Anas El Mhamdi - Growth and Co Founder @ XingZap
It can be challenging prospecting in a country that it isn't yours, but most of your strategy and processes will still be the same.
Of course, knowing the sales culture will always help and is very handy down the line when closing bigger accounts.
You also need to make sure your tool stack is still effective in your new market.
You might find that LinkedIn, which works so well to target and contact your prospects in the U.S. or the rest of the E.U., does not yield as much leads in Germany.
In worst cases you might even struggle to find your target at all !
It would be a real shame to leave the German B2B market behind though, because according to statista.com, it weighed a nifty 1.3 trillion USD on e-commerce only in 2019.
Fear not though, here are the keys and tools to a successful outbound B2B campaign on German accounts :
Cold calls are culturally accepted in Germany ! Be upfront and clear about who your are, and what you want.
You will find out that more often than not, personal numbers are not easily available, even with advanced enrichment data.
The number you will find will usually be general switchboard numbers or the sales department number who redirects you towards the department you are looking for.
I will say nonetheless that if you are used to outbound mailing, setting up a whole cold calling operation is probably not worth it just to try out the market.
The reason for it is simple : cold mailing work as well !
As a matter of fact, if you manage to get your hands on some business emails, they will still be the better way to get your proverbial foot in the door.
Of course, getting a German native speaker to look at will be helpful to spark better engagement rates.
If you already know about cold mailing standard, you can skip this section ! If not, take a look closely if you want to get started :
Do NOT forget to validate every single email and make sure they are GDPR compliant - exclude every single personal email. Go for NeverBounce or ZeroBounce, they are the industry standards in that regard.
You can ruin your domain's reputation and systematically end up in spam if you do not take these precautions.
Using an email tool is almost mandatory because they use sending algorithms to optimize your deliverability. Sending 300 emails by hand back to back is a definite one way trip to the spam zone. I'm not even talking about handling the follow ups...
Your best friends here can become Lemlist and Reply.io !
To go the extra step you can go further with an "email warmer" which reacts automatically positively with your content. This way, email provider spam filters will see your copy with a better eye.
I personally use Mailreach and it definitely gives a boost to open rates (up to 20-30% in certain cases).
Above all, copy writing best practices apply, i.e.
If you're not already convinced, i'll finish by stating why cold mailing is the absolute best outreach channel (in my opinion):
The only issue with cold mailing is ... weirdly enough, emails.
As mentioned in the cold call section, personal data is scarce in Germany. If you don't have the tools, you might be running low on leads fairly fast.
I personnally recommend Hunter, Dropcontact, Snov or Lusha to enrich your prospects, especially if you are used to Linkedin. Don't get your hopes up on the enrichment rates, because they're lower across the board in Germany.
A technique you can do (if you have the budget) is to cross enrich your prospects : just send to another service all the prospects with missing data after an enrichment with a first service.
That is why you should work with your business networking platforms in parallel: LinkedIn (of course) and Xing which you most likely didn't hear of until now.
These platforms will be your fuel to find cold emails, but they can also be used for lead generation as is.
You probably already use LinkedIn extensively, and the strategy you already have in place will not change if you're targeting German accounts.
The only issue with using LinkedIn in Germany is that there are numerous job functions and whole industries who use exclusively Xing.
Xing is the leading business network in Germany with a whopping 19 million active users and as much prospects to be targeted.
If you target prospects in banking, accounting, manufacturing or medical fields, Xing is definitely made for you.
To automate LinkedIn actions and export your prospect data, you have a ton of options out there : DuxSoup, ProspectIn, Phantombuster, ApiFy just to name a few.
When it comes to Xing, there was no tool until we launched XingZap !
You can easily target, enrich and export the crucial leads you were missing from LinkedIn.
You can check out more details or sign up on our homepage.
To attack the German market, you can still work your cold mailing magic with a touch of cold calling.
The bottleneck you are going to have with either channel is data : prospects, emails or phones.
For the prospects, LinkedIn still works wonder but the sizzle will be found in Xing.
The enrichment will work with your usual tools, although you will find a drop in your email and phone discovery rates.
You will find as promised the all the tools I mentioned here.
Contact me here if you have any requests !
And finally, you can join the XingZap waiting list down here:
Until next time,