That was the main take away from a seminar about Winning Sales in Germany organised recently by the EI team in Düsseldorf. A large number of EI clients from the software and services sector supported by industry experts from Germany discussed and debated what it takes to be successful in a booming market of over 80 million people.
A fascinating insight came from Gillian Martin from TCD who highlighted the difference in the German and Irish business cultures and how that impacted in negotiating and decision making. Her research showed us how Irish tended to be more interested in developing personal relationships while the Germans tended to be more focused on the task. This mismatch can often lead to popular misconceptions and stereotypes and it came clear to us all that only when you reflect on your own culture can you start to appreciate another.
We also heard about direct sales approaches and the German corporate structure which is typically very hierarchical and strongly defined by rules and responsibilities. The roles of teams and a consensus seeking approach in Germany explained a lot to the attendees why they had been experiencing longer sales cycles.
The feedback from the day overall was very positive with clients looking to make small adjustments to their German plans. With a booming economy, low unemployment figures and strong growth prospects in the region, the changes would be well worth it.