International Sales – Can Software Programs Help?


It’s much different globally. CRM is pushed by owners of companies, because CRM is a way to collect information about custom-ers and salespeople. And informa- tion is a corporate asset. So if a salesperson resigns, gets fired, or is hit by a bus, the corporation can still protect its database of knowledge. It can still know all about its customers, their buying habits, and all of the other things that you would put into a CRM database.

Overseas, with international customers, it’s very different. In relationship-oriented cultures, the salesperson completely owns the relationship. So if a salesperson gets hit by a bus, say, in Vancouver, it doesn’t necessarily mean someone else from the company could call that cus- tomer and say, “Hey, John got hit by a bus. Let’s do business.” Likewise, if the salesperson leaves the company, they’re much more likely to take their business with them.

The corporate argument behind CRM isn’t the same overseas, or even to our neighbors north and south of us. The salesperson’s view of CRM is, “This is a great place for me to store everything I know and I’m keeping it in one repository.” The problem with this is we make the leap that salespeople want to do this overseas. Salespeople, because they own the relationships, already know their clients’ infor- mation. They don’t have to stick it into a database; they don’t have to write it down. And they’re going to very protective about their own network.


  1. Hermila Frieler

    Bill Decker is founder and managing director of Partners International Inc., international business consulting firm. Bill consults in foreign and domestic market penetration, business negotiation, cross-cultural understanding, and marketing strategy fo…


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