Aerosol drug delivery system provider Aerogen has been active in European markets since 2000, and the region now makes up about 30% of its total sales.
Here, CEO John Power shares his key pieces of advice to Irish companies contemplating exports beyond the UK.
The real key to success in European markets is having something special that they want. If you have a ‘me too’ product the purchasing decision will be based on price. You need to be offering a solution to a need in the market that is superior to what these markets have themselves.
A smaller company starting to sell abroad should go with a narrow focus and build from there. If you try to generate sales in several European markets at the same time you won’t have the bandwidth to service them. And if you don’t service them right, that will be detrimental. You’re far better off to procure one distributor in one market, get that off the ground and operating properly and then replicate this in other markets.
Don’t rush into selecting a distributor. Work long and hard on getting the right one for you in each market, as if you get this decision wrong it could work against you. Look for recommendations from other companies using distributors of products in your sector in the relevant markets.
If you really want to develop a market and distribution model in a European market, nothing beats having your own people on the ground to make sure a distributor gets the maximum amount of sales for your business.