The Temporary Export Manager to find new customers
The figure of the Temporary Export Manager has the task of accompanying the company towards new markets, which go beyond the limits of the national territory. This manager, however, in addition to an advantage from the point of view of increasing the company level, involves further details favourable to the company, which must be known to those who intend to pursue the idea of internationalisation.
The first real advantage in favour of the company is inherent in the very concept of Temporary Export Manager. Since this is a profession with a limited and fixed duration in a short period of time, the company will not have to bear the costs related to its recruitment.
The Temporary Export Manager
The role of this emerging figure is to explore foreign markets that are appropriate and in line with the production strategy of the small and medium-sized enterprise he is assisting, which has neither the skills nor the resources to expand into these markets on its own. Sometimes export, also known as outsourcing, is not convenient for the SME, either because it is incompatible with the markets or because it is not inclined to this type of activity. Sometimes, however, despite the fact that there are all the prerequisites to work well also in relation to the foreign market, the compatibility between the company and Temporary Export Manager is not high and, therefore, the success and effectiveness of the operation may not be ensured. Precisely for this reason it is important to know how to choose well the professional figure of the Temporary Export Manager: he must be inclined to identify with the present company organization and follow its working method; on the other hand, the company must trust the choices and decisions taken by this particular manager, and be ready to explore unknown markets and innovative working methods. The TEM figure is a dynamic figure. This is why it is often represented by young graduates, who already have at least two years’ experience in this economic field. Moreover, as a fundamental requirement, the Temporary Export Manager should have knowledge of at least two foreign languages, one of which must certainly be English.
The relationship between Temporary Export Manager and small-medium enterprise
The working relationship that is established between the small-medium enterprise that has decided to make this step of internationalization of its usual activity and the Temporary Export Manager, as the wording itself says, is temporary. This means that TEM, within two years, or at most three, must be able to create a company office that deals with the management of the foreign market. This office, once it is well established, autonomous and functional, is completely entrusted to the company, which must be able to internalize it, both from a management and organizational point of view. If the company is healthy and willing, the implementation of this new office and the new working methodology could take place in a few months. Much of the efficiency of this sales office depends on the manager’s ability to provide useful data. His or her know-how, the databases he or she provides, the tools he or she needs and even partnerships must be tested by thinking about what is the best choice for the small-medium enterprise, and the method must be the most functional, efficient and adaptable to the working methodology already present within the company. Specifically, the know-how imported by the manager is already customized to specific sectors, while partnerships are very important for the small-medium sized company, both from a legal and logistic point of view, without forgetting the interpretation part and on them the basis for the construction of the relationship with the foreign market chosen to try the export approach. The Temporary Export Manager is also required to provide the company with tools to speed up sales processes. All these innovations and future possibilities would not be efficient, and perhaps not even possible, if managed directly from the headquarters of the SME, via remote connection. The work in the field in these particular situations, in fact, is fundamental to achieve the set objectives, to obtain a greater effectiveness of the implementation you want to outline, but above all to stay in close contact with potential future customers and know directly the potential competitors. Only in this way the manager will be able to study the best market strategies for the company, which must be implemented according to the various future economic scenarios that will arise, both for the acquisition of customers and as a response to the counteroffensive of competitors already present in the market itself.
The advantages of being present in the company
The TEM figure, therefore, has the task of accompanying the company towards new markets, which go beyond the limits of the national territory. This manager, however, in addition to an advantage from the point of view of increasing the company level, involves further details favourable to the company, which must be known to those who intend to pursue the idea of internationalisation.
The first real advantage in favour of the company is inherent in the very concept of Temporary Export Manager. Being a profession with a limited and fixed duration in a short time, the company will not have to bear the costs related to its recruitment. The first advantage, therefore, turns out to be an economic saving for the small-medium enterprises not to be underestimated.
The second advantage, on the other hand, concerns the training and professional growth that is reflected in the company’s employees in following in the footsteps and methods of carrying out the work of this special manager.
The disadvantages linked to TEM
To the figure of the Temporary Export Manager, of course, are connected not only positive aspects, but also negative ones.
First of all, the Temporary Export Manager in order to carry out his work in the best way, in order to obtain excellent results for the small-medium enterprise, requires to travel a lot. Business trips, from the headquarters of the company for which he works to the various customer sites or to the sales office abroad that is “pertinent” to the small-medium enterprise, are necessary, not to say obligatory. Naturally, the various travel, board and lodging expenses must necessarily be borne by the company. For a small business, this factor could have a negative influence on the annual budget, depending on the amount of income with which it has to face these costs. This negative scenario will increase if, in addition, the expected results of the export activity and the search for new customers for the company are not achieved.
The second disadvantage is found only in those small to medium sized companies that do not have a sufficient number of employees hired and, therefore, are not able to support any subordinate to the figure of the manager. In this case, if the MET results are positive, the company will be faced with a crossroad: will it hire the manager and continue the export activity that has benefited the company or will it finally complete this sector?