German Expansion: Who Shall Be Your First Employee?

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Let’s say you’re a U.S. company looking to expand your business. Germany’s a big fish. It has its own problems, yes — all countries do — but let’s face it: with Brexit and its repercussions, London is no longer your best play in Europe.

If you want to work the German market, what skills do you want to employ first? Let’s do a quick assessment.

Who shall be your first employee?

  • A senior country manager?
  • A senior sales director?
  • A seasoned account executive?
  • A motivated (young) lead generation person?
  • An experienced business development anchor?

That’s a beginning list — there are more roles you need (presales, customer service, marketing, etc.).

Now let’s move to the problems. (Sorry.)

The first problem is that to be successful in a market like Germany, you need all five of these — and more.

The second problem almost runs counter to the first, though: you don’t need all of these people full-time, especially not in the beginning.

And this is all tied to the third problem: if you set up your own sales office, it’s hard to dynamically scale that team over time. Instead, you will ramp up slowly, adding one person at a time. It gets expensive.

When your first hire is a senior sales director he won’t be able to generate sales leads. If your first hire is a motivated lead generator he won’t be able to close deals.

You want the big fish that is Germany, but ideally you’d like to do it with (a) some expertise and (b) not a ton of cost. What’s the play?

Outsource your sales to specialized firms and not to individuals.

Look, outsourcing is a bad word to some in business. We all believe in ingroups and outgroups, and outsourcing implies that jobs are going away from our “in” group and towards someone else. But outsourcing is not a bad thing if you do it right. In fact, it’s how most businesses achieve competitive advantages.

You work with a local sales outsourcing company (like us). We provide scalable outbound services, such as:

  • Market expertise
  • Business development
  • Lead generation
  • Sales execution

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We’ll even walk you through another “secret sauce” aspect of winning the German market: testing your approach in Austria.

Here’s the final benefit to the outsourcing approach in a German market: it actually saves you a lot of money. See, outsourced/scalable teams are well-rehearsed and self-managed. If you scroll back up to the five roles you need to enter a market like Germany, you can likely eliminate the first two — country manager and sales director — in this setup. A well balanced team with all skills needed at the right time at the right scale. In total not more expensive than hiring a single sales manager.

If you have questions about what this looks like at an execution level, definitely reach out. We love helping people start to master this market – see our Go-To-Market Essentials.

 

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