Goldenhour 2024 24 min

How to Build a Demand Gen Engine in EMEA (and not go to jail)


US companies expanding into EMEA need to adapt their tactics to find success in a market with vary different regulations, as well as cultural norms. In this presentation, Tim Rath shows you how to adapt your demand gen strategy to be successful in DACH.



0:00

Maybe a quick question first. Who's tried going into market in EMEA from you?

0:05

Yeah, cool. And from those who put up their hands, who thought it would be

0:15

easier than it actually was in the end?

0:17

Yeah, no, cool.

0:21

So the reality is that executives often see the EMEA revenue opportunity as

0:29

really big. And honestly, they're not wrong.

0:33

Because if you're looking at this chart, and Andrew is actually sitting here,

0:38

that's also provided this with

0:40

pedal and profit well, what you can see here is the SaaS revenue growth by

0:44

region. And as you can see, Europe is actually leading the chart

0:47

with a more, three times more growth than actually here also in the US. So the

0:53

opportunity in EMEA is very, very big.

0:56

And maybe some of you don't know, but especially Daj is among the top five

1:01

economies in the world. So it's actually bigger than most people think.

1:05

So what usually happens is that companies do create a lot of internal buzz

1:11

around an EMEA initiative, right?

1:13

So that usually means, especially for American companies, very aggressive

1:17

growth goals.

1:18

And then also they introduce a bunch of proven tactics. Yeah, tactics usually

1:24

then look like this.

1:26

Copy and paste, US ad campaigns, change targeting to EMEA and let's go.

1:30

Maybe you can relate.

1:35

But what the fuck is EMEA anyway?

1:38

EMEA is actually almost one third of our whole global world.

1:44

And if you would guess how many different languages do we have in EMEA? Anybody

1:52

would like to take a guess?

1:54

44. Pretty good actually. So that's 58.

1:59

That we have. And I think most people would say that EMEA is one of the most

2:05

diverse melting pot of cultures.

2:07

So we have a lot of different cultures. And if we would now assume into EMEA,

2:13

the Daj region is

2:14

probably the one culture that also stands out and is so interesting to most

2:19

companies because the economy is just so big.

2:21

It is the biggest economy in EMEA. So for the sake of this presentation today,

2:27

I will be focusing on Daj because for most US and international companies,

2:31

this is the one region that everybody wants to crack.

2:33

So let's go back to the tactics again. We've looked at the copy paste play here

2:41

What happens next is usually that they create a company list of EMEA target

2:46

accounts,

2:46

copy paste, the outreach campaigns and go live.

2:51

I usually get emails sent with this subject line, quick question to him.

2:54

And the website I then look at is only in English.

2:59

Account executives usually sitting in the US, sometimes in the UK, that's

3:05

already a very advanced play.

3:07

And they only speak English, trying to sell to a German executive.

3:19

Who thinks that actually works? No one, cool. We're on the same page here on

3:25

that.

3:25

So we can all agree that cloning your proven US playbook for EMEA does not work

3:30

And another chart from Petal, thank you so much. Actually, not Petal, but Open

3:37

View.

3:38

But this is about pricing which Petal is also very deep into it. What you can

3:45

see here that,

3:46

and it's one reason why it doesn't really work because no one is actually or

3:50

almost no one,

3:51

half of the companies don't localize prices. But in Germany, we're not paying

3:55

with US dollars.

3:57

And there's a lot of other companies in the EMEA region that don't pay with US

4:00

dollars,

4:01

almost all of them. And this is just one example of the many that why it doesn

4:06

't work.

4:07

So now let's look into what's actually required to be successful in EMEA.

4:13

Like what does it actually take? And it does take a transformation in the three

4:18

EMEs. And I call them

4:19

mindset, market difference, and mechanics. And we're going to deep dive into

4:25

every single one of the

4:26

three. But before diving into mindset, I'd like to tell you a little bit about

4:31

me because I haven't

4:31

done so yet. So together with my dad actually four years ago, a little bit more

4:36

than four years ago,

4:37

I founded Yojaba, which is a revenue marketing agency in Dach. And I'm leading

4:42

a team of 50

4:43

stellar marketers. We work with over 60 B2B sales companies, mostly across

4:50

Europe, some US companies

4:51

going into Dach. And we're also the largest advertiser actually on LinkedIn in

4:58

Dach and I run

4:59

the podcast, which is very much focused on revenue marketing for B2B software

5:04

companies.

