B2B matchmaking: what you need to know?

Business to business(B2B) matchmaking is a popular service offered by local or international agencies and government exporters support organizations. The idea is to make people from different countries meet each other, start business relationships and (potentially sign a contract). Those who tried to order B2B matchmaking service know that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Here we mean that companies might start a collaboration or not.

Why and how to increase the chance for success of a B2B matchmaking mission?

  • B2B matchmaking servicesPay attention to who claims that he/she has the contacts and can help you with B2B services. Does this person or company know the market? The language? The industry? Does this person have references? What are the projects this consultant/agent has completed? If you see some information on the website, don’t hesitate to ask about other clients’ contact details to verify the case.
  • Does this agency offer “after-matchmaking” services? Some agencies are specialized only in B2B meetings and don’t care about your support after that. If not, this is a red flag. Also, please be aware, that business meetings are not the end of the export-selling process. It’s just the beginning. It’s often a mistake to believe that you need only the right contact/contacts in a certain country. The communication process, contract follow-up, marketing plan, and relationships with this party are important. Who is going to do this after the meeting?
  • All said above is especially important when we speak about B2B matchmaking with a representative of a totally different culture. The author had an experience introducing a company from one of the Baltic countries to a businessman from Japan. After the meeting, he noticed that a top manager of the company had a black T-shirt. For the Japanese, this would be a signal: the production site of the vendor is dirty! This is extremely important to do the “homework” on local culture, traditions, etc. Otherwise, some joke or topic choice might destroy all the efforts of a matchmaker.
  • Sometimes two good companies meet each other and want to start a collaboration. However, it still might not work. Why? Because of the local market reality. For example, local distributors (objectively) need a much bigger margin than a vendor can afford to provide. It’s hard to find a compromise in this case (see this article for trust building). Or local retailers expect listing fees paid and it’s too expensive for the vendor to make a product listed. Prior market research is needed to verify it all and confirm that the market for this product/service/technology exists in this country.

Long story short, please don’t expect that a person who promises to match you with the “contacts” can make a miracle. Even a qualified B2B meeting is just the beginning of a long process of export and distribution.


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