Opening up a new market in africa, the Senegal case history

A French interim manager for an Italian chemical company

The problem

An Italian company that produces chemicals for agriculture contacts Contract Manager for managerial support in the development of their sales on the African market. Their aim is to improve sales performance in Africa.

Contract Manager brings in a French interim management company with extensive experience of African markets.

The solution

In a short time, the French company selects a French manager of Congolese origin with a deep knowledge of the African market and previous experience as Sales Director in companies in the same sector.

The Italian company’s goal is to break into markets all over the continent, with particular focus on Senegal and Ivory Coast in West Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia in East Africa.

The interim manager, together with another expert, carried out a survey of the main countries identified, to single out those companies that might be interested in distributing Italian chemicals for agriculture.

Following the survey, they held a meeting with the client company during which it was decided to start from Senegal.  They made this choice as Senegal is the country in West Africa where registration of products is most complicated, due to complex customs regulations and the fact that the sales network is mostly made up of small operators.

Subsequently, the manager went to Senegal to better understand the country’s market potential and its specific sales and distribution situation. The research confirmed the initial hypothesis: Senegal turned out to be an interesting market for our Italian client, especially as far as some specific products were concerned.

A business plan was drawn up, highlighting considerable potential for both the client company and the chosen distributor. It focused on the sale of products particularly suitable for Senegalese agriculture. A local distributor was identified and a contract was signed.  There then followed a six months’ trial phase, working with a local grower of tomatoes and onions, to test and promote the selected fertilizers.

The goal of this phase was to allow the products to self-promote and to convince both large and small farms of their quality.

Given the good results this strategy promises, two more African markets will be scouted using the same commercial approach.