If you work as a sales manager at a B2B tech company and are thinking about expanding your B2B business to the DACH-region, you have a lot to consider. In this blog post I will share my best tips on what to consider when doing successful telemarketing campaigns in Germany. With more than 20 years experience in helping IT companies generate sales as well as being a German, I have some important learnings to share.
Want to learn more? Download this checklist on how to succeed with your telemarketing in Germany.
Let’s get into it!
Understand the culture
One of the most important factors to consider if you want to succeed in the German market is to understand their culture, since it’s very different from many other countries in Europe.
The Germans are very formal. Meaning that when you are talking to someone over the phone, it’s very important to spell out their full name including the title. Otherwise they might feel like you disrespect them. Another thing that aligns with the formality is to understand that they are very keen to follow rules. When it comes to doing telemarketing campaigns, one example is the GDPR and data protection in general. This is taken very seriously here, especially at bigger companies (comparing to other European countries). You are not allowed to record any phone calls and if you do, they must be deleted immediately.
Also, when you call someone, you always must spell out your name and the full name of the person you want to talk to. If you say it wrong, you won’t be connected. If you have not been in in contact with the person before, you might not be connected, and they will ask you to send an email instead. And you should be prepared that it can take a while to get a reply, they like to discuss with their colleagues first – which makes cold calling very time consuming.
The last thing to understand when it comes to the German business culture is that their organizations are very hierarchical. If you are in a meeting with a person and their boss, they might feel uncomfortable speaking.
Have a native speaking German
This is probably the most important factor. If you don’t have a German speaking BDR, you won’t have success with your campaigns. Most Germans do understand English but prefer to speak German since that makes them feel more comfortable. This is also about showing respect, if you meet them in their own language – you will show respect. This applies to all content, all communications (including emails, website, cases, etc.) should be in German, no exceptions!
But speaking German is not enough. There are a lot of different language variation, depending on where in Germany you are calling. It’s important to adapt to how they speak, how you say “hello” can differ a lot. I like to call this “the secret handshake”.
Understand the German IT manager
Understanding your persona is also key if you want to succeed with your telemarketing campaigns in Germany. Since our target group usually are IT managers, they will be used in this example.
First and foremost, IT managers receive MANY calls. So, you are in for a lot of competition. This means that it’s important to get to the point fast. You don’t have any room for being long-winded. You also need to put a lot of effort into being strategic about your campaign and put a lot of effort into the message. They are also a bit skeptical, formal and not very open minded. But, if getting your message right, most IT managers are very keen and curios to learn more about new products and services.
One tip if you have a hard time being connected, is to send out an email first. Especially now in Corona-times where most people work from home, it’s almost impossible to reach them on the exchange number. Sending an email (in German of course) first will make things a lot easier.
Two final tips you should know about German IT managers:
- Be on time
If you manage to generate a meeting from your call, one thing to remember is to be on time. It’s extremely important in Germany and you won’t see any euros if you are late to an appointment.
- Use Xing
One final tip about German IT managers is that many of them are on Xing. Even if LinkedIn is growing fast, Xing is a very popular platform in Germany. So, make sure to set up an account!
Do integrated campaigns – not only telemarketing
The last advice I want to give today is to not only do telemarketing. Where we see the greatest success cases, are when our clients run integrated campaigns with a strategic mix of traditional telemarketing and inbound campaigns. Integrated campaigns with digital inbound marketing and telemarketing will bridge the gap and enable better openings for phone calls, as well as strengthen your brand and guides prospects and existing customers further down the funnel.
What I mean with “integrated campaigns” is to support your telemarketing efforts with digital initiatives. That could be eBooks, customer cases, blog posts, landing pages, webinars, email nurturing and more. If you use inbound marketing and content to nurture your leads before picking up the phone, it will make the phone calls better and more likely to generate a meeting. If you want to learn more about inbound marketing read this blog post, if you want to see a customer case where we used and integrated approach check out this page.
In summary, if you want to succeed with your telemarketing campaigns in Germany, the most important things to remember is to speak German, adapt to the culture and support your telemarketing campaigns with inbound marketing. If this sounds overwhelming, contact us and we can help you with your telemarketing initiatives.
Do you want to learn more about how to succeed with your telemarketing campaigns in Germany? Download our checklist: