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Increasing sales abroad: the B2B strategic manual

Increasing sales abroad: the B2B strategic manual

Italian companies are experiencing a complex historical moment, characterized by profound changes, threats and risks. At the same time, however, it is possible to seize incredible opportunities on international markets. So let's find out how to increase sales abroad for B2B companies.


Did you know that international markets can be a great opportunity to relaunch your business?

Due to inflationary pressures and supply issues on the supply chains, the Italian domestic market is undergoing a period of decline, e many companies are struggling more and more to find new customers and thus increase sales.

The latest data presented by SACE, in its Export Report 2022 of last September, however, highlight how companies strongly oriented towards exports are reacting better than others to the crisis.

And on closer inspection, the B2B sector is the one that is benefiting the most from this trend: according to Alibaba, a well-known Chinese e-commerce platform, Italian B2B exports were worth over 500 billion euros in 2021, with a growth of 15% compared to the previous year.

The secret to the success of B2B businesses abroad is only one: a correct internationalization strategy in the medium and long term. For this reason we can say with certainty that internationalization is now an almost obligatory step to see your business's turnover and profits increase.

But how can your company follow this trend, e.g increase sales abroad in the B2B sector? There are numerous steps to follow: from the need for market analysis, to the choice of the most suitable products for each individual country, through to the development of a suitable marketing plan.

In this article, therefore, we will study together how to implement these steps: here is the B2B strategic manual for increasing sales abroad.


Increasing foreign sales in B2B: the steps to follow


To effectively sell abroad and increase your company's profits on international markets, there are some steps to follow, which we will explain in detail in these paragraphs.

Broadly speaking, the steps to follow are:

  • Market analysis;
  • Propose the strongest products and not the entire catalogue;
  • Network, find the right business partners and participate in trade shows and industry events;
  • Use digital tools such as international SEO, LinkedIn Ads and targeted online campaigns.


1. Market analysis

Imagine finding yourself in a completely new city abroad, for a holiday or a business trip. How would you feel at first?

No matter how much you may have studied the city map, searched for information on Google and asked for opinions on the internet: you will not be able to shake off, at least initially, that feeling of disorientation.

So the same happens for your products when your company wants to enter new markets: the target country is completely unknown and new. And just as you need a period of adaptation, study and learning in a new city, your company and its products also need a period of study of the situation.

For this reason, to increase sales abroad in B2B we start from here: we study the market. In doing so, your company will have to engage in some market research.

It will therefore be necessary to inform yourself directly or indirectly on the preferences of potentially target companies, on payment methods, on the requirements that machinery, products or services must comply with such as specific certifications or awards. We then need an analysis of the competition, to try to understand the characteristics of the products of companies similar to ours in that country, and possibly understand at what price they are sold.

But how to do all this? A very useful tool is represented by Global Market Finder, a tool offered by Google that calculates numerous international trade data for the product and country that you decide to include in the search criteria. In fact, for each keyword entered, Google will return a specific value, the higher it is, the more interesting that particular product is in a given country.


2. Offer the strongest products

Another element of fundamental importance for increasing sales abroad in B2B is offer only and exclusively on the flagship products of your company.

In fact, too many companies make the mistake of offering their entire catalog abroad, without considering, however, that each country is different: this means that products that are appreciated in Italy could not enjoy the same success in France, Brazil or India. Furthermore, another risk that is avoided by offering only a few products is that of confusing potential customers with a lot of information and many proposals that are too different from each other.

Then, during the offer and negotiation phase, it can be very useful and fruitful focus on some variables of fundamental importance, such as the quality of Made in Italy products, which usually have great success abroad.

Other factors to consider are represented by the unique characteristics that your company can offer compared to the competition, such as the solution to a specific problem, the aesthetics of the products offered, after-sales services such as customer assistance or the availability of official spare parts .


3. Network and find the right business partners

The third factor to increase overseas sales for B2B companies is the ability to select the right business partners.

In fact, their selection must not be limited to a mere choice of the most advantageous economic offer, but must consider elements such as international experience, knowledge of the target market, short response times and the ability to intervene immediately if problems arise. .

About this, if you want to find out in detail how to choose the best business partners for your business, we recommend you read the Octagona article dedicated to selecting the right business partners: “Does your company rely on the right international partners?“.

Furthermore, by discovering new business partners and establishing strong relationships with them, you can expand your networking network. In other words, through specific knowledge it is possible to reach new potential customers, thanks to which it is possible to further increase sales abroad for Italian companies.

And if you are an entrepreneur or a manager of a B2B company, you know very well that sector events and trade fairs are the perfect opportunity to expand your network. Having a stand at the fair is in fact also very useful for a branding issue: being seen, meeting new companies and potential collaborators, demonstrating that you are participating in the most interesting fairs can certainly benefit the online and offline visibility of your company.


4. Digital tools: international SEO, LinkedIn Ads and targeted online campaigns

Finally, the last element that your company must not miss to increase the foreign sales of your B2B company it is the mastery and implementation of digital tools.

Already in the article we dedicated to success factors of the internationalization of Italian companies we had indicated this characteristic as fundamental, and also in this case we want to underline the concept.

Tools like the International SEO can indeed increase traffic to your web, intercepting the searches carried out by users on international markets. This practice includes all activities that aim to improve the indexing of your company's website on Google: in other words, with an international SEO plan it is possible for your site appear in the first search results of foreign users, consequently increasing potential sales abroad.

Also, to SEO techniques international you can combine other digital tools, such as an advertising campaign to increase your company's brand awareness and reputation on the web. One way to do this is to rely on Google AdWords or LinkedIn Ads tools. In both cases it is a very effective paid advertising campaign if implemented on your company's flagship products: in the first case the advertisements will appear exclusively on Google, while in the second it is advertising that will appear on LinekdIn, notoriously the most important social network to connect businesses and professionals.

If you are interested in understanding the advantages of a correct positioning on the internet, through the improvement of the brand awareness of your business, I suggest you read the article dedicated to online sales.


Conclusions: how to increase foreign sales in the B2B sector?


If you have read ours up to here strategic manual for increasing sales abroad in the B2B sector, then you are ready to think, design and define your first strategic plan for selling abroad.

As you have seen, the secret to succeeding despite times of crisis is combine offline sales with online sales, however always after in-depth market and product analyses.

Precisely due to the complex nature of these techniques, especially with regards to digital marketing activities, we always recommend relying on a web agency or an expert internationalization consultancy company and with demonstrable and proven knowledge.

Are you interested in developing your company abroad but don't know where to start?

Then contact us: Octagona is an internationalization consultancy company that for over 20 years has specialized in offline and online techniques to increase sales abroad in the B2B sector. Discover our services Digital Export, Temporary Export Manager or International Advisory.



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