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Tips For Choosing An International Partner
Jan 2012

Tips For Choosing An International Partner

Ken Primrose, Managing Director of Industrial Tomography Systems speaks to Greater Manchester Chamber about tips for Choosing an International partner.

Finding an international partner requires a lot of hard work and diligence, especially when in a niche industry such as the one ITS operates in. Any company should begin by looking at agents/distributors to see if they are suitable, doing thorough research in to the work that they do and who for and finally, implement a rigorous selection process.

Finding potential partners can be done through a variety of different means; internet research, conferences, exhibitions, industry associations, sometimes advertisements – depending on the work – and support from groups such as UKTI and the Chamber of Commerce. If using one of these bodies, it is crucial to give a detailed brief about what the company does and is looking for and, regardless of the means in which an organisation finds a potential agent, it is important to manage expectations – how much of the sales process can they undertake and how much support will they need? Look for partners who have the right resources, contacts, customer base and capability and above all, who understand the industry the organisation works in.

Choosing a larger distributor is beneficial in that they often have more resources and coverage, however it can be disadvantageous if they are too large to dedicate enough time to your company. It can be better to be a larger contributor to a smaller company rather than a less significant contributor to a smaller one.

Always request – and take up – references before deciding on a partner, but do your own research also. Trade bodies can be an endorsement through membership, but should not be relied upon soley as a reference point.

Finally, remember that partnerships only work if both parties feel that they are getting the results. Make sure any appointed agent knows what the company’s targets and expectations are and that they regularly communicate back with accurate data. Be careful with the intial agreement and any legal issues – sometimes it will inevitably go wrong and a well-drawn up agreement will ensure that there is a legal get out clause should targets not be met and results achieved.

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