You know you’ve been there. You innocently take a meeting with a prospect to discuss their network. Things are going swimmingly until they spring a handful of international locations on you.
We can all relate to that pit in your stomach followed by an urge to flee.
Tackling an international project can be unnerving for a partner, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little know-how and a few helpful resources, you’ll be closing more international business, looking great in front of your customers and maybe even picking up a few crumbs left behind from other, less-prepared partners.
Here are three key things to know as you wade through international opportunities.
Say it with me…“International quoting takes a long time.” Repeat it. Don’t forget it.
Exceptions are few and far between. If you stumble upon a quote after less than a week or two, consider yourself lucky, but don’t expect it.
In our world of instant gratification, waiting more than a couple days for a price seems downright archaic, but exorbitant turnarounds on international quotes – even several weeks – is not unusual.
The key is communication. Be sure to set the proper expectations with your customer, and know that all your competitors are in the same boat.
Expect the Unexpected
The more you dip your toes into international networks, the more you know to expect the unexpected. Anything from worker strikes to seemingly simple things like address verification and time zone coordination all have the potential to slow down the process. Have a frank discussion with your customer at the outset of the project and commit to transparency and prompt communication.
Find the Right Partner
Selecting the right provider is key. While your first inclination might be to go with whomever can send a decent price fastest (see above), resist this temptation. There are three categories of providers you can partner with for these opportunities, and each has its own strengths. Let’s explore:
Need a circuit in Frankfurt? Call a German provider. Circuit in Tokyo? Japanese provider. Easy, right?
No doubt, the local provider will be best equipped to service your customers’ locations. They have feet on the street and a finger on the pulse of the local landscape.
At the same time, these are often large bureaucratic organizations where finding the right people can be tough. If you work through a master agent, they may have established some of these relationships already, which can help. But, once you’re engaged, neither you nor your customer will be shielded from other language, time zone or currency challenges that can arise.
International Provider U.S. Operations
Many of the large international providers have a presence in the United States. This simplifies the process, giving you local contacts to communicate with, particularly during the pre-sale process.
Just like with domestic providers, partnering with the U.S. operation of any single international provider could also keep you from delivering the best value for your customer. Many buildings contain multiple providers who offer a range of services and price points.
Companies who have a multi-vendor reach typically offer the best of both worlds. With access to multiple network vendors across the globe, they can deliver your customers optimum value while shielding you and your customer from some of the difficulties associated with international network deployments.
Global expansion is nothing new, and while building networks to support your customers’ growth can present challenges, you don’t have to shy away either. A little professional patience goes a long way. Set proper expectations with your customer up-front and find a reliable partner who can absorb complexity and shield you and your customer from unforeseen issues.
Nitel partners with over 800 global network vendors and in over 180 countries. We’ll simplify international deployments by delivering value and an unmatched customer experience. Contact your local channel manager and let’s engage one of our expert engineers for your next opportunity.