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The Right Way New Country Launch
Retail buyers and distributors are receptive to brand launches from multinationals. Why?
Multinationals succeed, as they introduce new products “The Right Way.” Export Solutions recaps
30 components of launching “The Right Way.” Exporters create magic with limited budgets!
Winners check as many boxes as possible on “The Right Way” scorecard.
Product Retailer
o Meaningful innovation – not “me too” o Boost category sales, margin, and profit
o Consumer market research insights o Syndicated data (Nielsen) – category facts
o Technical confirmation of product differentiation o Invest in retailer “push” programs
o Reasonable retail price – premium (not sky high) o 4-6 high value promotional events per year
o Test market results – similar country or retailer o Retailer VP, distributor CEO at intro call
Marketing Excitement
o 360 marketing plan: TV, in-store, social, PR o Launch party – memorable location
o Sampling o PR, social media, trade press
o Social media o Celebrity endorsement
o Displays: end of aisle and shelf blocks o Distributor sales contest
o Special offers – retailer fliers o Donation to local charity
Team Scorecard
o Distributor – best in class, category expert o Year 1: invest; year 2: break even; year 3: profit
o Local manager – launch oversight o Sales volume (retail sell-out)
o Marketing, social media, PR agencies o Market share
o Brand/technical resource from headquarters o Retail availability (weighted distribution)
o Total distributor engagement: reps. to CEO o Year 2 commitment and enthusiasm
Retail buyers are challenged to maximize profits and sales from every available inch of shelf space. Every new item accepted must
improve on the performance of the brand currently occupying that space. Buyers are overwhelmed by new product offerings, all
with ambitious promises. Improve your chances of success by incorporating Export Solutions’ 10 point check list on how to excite
your category buyer about your new product.
How to Excite Buyers New Product Checklist
Buyers: New Product Assessment
High Interest Low Interest
Category Opportunity Large or high growth Declining or niche
Brand Owner
Multinational or proven local.
Category expert
New foreign supplier
or start-up
Something new, supported
by consumer research
“Me too product
Profit Margin
Enhance current
category margin
Equal to or less than
current category margin
Sales Generates incremental sales Cannibalizes existing sales
Marketing Investment Sampling, social media, PR None
Trade Programs Invests in retailer “push programs Periodic discounts/rebates
Brand Track Record Successful at other local retailers Unproven in the country
Terms/Conditions Attractive deal structure Typical terms/conditions
Representation Dependable local distributor Small, niche entrepreneur
Are Distributors Interested in Your Brand?
High Interest Low Interest
Email Response
Immediate reply Delayed or no reply
CEO Engagement
Active participation Delegated to middle management
Scheduling Meeting
Flexible and easy Difficult. Conflicts.
Airport/Hotel Pick-Up
Offers to pick you up Take a taxi!
Meeting Presentation
Tailored. Prepared for you. Standard presentation
Category Research
Obtains data None
Competitive Review
Shares photos: store sets Informal comments
Store Visits
Organized/led by CEO Office meeting only
Obtains and tries samples Waits for you
Team Participation
3-6 people at meeting One person
Cell Phone
Shares private number Email address only
Addresses key issues No questions
Meets due dates Delays
Post Meeting Follow-up
Immediate and frequent None
Proposed Plan
Detailed and fact based Brief topline
Results Winner Second place?
I have conducted hundreds of distributor interviews for multinational companies: P&G, Nestle, General Mills, Duracell, Lindt, Tabasco,
Barilla, J&J, etc. Distributor candidates all claim enthusiasm and high interest in your brand. See Export Solutions’ checklist of clues to
measure true distributor interest level.
What Distributors Want to Know?
Strong distributors are overwhelmed by calls from brand owners looking for new partners. Distributors assess
each opportunity carefully, as any new brand must add incremental sales and profits and not distract from
priorities from existing brands handled. What is the “size of the prize” for the distributor?
Assessment Criteria Facts Rating (10 = Best)
Your company: size/ reputation
Existing business: sales in distributors country?
If zero “current sales,” what is realistic expectation?
Brand’s USP…your point of difference/innovation?
Size of investment plan: Marketing and Trade?
Potential distributor revenues?margin?
