Case History

Growing export sales and breaking into new markets (usa)

A temporary Export Manager for an Italian textile company

Problem

The company is a leading player in the textile industry. It is family-run and has always focused on quality and design. It has grown thanks to licensing deals with high-quality women’s wear brands. Since the beginning of this millennium, the owners have decided to grow export sales. They hired a manager to accomplish this, and they succeeded in breaking into the ex-USSR markets. Recently, the company has turned its focus to the enormous opportunities that China offers.  At the same time, sales in Europe have failed to take off, while markets in the USA, Japan, Korea and Australia are not covered.

Falling revenues from Italy, their main market, together with the loss of a key resource in the foreign sales department, have forced the owners to re-think their strategy and company structure. It has become imperative to grow export sales and to create a sustainable commercial structure.

Solution

A qualified manager from Contract Manager is appointed to take over export management and to achieve the following set of goals agreed with the owners:

– to immediately take up the role of Export Sales Director, organize the resources available and act as the owners’ point of reference for all matters concerning international business development

– to coordinate the activity of the internal and external staff of the Export Sales Department

– to select target countries, focusing effort on those which will produce greatest turnover growth

– to create a mixed sales network, made up of direct salesforce, agents and distributors, in order to ensure good coverage of target markets

– to review the current sales strategy and identify actions which will generate innovation and growth

Here are some of the activities the temporary export manager was expected to perform:

  • kick-off of a new external resource in charge of the Middle East and North Africa, supported by visits
  • management of the transition of the Chinese agent to distributor
  • rationalization of the distribution situation in Azerbaijan with periodic visits to key accounts
  • support and coaching of a young resource to directly involve in the upcoming United States project
  • study, organization and coordination of the commercial start-up in the US, with participation in trade shows
  • evaluation and coordination of new sales initiatives in markets as yet not covered
  • employment of a new resource for back-office support and a possible future role in the export office
  • analysis, review and assessment of sales policies, definition of control systems, assessment of legal and contractual aspects, coordination with the Communication Department for catalogs, website, newsletters and customer follow-up
  • missions abroad to analyze distribution and growth opportunities, present samples and collect orders and customers’ procurement plans

temporary export manager per sviluppo commerciale estero e apertura nuovi mercati (USA)

Results

Thanks to Contract Managers’ intervention plan and the actions of the temporary export manager, the company obtained the following results:

  • +30% orders in the first six months of assignment, with a +24% increase in turnover
  • +30% turnover maintained at the end of the intervention and the opening up of new strategic markets such as the US
  • strengthened relationships with customers, new accounts opened and improvement of the internal organization and of export activities.

The situation is now stable, and the company continues to follow the path shown by Contract Manager