Local Solutions to a Global Environment: The Key Differentiator When Doing Business in Latin America
While the US is slowly making its way out of a recession and Europe is trying to avoid the unraveling of the Euro zone, things in Latin America are looking a lot more rosy for B2B technology companies. To pick up on one of the topics from our Channel Comes of Age blog, the old “one size fits all” approach is finally being put aside. (Can I get an Amen?) With over US$400 billion already committed over the next three years in infrastructure projects alone, Latin America is getting the attention they have been looking for without having to “digest” channel marketing programs that are pre-tailored to the U.S. market. So, how can you be successful in this new scenario? Here are a few tips:
Nice to meet you Latin America: To start the conversation, first let’s establish the fact that Argentina is not part of Mexico and that Brazilians speak Portuguese, not Spanish or Brazilian. Understanding your market is the foundation to exploring any new region.
Localize your go-to-market approach: Beyond just local language, communication and all types of resources and program offerings should be flexible enough take into account the cultural and market differences.
Help them: Just like any other region, most partners in Latin America do not have dedicated headcounts to support their marketing initiatives; local turnkey solutions are always a nice touch.
The good news is that we already understand all of this, so nothing new needs to be created; we just need to listen to what is already being said. In our experience with channel programs in Latin America, there have been a few core programs that have proven to be especially successful:
- SPIF: Incentivized performance continues to be one of the best ways to generate sales. The trend here is to replace travel and product catalogs with cash as the preferred method of reward.
- MDF: Giving away money is always an easy option, but to truly support your partners in the long run you will need to make a strategic commitment. There is nothing better for that than an MDF program combined with joint planning. Activities such as demo trucks (vehicles fully capable of demo-ing products/solutions), trade shows, and funded headcounts (business development) are among the most popular activities in the region.
- Deal Registration: It can be very challenging to get information from partners in general, but this holds especially true in Latin America. A deal registration program is a good option to help improve visibility of the pipeline ahead and will also be a test of the level of trust you have within your partner community. License compliance programs (a variant of deal registration for software companies) have also seen considerable success in Latin America.
If you haven’t already, now is a great time to do an ‘audit’ of your offerings and support of your Latin America channel. Those organizations providing solutions with a ‘local’ mind set will be the ones to keep and grow with the top partners that are capitalizing on the opportunities LATAM has to offer.