Reduce costs and boost sales in SOUTH EAST ASIA

Sales is an expensive business, very expensive. And marketing is also expensive, very expensive. At times when revenues are shrinking it is more important than ever to keep costs under control while still boosting sales. DR. KLIPPE Consult can give you support and ideas for increased sales success. Read why greater success can be achieved in the SOUTH EAST ASIA region, sometimes with the same effort.

1. Just why is sales so expensive?

There's no changing the fact: sales costs money. Travel costs, hotels, entertainment, evening programmes, miscellaneous tasks, social fees, trade fair fees, employee costs; and these aren't one-offs, they're recurring costs. These costs cannot be avoided completely of course: it's just a question of how this "investment" can be made sensibly. 

2. Why are sales results not as high as those forecasted?

This is a question of the initial sales target set coupled with patience. Salespeople tend to be optimistic by nature. This optimism is further increased by the pressure for success and the expectations of parent companies. But, often good salespeople are also only looking ahead: the orders will come, just not yet.

3. The salespeople should all be let go.

It's just like football: who would then score the goals, i.e. get the orders? The belief that this can be done from head office because it works just as well from home is incorrect. There's simply no personal customer contact. Employees can be let go quickly, but expanding a market takes substantially longer. It's better then not to act prematurely. Pay attention likewise to comments from the extended group of employees that a lot more could be achieved. But then follow up with questions as to how this should be brought about: such comments often have other motives behind them. It is now more important than ever to motivate existing contacts.

4. One country, one region, one market: organization is everything

It is important first of all to review your own aims. Have these been quantified? Is there a budget? What is the time schedule like? Remember that for SOUTH EAST ASIA anything that is under 3 years is part of the start-up and construction phase. Resources must be made available in order to bridge this. Exceptions prove the rule. Do not believe, however, that a one-off success will immediately lead to other projects. If you're only operating in one country you can only work with one agent.

If you're operating in several countries in SOUTH EAST ASIA you need management that can control the countries. It is strongly advised to employ a European or Asian citizen with a European background with these tasks. The costs of this level of hierarchy are often not taken into account. At the beginning they are not particularly apparent. The parent company will only notice when the sales figures fail to materialise. It is important at this point to review the entire organizational structure of your business connections in this region. Perhaps your current organizational structure doesn't even suit you? It is certainly possible that you will discover huge potentials for savings and optimization.

5. The solution for your sales?

Should you wish to expand your business activities from one country currently to additional countries in South East Asia, it makes sense to consider who should implement that. Outside help, interim solutions and outsourcing or support from certain services such as quality control, trade fair activities, following up customer contacts, presentations, taking over presentations, taking part in symposia, launching press releases and looking after local contacts. All that can be improved. Just be brave!

6. The turnover that must be achieved!

Local reps can often be found quickly: strangely enough, much quicker than an employee for the parent company could ever be found. You achieve a certain turnover with this too. So far so good, but have you ever wondered whether anybody could achieve this turnover? That this turnover can barely be avoided? What would happen if a local partner were to work there who was properly qualified in this regard? Someone who could regularly check that everything is in order and can ensure that instructions from the parent company are actually implemented? You don't need to employ somebody full-time for these activities and thereby increase the costs, and fixed costs at that, which you're trying to lower. Work with experts who know both Europe and SOUTH EAST ASIA, who are on site, have contacts and understand sales and marketing. That doesn't give you a guarantee, but it does give you a substantially more solid presence in SOUTH EAST ASIA.

7. "SOUTH EAST ASIA" sales costs – conclusion

Sales costs in SOUTH EAST ASIA often spiral out of control. Depending on the sector it usually takes three to five years to achieve commercial success in the investment goods business. This requires patience. Review and reorganize your business model in Asia. Draw on external personnel support where necessary: this can consist of an interim solution or defined services such as sales, expert and cultural training and reminders of your European business model, occasional accompaniment of your employees on site and support at trade fairs and with making customer contacts, as well as care of company human relations and media and public relations. With these measures you will increase your number of customer enquiries and with that orders. You will then have the correct cost-benefit ratio.

© DR. KLIPPE Consult 2010