Germany SaaS Hiring / Start-up Overview
Our own research indicates that Germany is by far the hardest country in Europe to find great B2B Senior Sales Executives. Further, we know that 68% of German Senior Sales SaaS Executives would often rather work for a North America employer (of course there are some amazing European SaaS firms too!) especially early stage, high-growth firms, stock and with some kind of unique proposition. Germany SaaS hiring is not so straight forward.
So why do so many SaaS firms find it so tough to attract, hire and make successful their German operations? (We are referring to Enterprise Senior Sales Executives in DACH)
The top reason seems to be a lack of understanding of the German culture, buying habits and appreciation of how the German economy operates. Much feedback we receive from our German network claim that US firms approach Germany by just making a few small tweaks to their US/UK business plans and the revenue will flow in! How wrong can they be!
Further, it appears the sales cycles and time to become successful can take much longer than the US, UK and other countries so extra patience is required.
It will be extremely difficult for for SaaS companies (started in the USA) to have their data hosted anywhere else except Germany to be successful.
There are very few German-based, Senior SaaS Sales Execs out of work and notice periods can be long and the urgency to switch employers can take months unlike the UK and US markets!
For a SaaS start-up operation to be successful in Germany, it has to offer a solution totally unique and something the local established vendors such as SAP are not able to provide as German firms can be extremely sceptical and concerned of buying from SaaS firms with no local references.
Start-ups appeal less to Germans?
Unlike the UK, France, The Netherlands and Sweden where US start-ups have much appeal, a new start-up venture coming from North America can have much less appeal to the German employment market unless the firm has a concrete business plan and does not cut corners. How much does the firm seek to invest? Where is the legal entity / GmbH set-up? What are the team building plans? If the new hire is a mere home based sales role, with no vision and proper planning, then the chance of finding an A player is unlikely and the Germans will see through it and run a mile.
From a Germany SaaS hiring perspective, the key to making a successful start into the German market is to hire a strong leader that understands both the German and the American culture and is strong enough to manage both sides.
Quotes from VP level German SaaS Execs:
“Having worked for an US company, there are more points to address like: investing in field service, pre-sales, help desk (German!), translation of software and marketing stuff, not to forget to build contracts in line with german law and finally the willingness to pay the needed money for at least 3 years. You need min 10 people to start, to set up the company and build the confidence that you take your plans really serious. Hiring only a sales manager, even it is a German, will not build trust. If you are not accepting these minimum requirements, you will fail.”
“If you want to succeed in Germany its absolutely key to have a highly localised strategy and go to market approach. Literally the same level of localisation as if European companies are going to do business in the US. Local leadership that speaks the language and understands the german culture, a physical representation and a marketing specifically for the German market are only the beginning”.
For any questions around establishing your SaaS firm in the DACH region or Germany SaaS hiring , please drop Ben Watkins an email.
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