China Strategy Consulting

Successful digital strategies for marketing and sales

Strategic consulting for digital business in China

How to position yourself for long-term digital business success in China

The Corona epidemic and the accompanying constraints (such as cancelled industry trade shows) have significantly accelerated digitization in business. Both suppliers and prospective customers are increasingly using digital channels for research and for marketing products and services. These developments will have a lasting impact on the marketing and sales activities of companies – but also on consumer expectations – e.g. by holding hybrid events or online streaming. However, this also results in considerable advantages for companies through efficiency increases (e.g., in online lead generation), higher transparency, as well as cost savings.

This is all the more true in China, where digitalization is part of everyday life and, as part of O2O (online-to-offline) marketing, is also linked with physical “offline” measures, especially via QR codes, to create a uniform multichannel user experience.

Key questions for building a digital strategy for China

If you want to develop a holistic China business strategy for the first time, you should take enough time to study the specifics of the Chinese market and audit your current situation and framework. For this purpose, you should consider the following questions, for example:

Ressources and know-how

  • Do you have Chinese staff and marketing expertise in Germany/Europe or German/English speaking staff as interface in China?
  • Are they familiar with the particular specifics of the digital landscape in China and have these been taken into account in your strategy?
  • Do they have access to global resources and can “localize” them for China (blocked services like Google Analytics, Ads, YouTube videos, etc.)?
  • How are your targets and budgets allocated – how much do you plan for branding, how much for sales? Which – sometimes contradictory – success factors (KPIs/metrics) do you measure?

Branding and brand development

  • You have a well-known and established brand – but how is the awareness in China?
  • What are the international and local competitors whose quality and popularity are continuously increasing?
  • How are your brands currently visible – do you have “brand sovereignty” in the most important digital channels and platforms?

Legal conditions

  • Do you already have or are you planning to have a local branch in Mainland China? (this also has a direct impact on your marketing opportunities, e.g. you can only host your website performantly in China and use certain services like mobile payment if you have a local entity).
  • Are your brands and products protected in China?

Digital marketing status

  • What measures are currently being implemented. Are the specific expectations of Chinese users being met?
  • How is the performance of the measures?
  • What does the competition do – what are “best cases”?

Current and future sales strategy

  • Do you have your own sales staff on site or do you work with sales partners? Do they work exclusively for you and what measures do you implement and how?
  • What does your customer base look like? Do you already use a CRM and do you have full transparency about measures, leads and customers?
  • What is the quality of your current leads? Which leads should be generated in the future – and how much are which leads worth to you (CpL)?
  • Are there automation processes for generating, nurturing and scoring the leads? How are the SQL leads transferred to the sales department?

Excursion: Chinese Business Culture

In the cooperation between Western/European employees and Chinese, there are also some cultural aspects to be considered in order to establish a good professional cooperation.

For example, Chinese sales employees often maintain their personal network (Guanxi / 關係 / 关系 ) in their personal WeChat account. The Western “solution” to this – the concept of CRM – on the other hand, is quite new to Chinese people, so they are often not used to entering their contacts into a central system and sharing them with everyone in a team effort.

Such reservations can also arise when a global HQ of the parent company as well as external consultants come along, e.g., to take up an audit and thus a perceived “evaluation” of past performance with the risk of a “loss of face” for the Chinese colleagues.

With our trilingual Chinese “native” staff as consultants and our more than 10 years of experience with international projects, we can play a decisive role in building trust and transparency on both sides and developing long-term synergies and constructive cooperation between the teams.

Objectives along the customer journey and the sales funnel

Based on your overall business goals, the marketing and sales strategies and the strategic framework conditions of the Chinese market, realistic goals can be developed for the next 1-3 years. Among other things, the number-based visualization of the sales funnel helps to derive the measures and resources/budgets necessary to achieve the goals.

The following sales funnel is only exemplary but calculated with realistic numbers and KPIs/metrics. For a holistic view, however, it would also be necessary to take into account, for example, in which phase of the customer journey your visitors come into contact with you – i.e. to what extent they already have a concrete purchase intention – and how the leads, once acquired, are further qualified, e.g. through automated content inbound marketing measures, towards sales maturity (SQL).

Exemplary digital sales funnel:

Exemplarischer Digital Sales Funnel

China digital growth roadmap

Entering the Chinese market is subject to complex cultural, technical and political conditions and therefore requires a long-term and sustainable strategy. Together with you, we can develop a “Digital Growth Roadmap” tailored to your company’s goals, resources and budgets.

