Business guides listing

Sales and marketing

Sales and marketing

Your checklist

Create a sales and marketing plan for your target market

You should set out an annual sales and marketing plan for each international market, just as you would do for your domestic market. 

An effective sales and marketing plan sets out:

  • Your sales targets for the year and how you'll achieve them
  • Resources required for your sales and marketing activity
  • Milestones over the year, to allow you to manage costs and monitor sales against target
  • Market research you may require to understand and segment the market
  • The specific sectors you'll target
  • Any market conditions you need to consider

Set out and prepare your marketing approach

Marketing to your selected target market will most likely include a combination of:

  • Digital channels - your website and social media tools
  • Direct marketing
  • Potential market visits
  • And/or appointing and working with your in-market partner – an agent or distributor

You should ensure your website caters for overseas enquiries from your target markets.

Another option is creating a landing page or pages in the country language to encourage better awareness and interest in your product or service. 

Your website should be simple to use and navigate, mobile friendly and be able to be found easily through listings on the most common search engines for your target market.

You should also use your social media tools – such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs - to drive potential customers to your website. 

If you are contacting customers/potential partners directly in market, find out which communication methods are most commonly used – email, phone or social media.

If you intend to visit the market or develop specific marketing material for the sector, make sure you research and take into account any language or cultural nuances. 

Identifying the right exhibitions and trade shows

As you develop each market, one option is to investigate the relevant trade shows or exhibitions for your product or service in the EU.

Attending or exhibiting at the right trade show can:

  • Raise awareness of your product or service
  • Allow you to assess the competition and how they are positioned
  • Identify new export partners or customers in market

We support key exhibitions and trade shows throughout the year which may match your target market. And can offer support for eligible companies to attend or exhibit at selected events.

Find trade shows in our events section

Alternatively, our free market research service can pinpoint the best exhibitions or trade shows in Europe for your product or service or find out which European exhibitions your competitors or customers attend.

Contact our market research team

Prepare before you go

If you're attending an exhibition or trade show in the market, use this handy checklist to make the most of your time there:

  • Plan and budget fully for the event
  • Ensure your website and social media are up-to-date
  • Promote your presence at the exhibition to key contacts and buyers in the market beforehand
  • Use the exhibition matchmaking service if available, or your own meeting scheduling software (readily available), to set up meetings prior to the event with your priority targets
  • Use social media tools such as Linked In to introduce yourself to key prospects
  • Have your question set and pitch ready for the exhibition
  • Prioritise your follow up after the exhibition to secure any leads or prospects

Getting the most from market visits

The advantages of visiting your target markets include:

  • Building your knowledge of how the market works and what your competition is doing
  • Opportunity to meet with priority customers face-to-face and deepen your relationship with them
  • Building your relationship with your export partner if you have one in market

If you're visiting your export partner, to maximise your time include meetings with your end customers, as well as using the time to plan the next stages of the market development with your export partner.

Plan any market visit well in advance. Set your objectives for the visit to then allow you to arrange your itinerary and ensure you achieve any priority research or meetings you want to undertake to build your sales in the market. 
We can help you to research and plan your market visit.

If there's a Scottish Development International (SDI) or Department for International Trade (DIT) office in the market, then build this into your market visit and discuss your future plans for expanding into the market with us.

Using a third party (an agent or distributor)

If you've appointed an agent or distributor, they should provide valuable input into any marketing material you prepare for the market.

Agree joint targets for the market with your partner in terms of sales leads and conversions. 

Look to work positively with your in-market partner and build a good relationship, passing on any customer referrals to them.

Work with them to develop sales in the market. And ideally spend time with them over the year, either through a market visit or bring them to your company to understand the product/service better and any training required.

Selling into the market

Having set your sales targets for the market, make sure you track your progress over the year, either directly or through your export partner. 

All sales enquiries should be followed up and qualified. You should undertake credit checks on large potential sales if you're selling directly.

For individual sales meetings, make sure you understand the selling process in each market.

Once you have made your sale, keep in touch with the customer, and seek feedback to allow you to adapt your product or service offering to the market.

As you develop your sales offering, identify your priority customers and ensure regular contact is maintained with these customers.

Contact us

Ask our experts about preparing an export plan.


All information provided on this web page is for general guidance only. The contents of this guide have been provided by our training partners, Upper Quartile. Upper Quartile is not affiliated with any of the third parties or listings represented on our website. Third party listings are drawn from public domain and industry body data sources. Due diligence on a given third party or listing remains the exclusive responsibility of the end user. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the details represented, Upper Quartile and Scottish Enterprise cannot endorse, recommend or accept responsibility for any transactions conducted between the user and a given third party or listing provided on this web page.