Expanding your SaaS business across Europe is the dream, but it can become a bit of a nightmare if you’re not fully prepared. For SaaS companies looking at expansion, Germany is undoubtedly where it’s at. With around 83 million residents and being the world’s fourth largest business economy, Germany is generally the first port of call for SaaS companies who are looking to expand into Europe. Sadly, more often than not, these ventures fail – and it’s more than just a lack of knowledge of the German SaaS market or being in the dark about local competitors and common practices that is to blame.
In its continuing series on the German SaaS market, Abika investigates what could make or break your ambitious expansion plans by looking at some of the biggest mistakes to avoid when trying to introduce your brand to German software buyers.
No One Speaks The Language
While in some countries, an entirely English-speaking sales team isn’t going to be a massive issue, in Germany, that’s not necessarily the case. New customers here are unlikely to take meetings unless in their local language, and even if they do, chances are they will be less open to doing business with you. If you’re looking to expand into Germany, one of the most important factors is that you have employees who can speak lingo – particularly when it comes to business meetings and cold calling. Native speakers will have a much easier ride when it comes to gaining entry into the German SaaS market, as potential buyers will know that it likely means you have a deeper understanding of their market culture, unwritten rules and codes of conduct.
You Don’t Have A Good Enough Database
It’s no good just randomly contacting German company switchboards and hoping for the best (even if you do speak the language!), so a good database of buyers with all the relevant names and direct information of the people you need to speak to is essential. Not only are things going to run much more efficiently if you don’t have to go all around the houses to speak to the person who makes the decisions, you’re also going to look much more professional and like you’ve put some effort into your research – making you a much more favourable company to do business with.
You’re Not Practising Good Sales Engagement
In Germany it’s common practice that you reach out via email before calling, and if you’re contacting more than one potential buyer at a time (which you should be), you need to make sure that this process is undertaken efficiently. We recommend automating this process if you don’t already, by using a system that sets up customised templates so that you can send more one-to-one emails at any given time.
You’re Not Bothering With Integrated Campaigns
Even if your telemarketing efforts are top-notch, in order to crack the German SaaS market you’re going to need to pull out all the stops when it comes to digital initiatives. Be sure to use inbound marketing and content to support your leads before you even pick up the phone in the form of blog posts, webinars, landing pages, e-books and customer reviews. If potential buyers have all of this at their fingertips before they’ve even spoken to you, you’re much more likely to be granted a meeting. SaaS companies that use integrated campaigns that fuse traditional telemarketing techniques and inbound campaigns are much more likely to get their brand out there into the consciousness of potential German buyers.
You Scrimped On Your Market Research
The German SaaS market is less likely to be open to trying new software than some other parts of the world, so evaluating the market and doing your research is vital if you want to establish a brand here and get people buying your products. You need to be looking extensively into who your main competitors are, how they do their marketing and sales, what the cold calling culture is like, does the company like web meetings? Will they attend events? Who makes the decisions regarding investments? Knowing the answer to all of these questions is going to give you a clearer idea of where you need to focus and concentrate your efforts in order to successfully sell to German software buyers.