For your business to succeed in Nigeria you have to find the most efficient way of getting your product or service in the hands of your end-user by building out a resilient supply chain in Nigeria.
Nigeria is a large market with a population of 200 million people. However, this does not mean that there’s a correspondingly large amount of people that need your product/service and are willing to pay for what you offer.
So you have to first filter through the market to find where your customers exist, then you have to find the most efficient and economical way to reach them.
The best way to do that is to build out your supply chain and sales channels across your major regions in the country.
Once you’ve done your due diligence and know your unique value proposition, the next step is to build your supply chain.
Here are some steps for you to do that:
Identify a local strategic partner
This is particularly important for international companies or new businesses in general. The first thing you want to do is identify someone or a company that you can work with.
A local resource that can help you move quickly towards your most important and immediate goals. This could involve finding a local distributor, a local sales agency, or a local marketing agency that can help you bring in your product and sell your solutions.
These local resources provide the expertise and a network for you to immediately plug into a supply chain in Nigeria.
A lot of businesses begin this process by finding a local business partner in one of the major states i.e Lagos or Abuja and then work with that partner to start building out their business in Nigeria without having to set up a local entity in the country.
Find resellers in cluster markets
The next thing you want to do is you want to find resellers in cluster markets. Start by identifying the cluster markets where the majority of your customers go to purchases for the solutions that you offer.
A lot of trade still happens in the traditional and open markets in Nigeria. Items found in these markets can vary from basic food items to complex items like electronics and computers.
Identify where your major regional cluster markets are and then within these cluster markets you want to identify the major sale markets – which could be a combination of formal and informal markets (open markets).
Once you identify these markets, then reach out to resellers within these markets to join your reseller or dealer network.
By building out this network you can sell your products and build out a distributed supply chain in Nigeria in areas that will give you the most return on your investment.
Hire a channel manager
A channel manager is someone that would be in charge of managing all resellers, dealers, sales agents within your supply chain in Nigeria.
This very important hire would be charged with the task of keeping all your resellers and sales agents motivated to hit monthly and yearly sales goals.
The sales channel manager will also be in charge of learning about the local distribution networks, and the most appropriate marketing strategies to use to help you to continue building your business.
These insights from your channel manager would be invaluable intellectual property within your organization that you can use as you find more efficient ways to build a more streamlined supply chain in Nigeria.
Build out attractive incentives along your supply chain in Nigeria
The next step is to work with your channel manager and identifying new points of expansion by building out the right incentives along your supply chain.
This includes sitting down with each of the key players within your supply chain in Nigeria and figuring out the best profit-sharing model that works for each person along the chain.
By designing a structure in which the incentives are aligned, you will have a supply chain where all the players are fully motivated throughout the year on a month-to-month and yearly basis.
This will also allow you to quickly identify any bottlenecks in your chain and growth opportunities.
Focus on priority markets
It’s easy to get distracted by new opportunities that keep popping up, especially in a growing and dynamic market such as Nigeria.
Once you have determined where you’re able to provide the most value, stick to the top markets which you know and continue to build in more value for your customer until you have solidified your market position.
By prioritizing the top markets, you reduce the chances of spreading your resources thin and losing a sense of direction. You want to be able to build on the initial momentum and continue to add value to the customers that are within your target demographic and within your top markets for growth.
Identify these top markets in your supply chain in Nigeria, and make sure you try to provide as much value as possible within these market before venturing out to capture opportunities in new markets.
Education should be incorporated in your strategy
A lot of adoption for products or services in Nigeria fails because of a lack of training and sufficient education for the end-user and resellers.
Within your supply chain and marketing strategy, you want to make sure training and education are prioritized.
Once training is properly executed, you are giving your products a higher chance of succeeding in the hands of your customers as it increases the initial engagement that they have with your solution.
With higher adaption, your satisfied customers become advocates for your solutions and this word-of-mouth marketing is crucial in boosting your business growth.
Make training a top priority as you build your supply chain in Nigeria to reap the long-term rewards of product adoption.
Prioritize after-sales service
Once your customer has a product in hand, and they have been fully trained, you want to make it easy for them to be able to quickly access customer service in case they have any issues with the solutions that they have received from you and your team.
Make sure this information is readily available through your website, through information packages that you hand out to your customers when they make a purchase.
By building this into your supply chain in Nigeria, you are reinforcing a resilient strategy for growth as your customers begin to associate your brand as the go-to resource for solutions around the problems they encounter.
By forging a strong customer relationship, you can learn more ways to add value and increase your revenue from a loyal customer base.
Own your supply chain in Nigeria as you grow
You want to build out your supply chain in Nigeria with a focus on owning that relationship with your customer.
This could involve bringing some of the expertise that you once outsourced in the beginning part of your business and bringing that expertise in-house. This could be logistics, marketing, or sales.
Be sure to bring all this in-house only if you know you’re capable of doing it better than the teams you outsourced it to in the first place.
If the outsourced team is more efficient at doing it, make sure you continue to strengthen that relationship so that both your business and theirs can grow together.
However, if you believe you would be improving your brand and providing more value to your customer by bringing some of those roles in-house, then bake this into your supply chain strategy and develop a plan to execute the chain without too much of a disruption of your supply chain in Nigeria.