5:05

And why am I telling you this? We have a lot of data insights and experiences

5:11

because most

5:11

marketers are always dug into one account, their own company, and we see 60

5:15

accounts at the same

5:17

time. So we see trends that are happening very, very fast. And today my

5:21

presentation, I'd like to

5:23

share a lot of these. So let's dive into mindset. You have to transform your

5:30

mindset first.

5:32

An amir expansion is an evolution of your whole strategy. It's not a quick

5:37

tactic. If you treat

5:39

it like a quick tactic, it will not work. So how I'd like to think about it is

5:45

that in its original

5:46

market, we started building a series of bridges between its product and its

5:50

target market,

5:51

which means that for example, for a seed stage, you're building your ICP, your

5:57

building use cases,

5:59

and your MVP. And then in series A, you're trying to find product market fit,

6:02

you also achieve product

6:04

market fit, winning first customers, et cetera. And that's how you should think

6:07

about going into

6:08

market in a mere. So when entering Dach, start being and thinking like a

6:14

startup again.

6:16

Let's move to market differences. And there's two major ones I'd like to focus

6:23

on today.

6:24

First one is legal and the second one is the cultural differences, both very,

6:29

very crucial

6:29

and they serve as your foundation of everything else that will follow. Quick

6:34

disclaimer, I'm not

6:36

a lawyer. So I'll just be sharing our experiences before you actually go into

6:41

the market. Please

6:42

also advise with your lawyer. So let's look at the most common ones, right? GD

6:48

PR, PCCD, you've

6:49

probably heard about them. The GDPR is the general data protection regulation.

6:54

It's a regulation that

6:55

protects the fundamental rights and freedom of people concerning the processing

7:00

of personal data

7:01

and the free movement of such data. In German, we call it the Darden-Schodz-K

7:06

oon for Oblong.

7:07

Yes, that work actually exists. And then there is the e-privacy directive,

7:13

which contains specific

7:14

rules for electronic marketing and sales outreach. And here on the bottom, I've

7:19

put for you to

7:20

get, give you an easy way to remember this. So the GDPR basically tells you how

7:27

you should

7:27

regulate and handle prospects data. And the PCCD is a law about how you can

7:34

actually reach

7:34

out to prospects, how to do outreach, what's legal and what's not. So back in

7:40

the days when

7:42

people were doing door-to-door sales, no one was really interested in knowing

7:46

what people would do

7:48

with that data because it just wasn't relevant, right? But today, we have so

7:52

many tracking tools

7:53

and people are becoming more concerned about what happens with it. So everybody

7:57

does have a right

7:59

to know how companies actually track their data. And at any time, they can also

8:04

refuse that their

8:05

data is being tracked. So I think the good thing now is salespeople don't have

8:13

to be afraid of

8:14

getting the door slammed in front of their faces. But they have different

8:18

challenges. And the challenge

8:19

is to be compliant with the law, with how to do outreach. So let's look at how

8:27

you can best do this.

8:31

And especially when entering DAG, we Germans, we really value transparency and

8:36

honesty. So when

8:38

doing these, don't try to trick people with smart plays into thinking something

8:43

's not tracked or

8:44

anything like that, they will find out. We're very granular about this. So here

8:49

's what you can do.

8:51

First, make it easy for the user to contact you about their data. What you can

8:55

do here is you can

8:56

create a form specifically for compliance issues, for example, in your photo.

9:01

You can provide an FAQ

9:02

to answer the most common questions also. And then what you can also do is you

9:06

can make it

9:07

easier for the user to decline, change, or optimize how you use their data. For

9:12

example,

9:12

in the cookie banner, I will talk about this in a little bit for a second. And

9:16

as I've said before,

9:18

please don't hide information in the small print. They will find out. And third

9:23

, make it easy for

9:24

the user to download their data. Create a one-click solution for users to

9:28

download their data and make

9:29

it make the link easy to find it not hidden in dark corners or anything like

9:33

that.