How does the product taste? (or peform)
How attractive/compliant is the packaging?
Pricing relative to category?
Brand success story in an adjacent country?
Competition intensity in category?
Brand range complexity?Product shelf life?
Local market research? Syndicated data?
Will brand invest in marketing and social media?
Will this be a tough product to launch?
Can we grow with the brand owner?
Your brand: core distributor category or adjacency?
Will the export manager be good to work with?
Will we be proud/excited to represent this brand?
What is the “size of the prize?”
Rating System
Rating Score
Excellent 5
Very Good 4
Average 3
Fair 2
Poor 1
Contact Greg Seminara at (001)-404-255-8387 to discuss your distributor search project.
Criteria (weighting) Rating Evaluation Factors
Corporate Credentials 30%
Size, sales force, logistics, # employees.
Reputation (reference check existing brands).
National coverage.
Multi-channel coverage.
Category Expertise 20%
Sells brands in my category.
Shelf space for existing brands.
Current brands selling to target retailer.
Category analysis and insights.
Brand Building 15%
Ideas to build or launch my brand?
Marketing plan, cost, timing.
Success stories.
Cost to Serve 15%
Fair, transparent model relative to size
of business, brand investment, and
work required.
Enthusiasm for
My Brand 20%
Advance preparation, CEO involvement.
Follow-up on commitments.
Alignment with your vision.
X Factors: People, Admin.,
Professionalism, etc.
CPG/FMCG background for leaders.
Efficiency of scheduling meeting.
Office environment.
Do you enjoy the people?
New Distributor Assessment Grid
Distributor Capability Assessment
Export Solutions established 15 assessment criteria to identify “Best in Class” performers as well as “under
achievers.” Many distributor relationships extend 10 years or more. Is your distributor network still a “good fit”
for your current business requirements? Template can also be used as New Distributor Reference Check form
Assessment Criteria Rating: (10 = Best)
Category Expertise/Critical Mass
Focus/Time Dedicated to your Business
Joint Business Plan Development, Execution, Delivery
Alignment with Brand Owners Vision. Relationship.
Cost to Serve (fair margin, extra costs)
Assortment/Shelf Space
Promotion Creativity, Effectiveness, and Efficiency
Key Account Relations (Senior level, buyer)
Leadership/Owner (engaged & committed to us?)
Brand Manager (seniority, clout,creativity)
Multi Channel, Multi Regional Coverage
Financial Stability, Payment Record
Supply Chain Management & Forecasting
Problem Solving: rapid response?
Sales Results versus Budget, Market, Category (CY, PY, 3 Years)
Does Your Distributor Network Need A Check Up?
Export Solutions Can Help!
Distributor Network Assessments
Motivational Speeches
International Strategy
Find Distributors in 96 Countries
Contact Greg Seminara at gseminara@exportsolutions.com or (001)-404-255-8387.
Exporters manage distributor networks extending to 20, 50, 70 countries or more!
Every company has a few distributors that under perform.
“Under achievers” prevent us from attaining our personal objectives.
Distributor Network Check Up
Independent assessment from Export Solutions
Establish methodology for ranking Best in Class distributors and “Laggards”
Supply strategies for recognizing top distributors
and upgrading the bottom performers
Benchmark external brands from your category
Practical and “action oriented” approach
Segmentation Factors
Segmentation analytics will vary by company. Absolute
population is just one factor warranting consideration. Other
criteria include size of the category, proximity to your producing
plant, as well as per capita spending power. For example, most
USA based exporters sell far more to Puerto Rico, an island with
3.3 million people, than they do to China or Brasil. As a result,
some USA brand owners place a strategic focus on the Caribbean
Basin countries adjacent to the USA and process only occasional
opportunistic shipments to complex countries such as China.
Mix of Countries
Most companies can dedicate focus on a strategic launch into
only one or two “strategic” countries at a time. It’s appropriate
to create a growth plan aimed at a mix of Strategic, Priority, and
Opportunistic countries.
Market Share Expectations
Your export road map should also be adjusted based upon your
market share expectations for a select market. Generally, there
are three scenarios for a brand to pursue.
Leader: Brand investment and innovation to become
#1 in the category.
