain an insider view of internationally proven sales strategies to go beyond familiar export markets. Each module is accompanied by practical, company-specific assignments and, at the end of the programme, sales professionals develop an international sales plan aligned to their company's overall strategy and growth targets.

The programme is about hands-on implementation, as participants are often both developing and executing an international growth plan.

It provides the tools and business advisory support to help participants, in real-time, maximise the potential in their international businesses sales cycle, from defining the value proposition right through to closing sales, tracking performance and rolling out a channel management plan. A business adviser works with each participant to help them understand their own strengths as a sales leader and identify their skill gaps.

The programme includes two workshop days and e-learning modules designed to support new tools and techniques.

It's an excellent opportunity for the participating executives to network and learn from each other. It is designed for CEOs, sales directors and senior-level executives with responsibility for developing new or existing markets in growth-orientated manufacturing and internationally traded services businesses.

Companies should be able to provide evidence of some initial success in developing an international market. Applicants can access information and register at www.enterprise-ireland.com/internationalselling.

Since the programme was established in 2006, over 600 CEOs, managing directors, sales directors and business development executives have completed it.

A mark of its success is the number of companies that sign other colleagues up for the programmes.

Alumni tell us they work more effectively - selling the right products to the right customers at better margins. They are better at analysing opportunities and spending less time chasing up 'deals in the pipeline' that are never going to be won. More science is being applied to the sales process, and, as a result, the business is seeing higher conversion rates.

Claire Minogue is a programme manager with Enterprise Ireland

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