Preparation for a Trade Mission

There are two sides to the preparation of trade missions, preparations at home and those in the market place.

There are a number of vital pre-mission activities which require a high level of attention to detail:

• Pre-mission marketing (promotional/educational events)
• Recruitment of high quality mission members
• Honest ‘vetting’ of potential mission members
• Marketing materials (company and key decision makers bio’s, brochure production & translation)
• 1-2-1 meetings (conference calls) between mission members and in-market team
• Mission itinerary and logistics (locations, hotel budgets, transport, reception locations, consulate/embassy involvement, visa advice)

It is important that the agency should recruit the right caliber of company to participate in a mission and this will require a level of promotion and education about the target market, especially if it is new territory to most of the members and particularly when there are cultural and language differences to be considered.

Often this is carried out at pre-mission events where interested companies attend to hear experts discuss the market in terms of opportunities, any differences in business culture, the effort and resources required to be successful.

The agency needs to assess the capability (both resource and financial) of the potential members, their ambitions for the target market, their level of planning and their desire to overcome the potential hurdles to ensure that individual members and the mission as a whole are set up to be successful.

Most importantly for the agency and companies is the participation in meetings with the in-market team who are charged with setting up an appointment itinerary for each company, which reflects their specific needs. Companies need to have a clear goal for their meetings in terms of the type of companies, people and outcomes they require, and must be able to supply the in-market team their own strong business case for the target market which will face the first ‘reality check’ by the in-market team.

Key mission objectives for regional agencies:

• Successful business entry/expansion for their mission companies
• High profile for regional special capabilities
• Medium to long term regional economic growth
• Development of local government and stakeholder networks
• Identification of collaboration possibilities
• Inward investment opportunities
Key Mission objectives for companies:
• Faster market entry
• Identify partner company
• Source agents/distributors
• Identify manufacturer
• Establish in-market presence
• Widen networks
• Support existing partners

In some cases the HMC team will be tasked with researching and preparing a market overview brief for some companies new to the region, which will involve market sector research, the domestic market structure, extent and success of foreign competition, typical channels to market and recommendations for a structured approach to market entry.

The most important part of preparation, to ensure both each individual company’s success and the overall success of the mission, is setting up the face-to-face meeting itinerary with relevant, qualified key decision makers.

Setting up a successful itinerary for each company this will involve:

• Sector research and segmentation to identify target partners in the various mission locations
• Outreach to know network of stakeholders (companies/sector associations/influencers/distributors/legal and financial)
• Outreach via social media to ‘promote’ the mission
• Direct outreach (e mail/phone calls) on behalf of the member companies
• Follow up qualification of interested partners to identify specific interest
• Management of meeting schedules into practical logistic itineraries
• Set agenda for both parties and prepare meeting briefs – then discuss with member companies

In parallel with all this detailed work, the HMC team will also be tasked with identification of suitable transport (airport pickups, reception arrivals, meeting itineraries), accommodation which fits budget and allows ease of transport, event venue choice (VIP receptions as required), coordination with Embassy/Consulate staff, arrangement of translation resources and HMC participation needed during the multiple itineraries.

Preparing a trade mission to a new market is a highly complex, multi-facetted operation and the key to success is largely in getting all of the above done in a timely, professional and clearly structured manner. We have great experience over many years of managing a wide range of missions and know what it takes to be successful.

Get in touch with the team, we will put your mind at ease before undertaking your next mission.


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