INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENTS ARE GLAMOROUS, RIGHT?
Some challenges associated with an international assignment include job security, readjustment upon return to the U.S. and adjustment to other cultures. Given these kinds of problems, is that international sales position being offered to we as attractive as it looks? Will it really help wer career? Particularly in relationship cultures such as China, relationship marketing, built on effective communications between the seller and buyer, focuses on building long-term alliances rather than treating each sale as a one-time event.
Designing the Sales Force
Based on analyses of current and potential customers, the selling environment, competition, and the firm's resources and capabilities, decisions must be made regarding the numbers, characteristics, and assignments of sales personnel. Distribution strategies will often vary from country to country. Some markets may require a direct sales force, whereas others may not. How customers are approached can differ as well. Once decisions have been made about how many expatriates, local nationals, or third=country nationals a particular market requires, then more intricate aspects of design can be undertaken, such as territory allocation and customer call plans. Recruiting Marketing and Sales Personnel
•Third Country Nationals
•Host Country Restrictions
The largest personnel requirement abroad for most companies is the sales force. The number of companies relying on expatriate personnel is declining as the volume of world trade increases and as more companies use locals to fill marketing positions. However, when products are highly technical, or when selling requires an extensive background of information and applications, an expatriate sales force remains the best choice. The chief disadvantages of an expatriate sales force are the high cost, cultural and legal barriers, and the limited number of high-caliber personnel willing to live abroad for extended periods.
The Internet and other advances in communications technologies, along with the growing reluctance of executives to move abroad, are creating a new breed of expatriate, the virtual one. Virtual expatriates manage operations in other countries but don't move there.
The historical preference for expatriate managers and salespeople from the home country is giving way to a preference for local nationals. At the sales level, the picture is clearly biased in favor of the locals because they transcend both cultural and legal barriers. They are also familiar with distribution systems and referral networks. The main disadvantage of hiring local nationals is the tendency of headquarters personnel to ignore their advice. Another key disadvantage can be their lack of availability. In many countries, sales positions are viewed negatively.
Third Country Nationals
Third-country nationals (TCNs), are expatriates from their own countries working for a foreign company in a third country.
Host Country Restrictions
The host government's attitudes toward foreign workers often complicate selecting expatriate U.S. nationals over locals. Concerns about foreign corporate domination, local unemployment, and other issues cause some countries to restrict the number of non-nationals allowed to work within the country.
Selecting Sales and Marketing Personnel
To select personnel for international marketing positions effectively, management must define precisely what is expected of its people. Effective executives and salespeople, regardless of what foreign country they are operating in, share certain personal characteristics, skills, and orientations such as maturity, emotional stability, breadth of knowledge, positive outlook, flexibility, cultural empathy, energetic, and enjoy travel. Selection mistakes are costly. When an expatriate...