Increasing Sales In Challenging Times, part 2 of 3

Following on from yesterday’s blog post, the second part of Julia Cupman’s 3-part feature on increasing sales in challenging times continues by looking at some of the questions a market entry or market assessment study should help to answer:

There is an obvious requirement for market knowledge and market insight prior to devising a market expansion strategy.  Market research and intelligence should be used to determine the precise nature of the opportunity, the size of the opportunity, and the routes to market.  Many companies turn to market research providers to do this as they are independent and, therefore, unlikely to prejudice the findings.  They also have the expertise in conducting market assessment and market entry research.

Entering a new market is undoubtedly a daunting task.  The following list of questions should assist marketers and their colleagues to explore, scope and define the opportunity in expanding into a new market.

  1.  What are the high-level factors surrounding the target market?  Factors such as the country’s GDP, compound annual growth rate and inflation rate should be noted as they could potentially affect demand.  Other factors, such as the industrial production growth rate, the state of the country’s infrastructure, the overall business climate and the cultural norms associated with business should also be covered in the research as they could affect the decision to enter the market and could influence the nature of the strategy.
  1. What is the purchasing process surrounding the product/service concerned?  It is necessary to understand who is involved in the purchasing decision and how these decision-makers can best be reached.
  1. What are the market’s requirements in purchasing the product/service concerned?  Understanding the market’s requirements is crucial in determining whether the company’s product/service is appropriate for the market.  Key factors influencing the decision should be explored so that the company’s offering can be tailored to suit local demand and to satisfy the market’s needs and wants.  The research should also uncover the market’s unmet needs, offering potential opportunities to be exploited.
  1. What are the challenges?  An understanding of the main challenges faced by buyers and sellers will provide insight into problems and pressures faced in the market from both demand and supply perspectives.
  1. What are the trends?  It is crucial to understand the nature of the demand for the product/service concerned in order to ascertain whether a company’s products are suited to this new market.  Current and future demand should be explored in terms of how demand is predicted to change in the short, medium and long terms.  The research should provide a clear indication of the trends per market segment, per type of product or service, and per geographical region, as well as trends in international collaboration, mergers and acquisitions.
  1. What are the influences on the market?  The political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, legislative and environmental forces on the market should be examined in order to obtain a thorough understanding of the business environment, and to understand who is influencing the market and what power they have.

This article concludes tomorrow.

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