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Top tips for preparing your business for Brexit – sales and marketing

Britain’s new relationship with the EU will require companies to revisit their sales and marketing processes in order to make sure that they align with any changes to market and product focus.

If goods are manufactured in the UK, there may be an opportunity to promote them as being British made to appeal to patriotic consumers in the UK.

Alternatively, an increased or renewed focus on international markets could result in companies having to refresh their brand in order to make sure that it is relevant for international buyers.

Maintaining sales with existing customers 

Conversations with key customers (cited in the product development guide of this series) should also be used to identify whether the marketing plans associated with existing products will still meet their needs post Brexit.

Any changes to existing products or the introduction of new ones will require companies to consider whether sales and marketing plans are appropriate or need to be updated to reflect a changing focus.

Top Tips

  • Review discussions of key customers to understand whether existing sales and marketing plans will be in line with any modifications to products and the introduction of new ones.

Pricing and getting your product to the end customer

Use conversations with key accounts to understand whether there will be increased problems related to getting your products to the end customer. 

It is possible that leaving the EU will require new paperwork administration, a slowdown in distribution and the introduction of trade tariffs.

Discussions with customers will allow businesses to understand how they will balance any potential slowdown in distribution. This may require businesses to consider additional warehousing to cover customs delays or schedule advanced deliveries with the customers building a larger buffer stock.

Contingency plans will need to be made should we leave on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms, in order to understand who would be responsible for WTO industry-specific tariffs. This may require contracts with customers to be updated to reflect changes to responsibilities and service level guarantees. 

Top Tips

  • If tariffs are introduced, discuss with customers who would bear the cost of these and what the resultant impact would have on the profitability and viability of existing products and customers. 
  • Consider whether there are new administration requirements. If so, assess whether your business has the internal capabilities and resource with existing staff.
  • Understand how a slowdown in supply will impact customers. Consider contingency arrangements (ie, advanced delivery scheduling, additional warehousing) to meet customer requirements.

Understand the needs of new markets

When  entering new international markets, companies will need to ensure that marketing and sales plans reflect the culture and nuances of local markets. This will require businesses to research these target markets, understanding market opportunity, routes to market, customer base, product requirements and specifications. 

Top Tips

  • Assess what competitors are doing in the new international markets targeted.
  • Engage with your regional international trade advisers to understand what Department for International Trade (DIT) support is available to research the market and develop an exporting plan.

Staff capabilities and resource

Changes to the exporting requirements of existing EU customers or entry into new markets may create additional administration and accounting demands.

Companies will need to consider whether they have the internal expertise and resource required to meet these needs. If not, they must explore whether there is a requirement to recruit, train or outsource to meet this need.

Top Tips

  • Assess whether you have the existing expertise to execute changes to sales and marketing plans.
  • Identify skills gaps to understand what training or competences potential new joiners will need to have.

Ensure your branding is still relevant

If entering a new market, assess whether your existing brand(s) is suitable for these new territories.

A move in the market to ‘buy British’ may also need additional marketing and brand support to maximise this opportunity.

Top Tips

  • Ensure the brand values and guidelines reflect any changes to existing markets or new markets being entered.
  • If entering new markets, consider the necessity of securing trademarks for the business’s product branding.

Additional sources

Other guides in the series