9:34

So here's how a cookie banner should look like when you go to market in Germany

9:39

. As you can see here,

9:40

users can then decide by themselves what they want to be tracked with and what

9:46

they don't want

9:47

to be tracked with. And a tag that I can recommend that most companies in

9:52

Germany use as user

9:53

centrics or cookie bot. Very easy and very fast implementation.

9:58

So let's move on. We've now understood the GDPR and what we should do. What

10:04

about the PCD? How

10:06

do we do outreach without going to jail? So first, again, as a quick reminder,

10:11

the PCD law states,

10:13

and you can only reach out to someone if you have consent.

10:18

Consent means that I, for example, downloaded some specific asset that I gave

10:23

my information

10:24

means I'm actually requesting that information. So I'm giving consent that you

10:28

can contact me.

10:29

The same is when I'm booking a demo. Obviously, you then have my consent to

10:34

contact me about that

10:35

demo that will follow. So think about all the ways where users give you consent

10:41

also when someone

10:42

registers for your webinar linked in, for example. That also works. But if

10:45

there's no consent,

10:47

you're legally not allowed to outreach them in Germany. I know it's tough. It's

10:51

a very different

10:52

world. But that's how it is. So especially emails are technically illegal.

10:59

However,

11:00

they're still tolerated culturally and most companies still do it knowing that

11:06

it's not legal.

11:07

So while talking about culture, let's dive into what are the actual cultural

11:13

differences.

11:17

One very important thing when selling to Germany executives is that you must

11:21

keep it formal,

11:21

especially in the German mittelchamp. The German mittelchamp actually makes up

11:25

of around 95%

11:28

of the whole cross-domestic product. So it's almost all of it. In enterprises

11:34

and small businesses,

11:35

there aren't so relevant in Germany. It's mostly the mittelchamp in Germany.

11:39

And what you must know here is that they really value a high level of

11:44

professionalism.

11:45

So keep it formal first, especially when you first enter a conversation with

11:48

them.

11:49

Be very task-focused. We Germans have the image of being highly efficient. And

11:56

that's how we

11:56

want our meetings to be. So it is really all about efficiency. Be prepared, be

12:02

structured,

12:02

guide them through the meeting, and don't talk about things that don't really

12:07

are relevant in

12:08

the meeting. Be reliable. We expect actually a very different level of

12:14

reliability compared to

12:16

US people. So I can give you an example. I've met a US executive, very big

12:22

software company

12:23

at Web Summit last year. We had the most amazing conversation for like half an

12:27

hour.

12:28

And he said, "Please, I've been looking for someone to help me with Go to

12:31

Market in Daff.

12:32

For ages, I couldn't find someone. Please use my email, send me email, we'll

12:35

book a call and we'll

12:36

talk about it." And I kept my word. I then sent an email. He never got back to

12:43

me ever. I was like,

12:45

"Okay, well, that's how it is, I guess." So we really value people being on

12:52

time. And also,

12:53

if you're doing what you say you're going to do. We also prefer Britain over

12:58

spoken communication,

12:59

which means especially when you're sending emails, have very professional

13:03

structured emails.

13:05

Just include every single detail that people want to have. And just, yeah, just

13:12

prove a high level

13:13

of professionalism here. And also then, what's important is if you meet someone

13:16

for the first time

13:17

or just starting building a connection, value or just first talk about business

13:24

. And only once

13:25

you've gotten to know someone and you've moved with your business first, only

13:29

then try to establish

13:31

also a private connection. Don't start with asking about their private lives in

13:35

the first call. It's

13:36

not what someone wants to do. All right. So we've understood what

13:40

transformation we need mindset-wise.

13:43

We've understood what market differences they are. Let's dive into the

13:46

mechanics. And I think this is

13:48

the most, most interesting one because obviously, especially the market

13:53

differences will lead to

13:55

different mechanics that we need to execute. So here's how you can go into

13:59

building your go-to

14:01

market plans at legal foundation. We've talked about this, define your SAP,

14:04

core cases, use cases,

14:05

KPIs and how to evaluate if you're successful. Localize your creative strategy,

14:10

warm up the

14:10

market, start selling, assess product market fit and scale. For today, because

14:16

it's the most relevant,

14:17

I will be focusing on these three in the following. Localizing your creative

14:22

strategy means you must

14:24

also start with fundamentals again when you go into a new market. Yeah, this is

14:28

really important

14:29

and this is what most companies actually miss. They think they've done their

14:32

fundamentals already for

14:34

their local market, for example, US, which means they don't have to do it again

14:38

and that's wrong.

