Building a successful export sales organisation

Export Sales Engineering Foto: Gerd Altmann /

The initial meeting

The first step is to get to know each other and to gain mutual trust. We, the company H-LEAD, introduce our concept and methodology of export sales engineering and explain the process flow for the identification and professional implementation of an optimal export sales organisation. On the other hand, you as the customer explain your ideas and expectations about a future marketing of your products in the international market. The aim is to achieve a clear idea for both sides at the end of the discussion of the benefits and advantages of a future cooperation.

Defining goals

Once the cooperation has been agreed, it is important to define and delineate clear and transparent goals at an early stage. Which markets should be addressed and how should they be prioritised? Are all products suitable for export, or is it more effective to focus on a specific product or product group at the beginning? The target definition is set down in writing and the important target parameters, markets, products and time frame are agreed.

Ziele definieren. Foto: piro4d /
Basisanalyse, Foto: Tung Nguyen /

The basic analysis

In this step, all relevant data and information are collected and assessed. This includes the organisation and structure of the company with its set-up and processes. What products are there with the associated features. Depending on the type of product, service can be an essential aspect, which can be a key success factor. What production quantities are produced and what increases can be achieved with what additional effort. Last but not least, how is the current sales organisation set up so far and which markets and products are covered.

Market and potential analysis

Based on this, the potential export market or markets are evaluated with regard to the gained company and product information. What potential does the respective market offer for the existing product range. Are all products suitable? How large is the installed base of comparable products and what is the degree of saturation in the market. How large is the potential market and sales volume. Which competitors are there and how are they positioned? What market shares do they have. Are there barriers to entry such as import taxes. Often there is a geographical clustering for a particular industry due to specific characteristics, which is relevant for the choice of location for a new subsidiary. Are there country-specific requirements for the products that make adaptation necessary.

Marktanalyse. Foto: Gerd Altmann /
Vertriebsstrategie. Foto: ar130405 /

Developing the sales strategy

From the combination of the company structure and product characteristics on the one hand and the analysed market situation on the other, the optimal sales strategy is now developed. First, the product programme is checked for suitability for the target market and possibly adapted. Based on this, the ideal organisational form for the sales organisation and possibly service organisation must be determined. Should it be an own subsidiary or is a cooperation with a trading partner more suitable. These options are methodically examined and analysed in order to provide an optimal basis for the final selection. A strategy for the introduction and development of the sales activities with a corresponding time schedule is developed, which includes the aspects of recruiting qualified personnel, the availability of the infrastructure as well as possible product adaptations in an overall concept.

Presentation of proposal and decision-making

The overall concept of the sales strategy for the export sales to be established is presented and jointly discussed and agreed upon so that the implementation of the sales concept can begin.

Vertriebsstrategie. Foto: Gerd Altmann /
Umsetzung. Foto: Gerd Altmann /

Implementation and introduction of export sales

In accordance with the adopted sales strategy, the corresponding measures for the realisation of export sales are carried out. Depending on the planned distribution channel, the search for a suitable partner or an appropriate location is initiated. A carefully timed search and selection of qualified sales and possibly service staff is initiated. The final selection takes place according to a tried and tested selection procedure which systematically checks the relevant requirements. Once all measures have been completed and the new sales organisation is ready for operation, the staff is trained in detail and qualified for sales.


Even after the new sales organisation has started its sales activities, it continues to be coached for a certain period of time. This measure has proven to be particularly effective, as experience tells that one or the other start-up effect occurs. The new colleagues are supported in all questions and activities. This can take the form of joint customer visits, online support or assistance at customer events or trade fairs. Review meetings are held at regular intervals to identify any need for optimisation at an early stage and to consolidate communication between the head office and the sales organisation. Typically, this support is maintained until the first sales successes are achieved.

Coaching. Foto: Gerd Altmann /