Player: Brand plans to compete effectively, obtaining a market
share of 5%-20%.
Participant: Niche. Brand objective is incremental shipments
with little/no investment.
Lessons Learned
Calibrate expectations to investments in brand support and
management oversight. Everyone wants to be a category leader
or player. To achieve this lofty status, you need to conduct local
market research, innovate, maintain competitive pricing, invest
in marketing, and align with a strong sales team just as you do in
your home market. Projects fail as certain brands want category
leadership but invest only to “niche” levels.
Strategic segmentation of export opportunities is “Job One” for export managers. Export Solutions divides countries into three groups:
Strategic, Priority, and Opportunistic. This approach filters countries by “size of the prize” and investments required to win. The basic
rationale is that a company should allocate different resources to develop a large country like Brasil, compared to a medium size
country like Belgium versus the Bahamas or Bermuda. Too frequently, we see companies handcuff all markets to one export program,
with common strategy, pricing, and investment models for all countries.
Country Segmentation One Size Does Not Fit All
Country Segmentation
Country Profile Investment Required Business Model Examples
Large Country
(pop. 50mm +)
High GDP
High Category BDI
Global Retailers
High Complexity
Significant Investment
in Brand support. Mar-
ket Research Manage-
ment Visibility
Local Office or Distribu-
tor or
Joint Venture
Mid size Country
(pop. 10 mm+)
High GDP
High Category BDI
Mid Complexity
Moderate investment
in brand support. Man-
aged by Export Manager
S. Korea/Thailand
South Africa
Saudi Arabia
Profitable Opportuni-
Low GDP Countries
Low Complexity
Minimal/no investment
in brand support
Distributor or
Direct to Retailer
Central America
Middle East
Distributor Market Review
Greg’s Ten Tips
1. Good news travels fast and bad news
travels slowly
2. If you want to know what’s really going
on, spend a day visiting stores
3. Pick up the phone and call a friend or business
partner versus email
4. Be positive. Think, “why not?”
5. Results are directly proportionate to your
investment: Marketing, People, Focus, Time
6. A distributor (or Broker) “respects” what the
Brand owner “inspects”
7. Shipment numbers rarely lie
8. Put it in writing
9. If two people agree on the principle of a deal,
you can usually work out the financial terms
10. There is more in common with industry
practices across the globe than differences.
Brand owners everywhere desire more shelf
presence and retailers demand more discounts.
Recognize the differences, but focus on the
universal requirement for superior products,
marketed at a fair price.
Criteria Rating Evaluation Factors
Shipment Results
Overall growth for our industry in your market?
Distributor company wide sales performance (all
Distributor sales results for my brand?
Change vs. benchmarks?
Brand Performance
Key brand performance versus overall category.
Shipment growth, market share, weighted distribution.
New item success.
Key Account Results
Results at top 3-5 accounts (or channels).
Improvements: new items, shelf presence,
Are we getting “fair share” of retailers growth?
What Worked?
Strategies or performance that achieved results.
Ideas that delivered incremental sales.
Key Issues?
Problems or barriers to achieving results.
Pricing, investment, competition.
Performance by key people touching our business.
Organizational changes? Who made a difference?
Distributors financial health. Planned investments.
Efficiency opportunities in Partnership.
2022 Requirements
Resources required to achieve 2022 shipment expectations.
Critical activities, timelines, changes to structure/plan.
Export Manager Report Card
Assessment Criteria Considerations
(10 = Best)
Annual Plan Development, Execution, Delivery Aligned, reliable, committed
Export Experience – Food/Consumer Products • New to 20 years +
Ability to Influence Distributors • Focus on your priorities
Pioneers New Business • From concept to containers
Work Ethic • Office time vs. overseas trips?
International Citizenship • Language skills, cultural alignment
Category Knowledge • Viewed as expert: buyers, distributors
Business Leadership • Partners with internal functions
Distributor Relationships • From sales reps. to owner
Thought Leadership • Creates and shares best practices
Export Strategy • Logical vision and road map
Profitable, Sustainable, Exports • Sells profitable cases
Retail Store Conditions • Brand presence vs. market share?
Brand Building – Promotions • Creativity, effectiveness, efficiency
Problem Solving – Response Time • Same day to one week?
