Opportunity Knocks for MLM Software in Germany

I was invited to speak at the 7thLead Management Summit, a two-day conference with about German 300 B2B marketers, held in Würzburg.  

Although I wasn’t on till Day 2, I attended both days and really enjoyed the first keynote from Christian Schmitz, Professor for Sales Management at the Ruhr-University in Bochum. Bochum has three Profs on the Sales & Marketing chair and awards 15 master’s degrees in Sales Management annually (470 applications last year!). Their work is sponsored by over a dozen companies so its research and teaching is certainly not theoretical. 

Of course, one reason I enjoyed Christian was because he started his “Digital Disruption in B2B Sales” talk with several citations from my work at Forrester. As well as naming the “Death of the Salesman” report (my recent blog), he showed other stats and predictions that I had published on the topic – it made my own introduction the next day so much easier.  

We had a series of presentations by marketing practitioners. Some firms are already quite sophisticated in their lead management system while others are still in the experimental stage. Last October, 39% of 1500 firms I interviewed on Marketing Lead Management said they were planning their first automation project while 33% did have software in place but want to replace it – the German numbers were even higher for first-time projects. 

But the most common phrase I registered, from speakers and from attendees I talked to was:

“I work at a company that is a worldwide leader in our market, but you probably have never heard of us.”

These are some of the 500-or-so“hidden champions”, the secret sauce of the German economy’s export success – mid-sized niche manufacturers located all over the German countryside. All these firms now face dramatic marketing challenges as the internet and digital disruption makes their world so much smaller. A great reason for marketing vendors to invest more time/resources in this audience (my talk listed the German GTM efforts of  leading marketing lead management software vendors – not a great commitment).  Hubspot, Salesforce, Oracle-Eloqua, Marketo and Act-On do have some German sites. The most important local vendor is SC-Networks with Evonik followed by hundreds of E-Mail marketing platforms.

I also noted this quite telling and important statement made by a speaker as they discussed the necessary investments in a lead management project (doing effective customer research to record the buyer journey, creating content, installing and setting up software). She said:

“A print campaign would have been much more expensive and new-logo acquisition through sales people is the most expensive of all options.”

Now that is an interesting way to consider marketing automation ROI. 

Always keeping you informed! Peter 

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