Success story: Dongan

Navigating Success in the European Market: Insights from Dongan
Europe’s thriving economy presents an excellent opportunity for business growth. Steve Polonis, Executive VP of Sales at Dongan, exemplifies this potential as he shares how their partnership with EuroDev has been instrumental in driving their company’s success and expansion throughout Europe.

dongan, sales outsourcing


Can you give us a short introduction about yourself as a partner and explain your interest in expanding into Europe when you started working with EuroDev?

We had some prior experience doing business in Europe, but it was somewhat hit or miss. We had been actively searching for a salesforce to promote our products and facilitate expansion. However, finding the right independent sales representative in Europe, similar to how we operate in the US, proved to be very difficult. Such a model didn’t seem to exist in Europe, or at least not in the same way that it does in the United States.

When your team approached us, we began to consider whether having a local presence in Europe could truly benefit our business growth. We recognized that having a dedicated group in Europe that is focused on identifying potential customers we wanted to pursue is different from the distribution model we typically employed in the United States. Your efforts in finding and connecting us with the right consumer base have been incredibly commendable and have significantly contributed to our success in the European market.

Were there any major challenges that the sales outsourcing team assisted you with overcoming?

Sales outsourcing has been instrumental in identifying potential customers and facilitating connections with decision-makers who open doors for us to explore new opportunities. Most of our meetings have been highly successful and led to us getting in touch with the right people and customers who are interested in purchasing significant quantities of our product. This focus on qualified leads is crucial because we aim to avoid spending valuable time on small businesses that may not yield substantial returns.

Moreover, the outsourcing team ensures that all gatherings and meetings are efficiently organized. They provide a well-prepared itinerary and plan the entire trip, leaving us with a thorough and clear agenda for the entire trip. This level of organization has contributed to the overall success and effectiveness of our sales efforts.

Did you have any surprises or unexpected challenges you encountered while entering the European market, such as cultural differences or language barriers?

At times, we have been surprised by the language barriers in certain European countries. Despite English being widely spoken across Europe, we have encountered situations, especially in France, where communication can be
challenging. Fortunately, EuroDev’s team, has a very diverse staff able to speak a variety of languages, which has been very helpful when navigating these situations.

One surprising observation has been the difficulty of breaking into the German market. We found that Germans often display a strong preference for purchasing German products, making it a tougher market for us to penetrate. In contrast, other European countries seem to be more open to exploring products from different origins. This preference for local products in Germany has been an interesting and unexpected aspect of our experience in entering the European market.

Based on your own experience and reflecting on what you know now, what recommendations would you give to a company considering expanding to Europe? Are there any insights you wish you had when you initially started the expansion process?

Our initial approach was somewhat like a shotgun approach, where we lacked a clear understanding of the specific markets and their evolving dynamics in Europe. In hindsight, we would have really benefited from conducting more comprehensive research prior to starting the expansion. We really should have focused on narrowing down our target countries based on their markets.

Interestingly, the UK market has been a bit of a puzzle for us, as we expected it to be a logical fit for our products, but we have yet to achieve the desired penetration there for some reason. On the other hand, we have experienced remarkable success in certain countries that were not on our initial radar.

During some of our trips, we found ourselves ping-ponging around Europe, covering multiple countries in a short span. A significant challenge that we faced during these trips was the time lost during frequent flights. Though Europe may seem compact, it is essential to realize that traveling between countries can be time-consuming. If I could redo it, I would have planned these trips more strategically because of our newfound understanding of the importance in efficiently planning our travel logistics to maximize our time with customers.

Do you find that having your boots on the ground makes things easier?

Absolutely, having a presence on the ground is incredibly beneficial. It enables smoother coordination, given that most European countries operate within similar time zones. Moreover, dealing with fellow Europeans who understand the local business landscape can simplify communication and decision-making processes.

For example, Tom and Elena were able to swiftly arrange and attend a meeting with a customer in Germany. This level of coordination and proximity would have been challenging for me to achieve given my logistical constraints. Undoubtedly, having boots on the ground creates an advantage in operation management and efficiently seizing opportunities.

Is there any additional information you would like to share?

Throughout our partnership with EuroDev, we have noticed that everyone we have worked with possesses a solid understanding of our product. On top of this, they excel at knowing the markets and regions where our products are best sold. This approach has been immensely valuable to us, throughout the initial stages of our partnership to where we are now.

We have been fortunate to work with Tom and Elena, both of whom are remarkably attuned to identifying potential customers. Tom, in particular, stands out with his proactive attitude, always eager to ask, “How can I better facilitate business for you and what are your specific needs?” It is evident that EuroDev has the bases covered when it comes to understanding our market and locating the right opportunities for us within Europe.

Ready to navigate your European road to success?

We would love to explore,  how we can best navigate your business in Europe together.