Customer Relations • Senior access at top retailers
Analytical Skills: Shipments, Nielsen • Trends, opportunities, plan
Digital Savvy • E-commerce, social media
Supply Chain Management & Forecasting Accuracy and efficiency
Results vs Budget, Market,
Category (CY, PY, 3 Years)
• Flat to 10% +
Export Solutions’ New Distributor Checklist
____ Contract/Agreement
____ Price Calculation Model
____ Business Plan: objectives, marketing,
spending, key dates
____ Category Review: Pricing, Shelf,
Assortment, Merchandising
____ Label Compliance
____ Shelf Life
____ Order Lead Time
____ Minimum Order
____ Pick up Point
____ Payment Terms
____ Payment Currency
____ Damage Policy
____ Product Registration
____ Forecast: Year 1
____ Pipeline Order & Inventory
____ Brand Facts
____ Product Samples
____ Appointment Letter
____ Brand Specifications in System:
Distributor & Customers
____ Training: Key Account Managers,
Retail, Administrative Staff, Warehouse
____ In Store Standards: Pricing, Shelf
Management, Merchandising
____ FAQ’s/Handling Common Objections
____ Key Account Presentation
____ Customer Appointment Dates
____ Category/Business Review:
Tailored to Each Key Account
____ Retail Sales Contest
____ Checkpoint Calls
____ Market Audit Date
____ Reporting: Track Distribution, Pricing,
Shelf Positioning, Merchandising, etc.
Talk to an Expert
Find Distributors in 96 Countries
International Strategy Road Map
Fix Problem Markets
Entry Plans
Export Workshops
Motivational Meeting Speaker
Contact Greg Seminara at (001)-404-255-8387 to discuss your business development project.
Distributor Search Helper for:
Can We Help You?
Recent Distributor Search Projects
Asia Europe Middle East Latin America
Australia Germany Israel Argentina
China Ireland Kuwait Brazil
Indonesia Netherlands Qatar Colombia
Japan Nordics Saudi Arabia Costa Rica
Malaysia Spain UAE Ecuador
Philippines United Kingdom North America Mexico
Singapore Africa Canada Panama
South Korea South Africa United States Peru
Call the Export Accelerator!
Contact Greg Seminara at greg@exportsolutions.com
to discuss your business development project.
Country Listing Map USA Example*
“Required Template for Every Country”
Create Your Own Export Library
Distributor Search Guide
Export Handbook
Selling to USA Handbook
Distributor Management Guide
Finance & Logistics
All guides available free at www.exportsolutions.com in the Export Tips section.
Idea Guide:
New World New Business
Export Treasure Chest
My Favorite Templates & Forms
People Power
Strong Teams Build Great Brands
Retailer Stores SKU 1 SKU 2 SKU 3 SKU 4 SKU 5 Comments/Plans
Walmart SC 3,571 x x x
SKU 1, 2, 3 stocked at only
2,000 Supercenters
Costco 575 x Special SKU 5 for Costco
Kroger 2,726 x x x x Category Review March
Albertsons 2,278 x x x New shelf set
Publix 1,300 x x x BOGO Ad November
Ahold-FL 2,050 x x x x New SKU 4 listing
HEB - USA 355 x x x Category Review March
Meijer 260 x x x x Holiday Display Program
Shop Rite 361 x x x x New SKU 4 listing
Giant Eagle 216 x x x SKU 4 delisted
*Instructions: List top 10 customers for every country. List all your key SKUs (items).
“X” indicates item stocked at customer. Blank space represents a distribution void.
Preferred Supplier Scorecard
Distributors deliver their best results for their favorite principals. How do you rank?
