August 1st, 2012

Richardson Expands China Operations – Shares 3 Valuable Lessons Learned

Sales Training

Growing sales and distribution capabilities into new markets is a major strategic undertaking for companies. Richardson has been working in Asia for nearly 15 years and have strong operations in the region. However, demand for our services from multinational clients working in China and large domestic Chinese companies outpaced our ability to deliver our sales training solutions from afar.

After careful analysis, it was clear that partnering with a strong domestic Chinese company would provide the most benefit when considering the costs, risks and time. Now, after an 18-month journey, we are pleased to announce that we just signed an agreement with KeyLogic, the leading integrated solution provider for personnel training in China. As partners, the two companies will collaborate and develop a full set of localized sales performance improvement solutions including assessments, customized sales training, and post-training sustainment tools.

PRN LV Snapshot July 31 2012 at 11`01`27

Las Vegas PRN Snapshot – July 31 2012 at 11`01`27

In the process of seeking out a local partner in China, we learned 3 valuable lessons:

1) Get serious, this is a huge commitment

The idea of a partnership seems simple. Just find someone and they’ll do all the work and send you a check. Over the past 5 years, we probably looked at over 20 potential partners for serving our clients in China. In the early stages of consideration, we were more opportunistic and impulsive than strategic. Maybe we’d get an inquiry through our website or meet someone at a conference. Nothing really materialized until we got really serious and committed to the initiative.

2) Set clear partner criteria

We set strict criteria to guide our decision-making process, which KeyLogic met or exceeded on all fronts. These included:

  • Successful partnering track record. KeyLogic is the exclusive partner of Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning in China. They introduced us to their contacts at Harvard and opened the door for us to ask some tough questions that reassured us they met our standards for integrity, professionalism and commitment.
  • Client-centric values. KeyLogic had their own criteria for choosing us. We both believe that clients come first in every aspect of our businesses, from solution design to delivery and support. We both recognize that every client is unique, and we tailor our solutions to meet their exact needs and maximize success.
  • Large existing client base. KeyLogic has an extensive client base of large domestic Chinese companies and works with many top executives in these organizations. Their clients recognize the need to evolve their sales organizations and are turning to KeyLogic because they have built a high level of trust.
  • Demonstrated commitment to succeed. Through the entire process, KeyLogic demonstrated a sense of urgency, resources, and understanding of what it takes to succeed. It is easy to view the world through rose-colored glasses. It was evident that KeyLogic was equally serious about finding the right partner and not forcing a relationship or settling for less.

3) Be patient and flexible, and think “win-win”

Even working with an experienced and motivated partner, the agreement took nearly 7 months to close. In this day and age, times zone differences and the occasional telecommunication issues caused challenges and delays. There were many details to work out, which required an understanding and openness to language and cultural interpretation. I’m fortunate to have worked in Greater China and have a sound (but rusty) foundation in Mandarin. It helped getting together in person and working through issues face-to-face, which provided the opportunity to send and receive positive signals that we both wanted to get the deal done. Then of course, there were the lengthy legal reviews and the need to keep our businesses moving forward – it just took time.

Now that the deal is done, we’re in the process of operationalizing the venture and getting ready for launch. This is a very exciting time for both companies and we’re looking forward to a long a prosperous relationship. The added capability and reach is a huge asset for Richardson.

About Richardson

Every day, Richardson works with sales leaders to help them execute strategic account management initiatives in their organization. We evaluate sales talent, create capability and consistency through world-class sales training, and drive change through your ranks. We know what works and what doesn’t. If you are a sales leader planning to implement a new strategic initiative, please call us at 215-940-9255, and we will be pleased to share these insights with you. To learn more about Richardson’s sales training and strategy execution solutions, please visit us on the web at

About The Author: Dario Priolo

As Chief Strategy Officer, Dario Priolo is responsible for driving Richardson’s market, product, and corporate strategy and planning — sharing critical insights with clients to help them win in today’s changing market place. Dario gathers intelligence and market and customer knowledge to: drive Richardson’s innovation; ensure that Richardson offers the best and most relevant solutions for clients that exceed client satisfaction; and raise awareness of Richardson’s extensive capabilities with sales and business leaders.

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