What do you need to know about getting sales leads in Germany?

What do you need to know about getting sales leads in Germany?

Let’s say you’re a U.S. company or coming from elsewhere and you want sales leads in the Germany, Austria, or Switzerland markets. What do you actually need to understand to get said leads and convert them to business? This is a quick guide.

Trust and relationship-building

Oh God, here come the buzzwords!

No, don’t worry. We’ll be good, we promise.

This is what we mean:

In US markets, traditionally the approach is — and this is only a bit overstated — “You have eight minutes to explain your value proposition, product, and what it all means for my business.”

German markets are much more about trust-based selling. You will see value- or feature-based selling, but it’s not normative.

The main consequence of all this is that sales cycles are longer, oftentimes 2-3x longer than you might see in the U.S. You really need to work the relationships and get to know the decision-makers and potential partners at a personal level. They will care about features and pricing, of course, but that’s not necessarily going to drive the sales cycle. You also need to budget for longer time from sales lead acquisition to closed deal/new partnership.

The positive aspect of trust is that is leads to loyalty. Comparing typical US customer churn rates to typical German customer churn rate justifies a longer sales cycle.

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How lead gen is different

In U.S. markets, we’ve seen 6-9 cold emails before a response or action. In German markets that’s about 3-4.

The duration between an unsuccessful cold call/cold email and the next one is about 2 days in the U.S. in many industries; in Germany it’s about six days.

BizXpand actually experimented with a number of different cadences from U.S. sales influencers in German markets. None of them worked particularly well, to be honest — nothing was close to even a 50% conversion rate. Over time, we created a “secret sauce” cadence that we’ve gotten up to about 80% conversion rate, which feels good. If you want to understand that, well, you’d need to come work with us 🙂

If you combine section 1 and section 2 here, the main takeaway is a need for more targeted information on your prospects and a legit attempt to build out a relationship. Just sending emails about features isn’t going to fly in DACH markets.

Our big takeaway (aside from hey, work with us)

Make sure messages are clear and to the point, make sure the aim of correspondence is to develop a relationship and not instantly start diving into features, and make sure your sales process makes sense and is manageable. Expect it all to take some time, yes; this is not a quick-fix sales culture.

What else have you seen when trying to generate leads or sales in the German markets? Did you read our Go-To-Market Strategy Essentials?


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