After the initial strategy – which we regularly adapt during the year based on learnings – the first goal is to ensure a professional presence of your company and your products in China. Contrary to the “Western” digital landscape, WeChat is an absolute “must have” in China right from the start. At the same time, we set up the corresponding internal processes and structures for marketing and sales and connect them to your international systems in the best possible way. In the fourth phase, we build up initial learnings, test measures and campaigns, and optimize them on an ongoing basis.

The final phase then transitions into ongoing “regular operation” with the goal of continuously increasing the visibility and reach of your brands and products, generating more qualified traffic for your digital touchpoints, and ultimately increasing the number and quality of marketing- and sales-qualified leads in order to acquire new customers, retain existing customers, and thus generate additional revenue.

Exemplary digital growth roadmap (1-3 years, depending on the goals, resources and budgets): 

#1: Strategie

Establishing a sustainably successful digital strategy for China
  • Goals and success factors
  • Target groups / personas
  • Audits – external and internal analyses
  • Competitor analysis
  • Budget and resource planning
  • Operational implementation concept

Duration: 1-3 months

Budget: € 3.000-7.000

#2: Branding

Ensuring a professional digital presence in China
  • Designated Chinese website (Hosting, Speed)
  • Search Marketing
    (Baidu Ads)
  • Search Tools (Baidu Search Console)
  • Webcontrolling
    (Baidu Analytics)
  • WeChat official Account

Duration: 3-6 months

Budget: € 10.000-20.000

#3: Sales Basics

Establishment of basic, transparent sales structures
  • Introduction / connection (social) CRM
  • Training of Chinese employees
  • Development of lead generation and sales funnel (B2B e-commerce platforms such as 1688)
  • Customer service / Care

Duration: 3-6 months

Budget: € 5.000-20.000

#4: Learn & Optimize

Test, optimize and expand measures and processes
  • Content plan & testing
  • Landingpages
  • A/B-tests
  • Connecting offline & online (O2O via QR)
  • First marketing and paid campaigns
  • Tracking, monitoring, reportings
  • Business-workflows from/to China
  • Website localization
  • Development of first user base

Duration: 3-6 months

Budget: € 5.000-10.000

#5: Scale

Create additional reach, traffic and lead generation
  • Content localization, generation and seeding
  • WeChat Pro (Promotion Ads/KOL, H5-/SVG-Content, Mini Program, CRM, WeCom)
  • Baidu Properties
    (Baike, Wenku…)
  • Search marketing
    (SEO, 360, Sogou)
  • Video marketing / streaming
  • PR
  • Industry platform marketing

Duration: from 12 months

Budget: from € 20.000

From planning to implementation

Our services in the area of China strategy consulting & business consulting

China Marketing Workshop

Execution of kickoff workshops (de-en-cn) for the creation of an initial China business strategy in Germany and/or China incl. preliminary analyses and follow-up.

Digital business audits

Qualitative and quantitative analyses of internal and external processes and measures incl. evaluation of “best cases” as a basis for the creation of an own China strategy.

Strategy development

Creation of an individual, sustainably successful and operationally implementable China business strategy based on initial analyses as well as internal and external framework conditions.

Interim management

Interim management of the China marketing and sales team, recruiting, workshops, setting up processes and structures, localization of international strategy for China, operational campaign management.

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What clients say

Many years of experience and truly all-round service

Good reasons for eviom

We are represented on site in China.

eviom has its own office in China (Hong Kong) and can therefore also work directly with your Chinese branches.

Strong network in the Chinese market

As an integrated solution provider, we work together with local specialists and influencers and have direct contacts to players such as Baidu, Alibaba and 360.

Chinese native speakers in the German team

Our team at eviom is supported by employees from China and the wider Asian region with corresponding cultural and digital competence.

Expert knowledge

Our consultants and specialists are constantly developing their know-how so that we can offer you optimal strategic advice and operational implementation of your measures.

We’re here to help

Your contact partner

Do you have questions about our China Marketing products and services or do you want to get basic information about digital optimization measures? Simply contact us in German, English or Chinese – we will be happy to help you!

Nils Horstmann

Managing Director eviom China

Phone: +49 89 / 99 82 71 8 00

Wendy Li-Teichert

Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

Telefon: +49 89 / 99 82 71 8 00