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  Selling in an underserved market like Nigeria and Africa is very different compared to developed economies. While in developed economies, there are a lot of liberalization policies. Whereas in underserved markets, there are a lot of restrictions, which can be quite complex and difficult for a founder.
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Having your strategies is not enough if you haven’t studied the nature of underserved markets. This article discusses key insights on how founders can sell effectively in an emerging economy like Nigeria.
  • Make Alliances With Gatekeepers

One huge mistake uninformed founders make is to be critical of gatekeepers. They view them as detractors. Whereas this set of market stakeholders can be allied with rather than avoided. In Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa, gatekeepers are crucial enablers for purchase frequency in underserved markets. Gatekeepers are instrumental in granting access to markets and important insider information on purchase patterns in emerging markets, which affects purchase frequency. They are armed with market insights which can prove useful to founders who align with them. For example, companies in alliance with policymakers can get firsthand information about new policies that will shake the market, take proactive measures, and gain an edge over their competitors.
  • Cultivate The Right Sales  Capabilities

Another way brands can sell effectively in an underserved market is by developing the right sales competencies that build the trust of customers and gatekeepers.
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Hence, business founders must treat underserved buyers with a different approach compared to those in well-served markets. Therefore as an industry newcomer, you have to hold the hands of your customers before and after they have purchased your products. Moreover, customers want to buy from brands with solid relationships with local collaborators. For example, MedTech startups will have more customers purchase their products and services when they collaborate with gatekeepers and local stakeholders within the healthcare industry. Hence, one factor leads to another.
  • Target the Right Consumer Segment

If you are out to serve everybody, you’ll serve nobody. Therefore, founders and entrepreneurs must profile their target customers before selling. Although, profiling customers in Nigeria can be tricky due to the fluctuations in the Nigerian economy.
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Therefore, founders must develop a mechanism that monitors the market and customers’ preferences in real-time. For example, businesses are gradually shifting away from energy that pollutes the atmosphere to clean energy.
  • Modify Products or Services to the Buyer’s Aspirational Values

Finally, product and service founders must understand the aspirational value of their customers and design their businesses to meet these values. The big secret here is that every product and service provider occupies a space with the aspirational horizon of buyers. Therefore, to succeed as a new entrant you must learn to match the aspirational needs of consumers with the product. Therefore brands must research consumers and know what their value is about. Your sales team can develop a comprehensive marketing and post-purchase plan to get and retain consumers with the consumer’s information. Featured Image Source: Entrepreneur
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This article was first published on 14th October 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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