Fact: Every global market you can play in is different.
But then we come to our first fiction. There are thousands of articles online about the various specifics of the German economy. Only a few of them actually speak to the specific core differentiators of doing business in Germany (and broader DACH).
Let’s level-set that. What are the five things you need to know specifically to be successful in the German market?
The German sales cycle, in part driven by the psychology of Germans themselves, is usually about 2-3x longer than a U.S. / North American sales cycle. That can frustrate sales principals, but there’s good news: Customer loyalty is about 8-10x than U.S. / North American norms. Basically: it takes longer to acquire a customer, but you have a greater chance of keeping them and reducing customer churn.
This matters a lot closer to the beginning of a sales cycle. As you get further down the funnel, it tends to matter less. If you have a BDM or Inside Sales person who can fluently speak DACH languages, you will be good here. When it’s closer to “closing” stages, English is increasingly acceptable.
DACH is largely a manufacturing region
That’s been the traditional strength of the area — which is a bit of a concern recently as auto production is dropping. This is more about psychology, though. Buyers who have come up in an manufacturing mindset want to know what they “get in their hands” for the money they’re spending. This means that proposals and contracts need a complete list of deliverables and a good chunk of KPIs.
Germans are not willing to pay for country legislations
Example: per diems for Germans are around €30 and per diems for most CEE (Central and Eastern European) countries are €50-70. It’s hard to convince a German customer to pay an engineer from Croatia almost double his own expenses.
Stability is crucial
The DACH economy is one of the most stable in the entire world since the end of World War II. (Which might seem paradoxical at first.) Buyers in DACH don’t like risks. They want stable, long-lasting products and services. Show them that you are capable to maintain and support even after the initial sale. The support side of the equation is where you drive the 10x customer loyalty over other industrialized areas.
These are five of our biggest differentiators in the German/DACH market.