Export: the coronavirus is pushing SMEs to review their methods



After the brutal shock of last spring, exporting SMEs are finding a little oxygen. Auscultated this summer by the advisers of Team France Export 85% continue their activity abroad against 56% in April. Business is picking up steam, but often in a downturn. ” We no longer send a technician on site to assist customers with the installation of our custom air compressors », TestifiesLaurent Vronski, general manager of Ervor

(45 people) which exports 90% of its production to nearly 40 countries. This after-sales service is now carried out on screen, with technicians giving remote instructions. Not ideal, but the last French compressor manufacturer has no choice. To honor the contracts signed before the crisis, digital tools have taken over from business travel and a human presence, sometimes envisaged before the pandemic. Finally,ChooseMyCompany , which sells employee review software, will not open an office in Germany. ” We are recruiting three native German salespeople who will work from Paris by conducting their meetings by videoconference », IndicatesLaurent Labbé , founder of this company30 employees

. The same approach is programmed to attack the Scandinavian market. But the start-up has given up for the moment in the United States.

Replace Exhibitions and Fairs For companies from traditional sectors, finding customers abroad is even more difficult. And video doesn’t solve everything. “The most boring is thecancellation of all Trade Shows , such as the Hanover Industrial Fair, which generate a lot of international business contacts

», Worries Laurent Vronski (Ervor). His company usually exhibits at 4 to 5 major events per year. Certainly, to limit the damage, some virtual fairs have been launched urgently. Set up this month by Business France, a platform allows French fashion brands to present their offer online to buyers in North America. For the first commercial approaches, thevideo can replace a trip abroad . But at a more advanced stage, travel becomes essential, especially in industry. ” At some point in the sales process, the targeted customer visits the production site to assess our technical and industrial capacity. “, ExplainCharles-Antoine de Barbuat , president of Texelis. This mid-sized company (335 people), which exports its ground linkage and transmission systems (metro, military vehicles, tram) from Canada to China via Europe, hasfrozen its prospecting projects . A break that she took advantage of to explore new avenues. “ Due to budget restrictions, extending the service life of existing fleets is expected to create opportunities for refurbishment

“, Predicts the leader.

Export Recovery Check This will be the whole issue for the coming months: to take advantage of the openings that the pandemic has produced. “ The cards have been reshuffled and there are moves to play », Confirms Christophe Lecourtier, Managing Director of Business France, who invites us to rely on the new government support plan for exporting companies. Among the flagship measures, the strengthening of bpifrance guarantees for guarantees and pre-financing of projectsexport in order to secure cash flow. The plan provides for a one-year extension of current prospecting insurance. Since 1 er

October, SMEs in all sectors benefit from a new aid, the Chèque Relance Export, to facilitate prospecting procedures abroad. An individual service can thus be financed at 50% with a ceiling of 2,000 euros.

* Feedback from Team France Export teams between March 30 and August 21, 2020 to 8,061 companies.

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