Supplier Assessment Considerations
(10 = Best)
Annual Sales Revenue • Percent of total distributor sales
Annual Profit Generated ($)
• Net sales times gross margin
Years of Service • New to 20 years or more
Compound Annual Growth Rate
• Flat to 10% or more
Supplier Investment Level • Zero to 25% of sales
Celebrates Success
Awards, dinner, thank you notes
Shares Best Practices
• Serves as category expert
Logistics Service Level
• Target 98% on time, complete orders
Visits Retail Stores
• Never to full day every visit
Reimbursement of Billbacks • 2 weeks to 3 months
Senior Management Relationship • None to long term partners
Export Manager Experience • New hire to 10 years or more
Response Time • Same day to one month
Supports Distributor’s Ideas
• Invests in local ideas
Good on Customer Calls
Avoids calls to customer favorite
Admin Requirements • Orders only to multiple reports
Supplier Visit Frequency • Never to weekly
Relationship: Entire Team • Finance, logistics, administration
Respects Fair Profit for Distributor • Healthy distributor is profitable
Achieves Joint Business Targets • Creates culture of success
Export Reports: Format and Frequency
Every exporter requires certain reports to manage the business.
Productivity is enhanced when distributor focuses on selling activities versus compiling a stack of reports.
Everything functions better when reports are filed on a regular schedule.
Distributor “Sell Out”
Distributor sales to customers
Sales Forecast
Rolling 90-180 days
Distributor Inventory
Weeks supply on hand, by sku
Sales Versus Budget
Progress vs. annual objective
KPI Dashboard
Coverage, Displays, Distribution, etc.
Listing Map/Plans
Brand/sku authorization, by customer
Promotion Tracking
Calendar, budget, payments, lift
New Product Launch Status
Acceptance by key customer
Category Review (Nielsen ?)
Category trends
Retail Price Survey
Top 10 customers
Competitive Activty
New launches, innovation
Distributor Credentials
Distributor “standard” presentation
Credit Report
Financial update
Distributor Value Chain
Factory gate to store shelf
Annual Business Plan
Agreed road map to achieve objectives
Retailer Business Review
Top 5 retailers
List of Top 10 Customers
Plus your buyers name
Strategic Export
Development Program
Export Passport
Export Passport
Distributor Search Challenge
Some distributors are too big…
Other distributors are too small!
Export Passport identifies
Prime Prospect distributors
that represent the Right Fit
Exporter Classification*
Type Description
Export Profile
10 Multinational Strong market share everywhere across multiple categories.
9 Global Multinational. Mix of leading countries and niche participation.
8 Category Champion One core mass category. Strong performance globally.
7 Icon Well known, niche leader. Global availability. Example: Tabasco.
6 Regional Leader Strong share across one continent/region. Some export success.
5 National Hero National treasure, #1 brand. Exports to homesick expats, tourists.
4 Player Respectable share in home country. Opportunistic exports.
3 Participant “Me too” product. Opportunistic exports. “Trader”/private label.
2 Challenger Innovator. Some listings in home country. New to export.
1 Start-up Trying to get traction in home country. Export “dreamer.”
*Export Solutions’ classification system
Distributor Classification*
Prime Prospects
Massive distributor.
Handles multinational/#1
brands across many
Brand leaders.
$$$ marketing budgets.
Exporter types: 6-10
Category Captain.
Handles leading brands in
one segment.
$$ marketing budgets.
Exporter types: 5-9
Mid-size distributor.
Handles #2/3 brands or
niche leaders across many
premium brands.
$-$$ marketing budgets.
Exporter types: 4-7
Respected local.
Diversified product
Results equal to investment.
Flexible, challenger brands.
$ marketing budget.
Exporter types: 2-4
Small distributor.
Entrepreneurial, open to
innovative new companies.
Start-up brands.
“Pay as you go” marketing.
Exporter types: 1-3
Need more information? Visit www.exportsolutions.com.
*Export Solutions’ classification system
Searching for New Distributors?
Export Solutions makes life a little easier for more than 3,000 export managers.
Our time saving distributor database serves as a “helper” for identifying more
than 9,200 qualified, local brand builders in 96 countries.
Select Your Distributors,
Do Not Let Your Distributors Select You
Search by Country, Category, or Country of Origin
Local Experts
Distributor Coverage
Asia: 2,030
Europe: 3,139
Latin America: 1,574
Middle East: 937
USA/Canada: 1,464
Category Experts
Distributor Coverage
Beverage: 1,691
Candy/Snack: 2,713
International Food: 3,276
Health & Beauty: 1,800
Natural Food: 837
Country Experts
Distributor Coverage
German Brands: 648
Italian Brands: 1,397
UK Brands: 682
USA Brands: 1,189