Channel Partner Comparison: The pros and cons of working with these Nigerian business partners

Nigerian business partners

Relationships make up the fabric of society – we depend on and put our trust in others on a daily basis. Whether you’re putting your trust in the train conductor or bus driver to get you safely to and from work every day, or in your secretary who handles the various important correspondences that make their way in and out of your office regularly. You will depend on that same level of trust when working with your Nigerian business partners.

As a multinational executive, when it comes to conducting business in Nigeria, finding trustworthy business partners that communicate effectively and complement your team’s expertise is crucial to your success. As a new entrant, your company will need to find Nigerian business partners who can provide you with insight and guidance when it comes to navigating the Nigerian market.

Doing business in Nigeria is unlike doing business in any other part of the world. Locating and entering into a partnership with a firm that has the local expertise required to avoid the prevalent pitfalls of the Nigerian market, while also taking advantage of potential market opportunities, is essential to your organization’s success in Nigeria.

As a multinational executive in charge of expanding your organization’s presence in Nigeria, excelling at channel management is important to your company’s success. Highlighted below are the pros and cons of the business partnerships you will come across when looking to conduct business in Nigeria. This information will assist you in identifying what type of partnership will best suit your company’s needs and goals.


Distributors and Resellers

Distributors are typically part of a supply chain connecting the manufacturer and the end consumer. Therefore, distributors are more geared towards companies that sell products rather than companies that provide services. Resellers, who reside a little lower down the supply chain from major distributors, are looking to do exactly what their name suggests, they purchase items from a company and resell them for a profit.

Entering into a commercial relationship with these Nigerian business partners means that your company will benefit from their geographic and industry-specific market expertise while operating in Nigeria. Furthermore, these partners have a wealth of experience and knowledge on how to deliver your product to your end users. They also already have a customer base that can be easily targeted for the sale of your product.

However, some distribution companies might not be equipped with the financial resources to take on new products, and even when they do have the finances to import and distribute for your company, you will have to do a good job to provide them with the proper incentives to prioritize your product over the products of other companies



Although consulting firms in Nigeria might not have in-depth experience in all sectors or industries in the Nigerian market, they are, however, able to give you a more general idea of how the market is laid out because of the diversity of projects they work on. A consultant can bring an edge to your team by leveraging their local knowledge and expertise to create successful marketing strategies, which will ultimately increase the sale of your product or service in Nigeria.

With that said, it is important to keep in mind that the experience these Nigerian business partners have is sometimes limited to specific industries. Also, identifying how credible the firm is, especially relatively unknown consulting agencies, can prove to be a challenge. This risk can be high when you consider the fact that the fees associated with hiring a consulting firm must be paid regardless of the value your company receives in return.

Consultants are, however, a good starting point for anyone looking for guidance in the Nigerian market, as they can be the first contact that assists with your team with little operational tasks and helps you identify other credible business partners.


Sales Agents

Sales agents are a different breed of business partners in that they are the bridge between the manufacturer and end user. They are driven by sales-based incentives that ensure the sale of your products. Unlike consultants, sales agents make a commission, which is a certain percentage, on the total sales of the products they manage to sell.

While this Nigerian business partner may seem like your best bet because you are able to get the benefits of both a distributor and consultant in one agent, there are still some downsides. One drawback is that the sales agent your company chooses might not have the adequate sales and marketing skills required to sell your products and meet your sales goals. Also, your sales agent, depending on the number of clients they have, they might not prioritize your company’s products, which can translate into them not pushing for exceptional sales numbers.


Business Manager

If your company is looking to have a local presence in Nigeria, hiring a business manager to oversee the office’s daily operations is crucial. On one hand, employing a business manager will help ensure that the actions needed to accomplish important business goals are executed.

On the other hand, the manager will be a full-time employee who will then be listed on your company’s payroll. Therefore, you should consider whether or not you have or if it’s worth it to devote the resources needed to maintain this type of partnership.


Bottom Line

All of the business partnerships listed have their pros and cons that you should remain aware of as your company selects the most beneficial business relationship to engage in. The choice will ultimately come down to your business priorities and the expansion plan your company has already laid out.

Moving forward, make sure that you assess whatever entity you choose thoroughly by incorporating detailed phone conversations or in-person meetings as a way to gauge your potential partner’s credibility. By doing this, you increase the likelihood of choosing Nigerian business partners who you can trust and who have your company’s business goals in mind.


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