14:39

This is actually the most crucial part. Do your research, consolidate, do

14:44

proper campaign

14:45

conception for that country and testing it right. Just as you would as a fresh

14:50

startup again.

14:51

Do your qualitative research again. Yeah, talk to your actual customers and

14:57

talk to people in that

14:58

market before you create your campaign. See if the messaging resonates and we

15:04

have a template for

15:05

doing customer research questions. As you can see here, you will be getting all

15:09

of this at the end.

15:10

So you don't need to take pictures also, by the way. I will give you the slides

15:15

. Also then use a

15:16

localized valuable position canvas as a working document. So all the info you

15:21

get from talking to

15:22

customers, from doing your research, put it here, have a separate one from the

15:27

one that you're using

15:28

in your local market for DAH for example and also constantly iterate this one.

15:34

Why is this important localizing your creative strategy? And I've brought with

15:41

you an example

15:42

here from Loxo, actually a US company in the recruiting space. Maybe some of

15:45

you know.

15:46

They had a great success with the Bigfoot reference as you can see here in the

15:52

US.

15:54

It worked amazingly. They generated a lot of pipeline with it and we looked at

15:59

the whole

15:59

campaign. We were like, what is Bigfoot? So it's not relevant at all in Germany

16:04

. So we killed this

16:06

matter for completely. And most of you know, only 5% are ready to buy at one

16:15

specific point of time

16:16

in the market. And obviously that also counts for DAH. It's not different there

16:23

And especially when you're going into DAH as a company that's not known in that

16:27

market,

16:27

you will probably not be top of mind when someone is ready to buy it. So you

16:33

must make an even

16:34

more larger effort to create demand before you actually capture that demand.

16:39

And that is really

16:40

essential. Don't go into an into a market and start out reaching people and

16:43

start stalling right

16:44

away. Focus on creating demand first, educating that market and then slowly

16:50

transitioning into

16:51

also adding demand capture campaigns. So what we've created here is a process

16:59

of five questions

17:00

that you can use that help you to know what content you should be creating

17:04

along the way

17:05

to actually get to then capture that demand. And we use these five key

17:09

questions, which is why

17:10

change? Why now? What's the solution? What's the process? Why you? Why change?

17:14

For example,

17:15

if you're a CMS platform, a headless CMS, you should be telling people why

17:20

change from using

17:21

WordPress to a more modern solution, for example, and why that makes sense also

17:25

in DAH.

17:25

So if you're actually answering all these five questions, then you're able to

17:33

educate people at

17:34

scale also in that new market, which means that you will be able to create real

17:38

demand.

17:38

So try to think of all the questions that your ICPs have from being completely

17:43

problem unaware

17:44

until where can I actually sign? Who thinks that if you'd be answering all

17:49

these questions from

17:50

being completely problem unaware to where can I sign? You'd be more successful

17:54

in that market.

17:54

Yeah, cool. Next, I think it's important to not over-engineer your whole go-to-

18:04

market motion. You

18:04

don't need 10 different channels. You can start with the most fundamental ones.

18:08

So just localize

18:10

one landing page. That's enough where German people can find the information

18:14

and just use one

18:15

channel where you can actually reach your target audience. In most cases, it

18:18

will be linked in

18:19

or meta. And then you can warm up the market by building trusted scale through

18:25

actually

18:25

educational content. And with warming up, I mean that you should probably not

18:30

start selling

18:30

before you're into the market for like three months, roughly that time. It

18:36

depends on the context,

18:38

obviously, on what kind of solution. But usually I would recommend warm up the

18:42

market for three

18:43

months and then only go and book calls from the people you've been engaged with

18:49

So how can we now use these five guiding questions to create content? What we

18:57

like to do is to

18:58

create this three-step formula from extract to subtract to attract. And what we

19:05

do is we

19:06

take subject matter experts and maybe you will not have a German-speaking

19:09

subject matter expert

19:11

in your company. So in this case, what I would suggest you is that you look for

19:15

thought leaders

19:16

in Germany that have your audience that are in your category, can speak German

19:21

obviously,

19:22

and that will help you create that content. So you can just book them for an

19:26

interview, for example,

19:27

that you will record and they will answer the questions, especially for the why

19:32

change and why

19:33

now question, where they don't need specific product knowledge. Because they

19:37

will have much

19:38

higher trust in your brand, they will be known already within your target

19:41

audience. So use their

19:43

face and you can benefit from this a lot. And then you sit down for 60 minutes,

19:48

you ask them all

19:49

the questions from problem unaware to where can I sign and they answer them.

