Outside of BizXpand, I do work with US based SaaS companies with their Lead and Sales systems. It is no secret that nearly all techniques used at BizXpand have their origins from the amazing innovation in Silicon Valley style SaaS demand generation teams. However, not all techniques transfer. Most need to be adapted and some cannot be used at all.
Recently we have had quite some interest from a number of VC backed Series B/C enterprise demand generation teams looking to enter Europe. While inbound strategies often need little more than language localization, outbound strategies are substantially different.
After a few discussions, I came to the conclusion that even the strongest outbound teams struggle to make the transition to Europe and often incorrectly assume the barrier is language.
Here are a few of our tips for any Series B,C US Based SaaS company looking to transport their highly successful outbound lead machine to German speaking markets:
- GDPR. No other country legally and culturally take this as serious. When we first started using outbound cadences (pre-GDPR even) we received several lawyer letters and had to pay fines despite the low volumes at that time. In the last years, we sent thousands of emails each week and have only had 2 or 3 GDPR requests that were all resolved without any escalation.
- German Language. We only use German messaging if German speaking salespeople are available. Today, Germany is a multi-cultural country, so we also look at names and predict if they might be more comfortable with an english language messaging– this is labor intensive, but seems to make a difference. When selling technology, English-only is not a major limitation.
- Low intensity / aggressiveness. For US clients, getting attention is the biggest challenge. Techniques like embedded Gifs, personalized videos are still too early for our markets. Instead you need to “warm them up” (various techniques) before you make a call to action (CTA) message. Also total messages and pauses between cadences need to be 2 to 3x less aggressive.
- Low Puffery / More facts. All sales are emotional but not all conversations are triggered by strong emotions. After 20 years in Europe, I still rely on Martin to tone down my emotional triggers in a CTA.
- Responsiveness is not a universal positive trait. While no one wants to be ignored or made to feel unimportant, the American focus on responsiveness can often backfire in this market. In fact, we find reply times (responding to the response from an outbound prospect) can often be delayed 1 to 2 days! In the US, 1 to 2 hours is normally a problem.
- German market techniques work in most of Europe. We have found little adaption is needed when moving a successful Germany market outbound campaigns to Benelux, Nordic, or even East Central Europe. (We know from experience that France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal should require more extensive adaptation so we usually only approach those markets after addressing all the other markets in Europe.)
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