Emerging market partner selection and management

Southern Africa has been consuming our time of late, and I we have been missing in action. We recently conducted a supply assessment and pilot roll-out for a media company in Zambia. Our workstream focused primarily on the Go-to-Market strategy and partner selection.

The following key issues were identified during the assessment:

Select the right partners. Ensure you have a clear understanding of the partner selection criteria. Identify the key drivers of partner success and include it in your selection criteria e.g. retail expertise. Communicate the selection criteria to all stakeholders and constantly evaluate if you are on the right track. Focus on distribution partners that hold real growth potential. Poor partner selection can severely affect your Go-to-Market strategy.

There is gold in those mountains. Emerging economies provide unique opportunities outside of the capital. Regional town populations and GDPs are always understated and hold great financial rewards with often little competition. By expanding your footprint, it is also important to create the necessary support structure for your more rural partners. They are too often left to their own devices.

Take the guess work out of your business. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and retail standards (for example) simplify your business procedures and help to ensure the same quality in all operations. Emerging market operations often lack critical skills and don’t make any assumptions what people can and can not do.

What gets measured gets done. Focus on the key performance drivers of your business and don’t overextend yourself. Sometimes less is more. Include key performance measurements to your business planning process and evaluate on a yearly basis whether you are using these measurements to track and improve your business. There is no point it tracking something just for the sake of tracking.

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