The world is smaller than ever, and opportunities to expand into global markets are hot…but not exactly simple. Not only are you having to adapt your organization to new geos, but you have to make sure your partners are in lock step with you, too. That’s a big lift. Here are a few tips to make that lift lighter. Remember, according to Gartner research, while 70% of tech CEOs have some experience with international market expansion, many of their management teams do not. Partners, however, know local markets in and out, so take advantage of them. Here’s how.

Thorough Market Research and Segmentation

We all know that knowledge is power, so when it comes to your channel, you have to go beyond just investigating whether or not there’s an appetite for your solution overseas. What is the ideal partner profile for an indirect seller in an international market? What cultural hurdles are you going to have to jump? What do the economics look like in that region, and how do partners expect to be compensated? What regulatory red tape are you going to have to navigate? Segmentation is equally important. A one-size-fits-all approach rarely works in the indirect channel global arena. Segment your global market to cater to the unique needs and preferences of each region and its partners. This segmentation will guide your marketing, sales, and support efforts, ensuring that you connect with partners and customers on a personal level.

Localization of Content and Resources

Language is a powerful tool, but one that’s not easy to master. Prioritize content localization to bridge the language gap and demonstrate your commitment to the regions you serve. Translate marketing materials, product documentation, and training resources into the languages of your target markets. This extends beyond translation to adapting content to align with local cultural nuances, ensuring that your message resonates authentically. PRM systems with localization capabilities can be invaluable in this regard. They efficiently distribute marketing collateral and training materials in multiple languages, ensuring that partners have access to relevant content that speaks to their audience.

Cross-Cultural Training and Support

So you have a big partner here in the States that wants to help you go global. If an American from the Northeast is confused by the culture of the South, imagine how lost your team and partners might be trying to figure out the culture of a completely different global geography. Effective cross-cultural communication is a cornerstone of global success if you want your North American partners to make inroads overseas. Provide your channel partners with cross-cultural training to help them navigate cultural differences and understand local business customs. This training goes beyond language and includes sensitivity to cultural nuances, etiquette, and communication styles.

Careful Selection of Regional Channel Partners

You know that not all partners are created the same. Your choice of channel partners can significantly impact your success in global markets, so do your research and be selective. Opt for partners who possess deep knowledge of their local markets. Partners with strong local connections and market expertise are better equipped to navigate regulatory complexities, connect with customers effectively, and represent your brand authentically.

Streamlined Global Partner Management Processes

Efficiency and consistency are key in managing global partners because you don’t want to have to develop whole new systems and processes every time you expand into a new geo. Develop standardized yet flexible global partner management processes that can be adapted to regional requirements. Ensure that these processes are well-documented and easily accessible to all partners. (Hint: your PRM can come in very handy here.)

Global Partner Collaboration Initiatives

If you have a North American partner who’s a whiz at your product or service, and a global partner that’s willing to sell it but may not posses that granular knowledge, why not instigate a partner-to-partner relationship? Global collaboration is a catalyst for success. Organize global partner conferences or virtual summits to foster interaction among partners from diverse regions. These events provide valuable opportunities for cross-cultural networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. On that note…

Global Partner Advisory Council

Host a powwow. A Global Partner Advisory Council can be a game-changer in your global strategy. This council, comprised of representatives from various regions, serves as a platform for partners to provide input, discuss global strategy, and share best practices. Host virtual advisory council meetings, providing a secure environment for confidential discussions among representatives from diverse regions. This collaborative approach ensures that your global strategy benefits from the collective wisdom and insights of your partners on the ground.

In the End

It’s a big world, but someone has to conquer it. To excel on a global scale, vendors must employ thought leadership strategies that embrace diversity and foster collaboration. Keep an open mind about what your ideal partner looks and acts like, and be prepared to adapt. Your local strategy is (or should be) very different from your global strategy, so put some thought into it, consult with team leaders and partners in the area, and explore different methods of collaboration. Go take over the world.