Some time ago, we wrote about the Pros And Cons Of Partner Sales in Germany.
In addition to that there are two bullets, we would like to add.
Type of Partners
In the B2B enterprise space in Germany we actually see 2 different types of partners you can use to work the German speaking markets
Value Added Resellers/System Integrators
They use your solution as a part of their solution. Their motivation is to sell their part of the solution but also earning money on selling your part of the bundled solution is nice as well. Ie. System integrators often measure the success of a deal on how many man-hours are sold, not revenue, since their margin and differentiator is on services. Understanding the win-win motivation is critical in making these kinds of deals. The behavior within the German market is very similar to other markets.
Expecting reseller margin to be sufficiently motivating is a common mistake. Another is to assume that a VAR/SI is good at selling — many are just great at implementing and rely on partners to generate leads. The final common mistake is to assume that winning over a partner channel manager will result in individual account managers presenting your product — most Account managers would say their problem is budget and not lack of solutions to offer them.
When they work, you get local knowledge, so existing customer base that starts with some implied trust, and local implantation and support.
Industry experts respected in their domain can refer you to their network. They will often want an introductory fee and/or a percentage of any deal. DACH markets tend to have less respect for the ‘hustle’, so this type of introduction agent is slightly rarer but still effective. Like all markets, it is always import to limit their scope on the service you want– often such agents believe they should lead the entire sales or even the entire go to market strategy.
Recruiting such a Partner
Recruiting a partner is similar to recruiting an end-customer. 2 possible ways: relationship-driven or systematical.
Value added Resellers and System Integrators can be targeted in a systematical approach. Based on their profile (domain space, technologies used, type of customers served, etc.) you can source them pretty good, and identify the contact persons you want to present your solution. You can reach out to them via email. That is scalable. We help our clients quite a lot with special outbound campaigns for their partner acquisition.
Referral partners can’t be usually found systematically. The techniques are more like recruiting executives. In the DACH market, a formal market entry consulting company might offer this service within a larger package of services, but individuals are still the majority of the people available. Going after them requires a very personal approach. Grey-haired executives, consultants, and business development people are usually the best people for this type of work. They tend to be highly social, so ask for referrals from prospects and other companies in your industry. Also, face-to-face conferences usually have a lot of these people.