Rethink your go-to-market strategy in Asia during uncertain times

Rethink your go-to-market strategy in Asia during uncertain times

During uncertain times and periods of disruption, organizations and companies naturally focus their resources on their core strength, main markets and what they know how to do best. In the business-to-business (B2B) area, for many companies this is usually focused on production and serving their main customers and markets.

This can lead to a very narrow view, shutting out potential opportunities and like during the COVID-19 crisis, which is unprecedented in modern history, might not even be possible. What then can companies and organizations do to sustain themselves and in the best case thrive in their industry?

Companies can sit it out if they can afford to do so. They can divest and shrink, or they can embrace the situation and refocus to potentially become trailblazers in markets that historically were not their key focus areas.

Therefore, it does not matter if you are entering a market as a new player or have been in it already for a long time. These moments can allow you to rethink strategies and open future mid-term and long-term growth.

It might even release certain pressure in the short term, knowing that markets or market segments are in good hands and are managed without binding your internal resources and capacities and even more importantly will still be there in the next months and years to come.

You might be asking: how is this possible when the organization or company is fully absorbed or thinks it is fully absorbed with a crisis of an unknown scale? When others including competitors or partners are retracting, there is the opportunity to gain market share and new customers. This might be the small difference for a company today to plant the seed for tomorrow.

What are the areas you should consider to successfully grab such opportunities, to ensure short-term resilience and build your organization’s future success?

Keep doing what you are good at and look for partners who complement your strengths. For B2B businesses and markets, sales and services is an area where the right partner makes all the difference and gives you more room to breathe while allowing you to focus on keeping and improving your core business.

 

Ask yourself:

  • What are the key industries you want to have covered?
  • How strong is the competence level in the area of your products?
  • What is the level of market coverage and customer reach? How fast can this be activated?

Your business may already have a good partner in a market, but how sustainable is this partner and how well prepared is this partner in the short, medium and long term in times of disruption?

 

You might never have thought of entering into a market because it is difficult or unclear what would be the future benefits. How about now when your core markets are lagging and new frontiers might open new possibilities?

 

These are some of the questions to consider:

  • What is your plan if your sales and service partner is running out of business?
  • Who is going to support your customers in this market?
  • If you work with multiple partners, how do you protect your brand image, pricing and support?
  • If your major markets are not working as they used to be, how can you, with minimal resources, open new growth and sales areas?
  • Are you sure your local service network will still be functioning in a few months?
  • As your competitors are in the same situation as you are, can you take advantage of that by moving faster than them?

When some of your smaller markets need more attention or when they are not generating as many benefits as they should, it might be time to rethink your strategy to overcome the below challenges:

 

  • If you are in a situation where your full attention is needed on your home market, core employees and core customers, who will take care of the above 30 percent revenue markets?
  • Is cash flow a concern and are there quick optimizations possible to stay in a market?
  • outsource sales, service and support networks without your customers giving up any benefits they believe your brand gives them?
  • Is streamlining your distribution network across a certain region a way to save time and resources for your channel management?
  • How sure are you that your local channel partner can fulfill payment terms you have extended to them? Is it based on an historical relationship and are you prepared for any default of payment?

Direct sales, distribution or a mixed model? All of these are valid strategies to enter or manage different geographic regions for your organization. They each have different advantages in times of accelerated growth, saturated markets, downturns and disruptive events.

 

Is a market where you generate five percent of your global revenue worth five percent of your attention during a crisis? Maybe not while you are in crisis mode, but is a loss of five percent market share acceptable?

 

Focus your attention on where you have the fastest and most visible impact. This is usually where you have a certain physical reach. Rethink your other markets and sectors for short term profitability and long-term sustainable growth.

All these factors can help you to open doors to new opportunities particularly in times of uncertainty and keep you focused ahead to plan for the future. Reach out to us if you have questions or want to discuss how DKSH can help you reevaluate and transform your sales, service, marketing and distribution strategy in Asia and beyond.

Robert Puschmann

About the author

Robert Puschmann joined DKSH in August 2014 and leads the Business Unit Technology in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. He has been refocusing organizations on performance and profitable growth by strategically driving systems and structure implementations in sales and service organizations over the last 10 years across Asia, leading to increased market coverage, market share growth and customer value add within the region. For the last 5 years Robert lives in Singapore with his wife and two kids.