19:53

And that will give you

19:55

a lot of different content that focuses on creating demand by really providing

20:00

value through education.

20:04

And this is how it can look like in practice. So what we've done here for HRS

20:08

is you can see the

20:10

five guiding questions and they have literally answered the most asked

20:14

questions by the customers

20:16

answered in a normal video. And then it's accompanied by a specific image ads

20:21

to add more formats to

20:23

make the whole story more round. And in the case for Loxo, where we've helped

20:31

go to market in Dach

20:32

for that US company, we created new creatives, but also on top of that we use

20:37

the creatives that

20:37

work in the US to see if they also work in the German speaking market. And we

20:43

adapted all of it

20:45

to the local culture, as you can see here, it's all in German. And it worked

20:49

really, really well.

20:51

So maybe some of you know Sam Kühle. And actually this is the message I got

20:55

from him today. They

20:57

only with their own approach of copy pasting their US campaigns in Dach, they

21:02

generated in 30 days

21:04

one high-intent fundraiser. After we've localized everything, we've now

21:10

generated 14 high-intent

21:12

fundraisers in 15 days. So that's the difference you can make if you really

21:19

take this approach and

21:20

do it step by step and not over rush things. To return, it's a 14 times growth

21:25

rate and only half

21:26

the time. I mean, we don't need to discuss if that makes, if that's worth it.

21:30

So

21:31

here's some additional place that work really well. I would suggest you that

21:37

you reach out to

21:38

German thought leaders. And that's quite a few actually on LinkedIn for example

21:41

. And you pay them

21:42

to write organic posts about your product, about your category that you can

21:46

then use and push with

21:48

your ads. Because maybe you've heard about the new thought leader ads that

21:52

allow you to push posts

21:54

not only from your own employees, but also from people that are not working in

21:57

your company.

21:58

So you can use that to your advantage when you go into market in Dach, for

22:02

example.

22:03

Reach out to thought leaders, pay them to mention your product in their post

22:07

and push it in your

22:09

campaign. Because again, here they will have much higher trust than you will

22:13

have in that market.

22:15

What's also working really well is hosting a webinar, for example, or any other

22:22

digital event

22:23

with a B2B sales provider in Dach that's already bigger in that market and

22:29

shares the same audience

22:30

and as you, but it's not a direct competitor obviously, then they wouldn't do

22:33

it. But if you

22:34

have a product that's complementing each other for the same audience, that's a

22:38

great way to start

22:40

building trust in Germany. Because you will be focusing on providing value only

22:45

. And you will be

22:46

put next to a company that's already successful in the market already has that

22:50

trust. And if you

22:51

combine that with inviting, for example, German thought leaders into the web

22:56

inar, you will have

22:56

everything at once and that works really well. So again, being associated with

23:02

familiar faces

23:03

and brands will trust like 10 times faster. So remember, trust is the most

23:08

important currency

23:09

in Germany. We highly, highly value it. That's why we have so many e-source,

23:16

for example, and all

23:17

these kinds of awards that companies have in Germany that prove that they're

23:22

trustworthy

23:23

and are compliant to different laws and regulations. So especially when you're

23:28

in US vendor,

23:29

Germans typically are more skeptical if you actually comply to the rules. So

23:33

you must make

23:34

an additional effort to be transparent and have clear communication of how you

23:38

handle data, for

23:39

example. So you must double down here. And I want to finish my speech with one

23:47

final question.

23:48

If people in EMEA would see what you see, know what you know, feel the passion

23:55

that you feel,

23:57

believe what you believe. Would it be easier to sell in EMEA? Thank you so much

24:05

And if you'd like to have all the slides and also that customer research

24:16

template,

24:17

pull out your phone and scan this QR code and then I will send it to you in

24:23

your inbox.

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