We have worked with several companies over the years in Mexico and one issue that seems to plague many companies is a lack of proper salesforce coverage. There are several factors that play into this situation in Mexico and language seems to be a large cause to this phenomena. Most companies in the United States of America who export to Mexico have an International Sales person who may or may not speak Spanish. Additionally, even if they do speak Spanish, they are U.S. born or come from countries other than Mexico. Why does a non-spanish speaking sales manager or non-Mexican create a problem when setting up sales structure? We have identified two reasons for potential errors; 1. Lack of Spanish language ability and 2. Lack of geographic understanding of Mexico.
Lack of Spanish speaking ability automatically will push an international sales department to look for sales representatives in country who are bi-lingual. The sales manager probably wants to learn the language but let’s be real for a moment, that takes a lot of time, dedication and in addition, technical Spanish is different from everyday street language. If we look at the amount of bi-lingual Mexican nationals, the closer we get to the US border, the more bi-lingual speakers you will find. It’s pretty simple, the market adapts to local needs and border towns cater to gringos who only speak English. Hiring a representative based on their English speaking ability is about the worst decision a company can make but it is a very common practice. Several companies I have worked with have been dealing with sub-par representatives and when I ask, “how did you choose your representative” one of the most common answers is, “he speaks great English”. Let’s think about this for a minute…you are partnering with a representative who is assumed to have local knowledge of the aftermarket yet your number one reason for hiring he/she is based on his/her English skills, not confirmation of their market knowledge? When hiring a representative, your main concern should be what doors that representative can open for you with strategic client partners.
Geographic understanding of Mexico is another main cause of sales coverage mistakes. You may have a great sales rep in Tijuana, Mexico but how can that representative provide the same service level in Puebla…1,800 miles apart? Maybe they have someone else covering Puebla, have you verified? We have run across several companies who have sales representatives located along the border and those same representatives are “servicing” central Mexico accounts. The funny thing is that if you look at a map, that means the representative is driving 1,000’s of miles between cities, not too likely to happen. In addition, not understanding where the vehicle population hot spots are in relation to sales representatives can also cause underperformance. For example, Mexico City metropolitan area is comprised of 22% of the countries population and 20% of the vehicle population. If you don’t have a sales person focused on the metropolitan area, you are by default foregoing sales opportunities for 20% of the market.
Cima International not only understands where the vehicle population resides, we also understand where the strategic potential clients are located and the best set up of salesforce to manage these accounts / territories. Let us help you today.
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