The Nigerian market is a bustling place of commerce, but also very hierarchical in nature. As a multinational company that is looking to establish its presence in the Nigerian market using B2B marketing techniques, figuring out how to reach decision makers of these businesses is essential to your success.
The reality is that decision-makers are notoriously and understandably protective of their time. Chances are that your target decision-makers have several people and protocols in place to protect them from people who do not particularly add value to them or people that they consider untrustworthy.
Reaching key decision makers is a common hurdle to overcome for Nigerian business owners with a network in Nigeria, and it has posed to be even more difficult for new international firms entering the Nigerian market. Listed below are a few ways in which you can navigate the Nigeria market and connect with your target decision-makers.
Get someone to refer you.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” a few times in your career because it’s an accurate summation of the mechanics involved in selling to other businesses. In a business environment like Nigeria, the phrase still rings true, as personal referrals have proven time and time again to be the primary way of doing business in this country.
To secure referrals as a new entrant, try to identify your target decision-makers using online platforms, such as LinkedIn, by locating the decision-maker and seeing if you have mutual contacts that can facilitate an introduction. You can also reach out to your professional network offline to try and find a path to the decision-makers in question.
Attend industry and professional events.
Although initially getting a one on one meeting with your target decision maker may be unlikely, getting in the same room as the person is invaluable and can be a way to reach them. Since decision-makers are typically experts in their field, they can often be found speaking about their professional experiences at events such as industry conferences and forums.
Therefore, registering to attend an event that the decision-maker you’re trying to reach is also attending can be a good opportunity for you to interact with them in person. For example, if your decision-maker is a panelist at an event, introducing yourself and asking them a thoughtful question during the question-and-answer portion of the event can serve as a great icebreaker. Then, re-introducing yourself, speaking further, and exchanging contact information after the panel can be greatly beneficial.
Learn and follow their official communication protocol.
Offices typically have procedures in place that you have to follow to reach whomever you’re trying to contact. Although you might have to jump through a few hoops to connect with your target decision-maker, this method definitely works.
To learn the protocol on how to reach decision makers at their desks, call the decision maker’s office and speak to their secretary who will be able to give you the necessary information. The procedures you might be given will usually involve e-mailing a letter of intent, mailing a letter of intent on company letterhead, or by providing a personal or company biography. Follow the procedures in hopes that your value proposition will be attractive enough to the decision maker.
Cold call or cold email them.
Although not a common approach in Nigeria, cold emails or cold calls are another way to reach your target decision maker. Some suggestions on how to reach decision makers by cold calls and e-mails include sending an introductory email or making an introductory phone call that includes information about your company and concludes with your request. Also, prioritize establishing a trustworthy tone and mention situations that help highlight your company’s credibility and what the decision-maker will gain from giving you their time.
If you want your company to achieve any success in the Nigerian market, you will have to learn how to reach decision makers in the area. By using any of the techniques mentioned in this article, you are sure to connect with the right industry executives who can help secure your position as a new entrant in this market. Just make sure you continue to present yourself with a high level of professionalism, be respectful of the decision makers time, develop trust and be perseverant. Good luck!