German B2B Lead Generation: 6 Insights

Sometimes my team and I help other companies with lead generation on an outsource basis, should their profile be appealing to us.

One of such companies works in the German market (appraisal by experts – security solutions), and the task was to generate contacts of the companies which were present at the exhibition in the home market. In the process, there appeared several points of interest that I would like to share.

Toolbox: Snov.io, Xing Premium, Sales Navigator, Reply, the hands and clear minds of my fellow lead generators.

1. Cold Calls In Germany Work Much Better Than Email Outreach

You should think carefully before starting the email newsletter because according to the German sales managers and consultants, cold calls remain to be the most effective outbound tool for the present. This is normal, this is business, and people feel comfortable about it. Of course, you should be prepared to explain why you would like to talk to Technische Direktor or Geschäftsführer during a call. In other words, a usual phone number, left on the website in the basement, is quite valid and good business contact. It is far from certain that cold emailing will provide a certain percentage of conversion into the meeting, to say nothing of the project itself.

2. It is Almost Impossible to Find Contacts of CTO, Engineering or R&D Directors

Basically, if a personal contact exists, then this is the sales department, distribution office or CEO. I don’t know if it makes sense to start from the CEO – I don’t think that the German CEO deals with outsourcing issues. However, we are trying.

3. You Can Hardly Find Even Phone Numbers of Prospects

We have tried the Phone Prospector, and Zoominfo programs.

At first glance, the first one seems to use the right approach. It searches through the Internet and looks into PDF files and directories, where the name is put next to or together with the phone number. It generates a link list where each link allows you to see exactly where this phone number is. But you can’t follow the links in the trial, you can only try typing them manually and the program costs $ 99 for three months.

As a result, we decided to try the methods of Sherlock Holmes and started to choose phone numbers that match the format, which includes both main and extension telephone numbers.

We did this way: if the company’s telephone number on the website is +49 163 81 99 405, and the other department of the company has a telephone number +49 163 81 99 406, and we have a telephone number of the +49 163 81 99 xxx type, then we consider it to be a corporate telephone number, and if it is shown next to the name of CEO + it is specified in some kind of pdf, which is used as accompanying materials for the exhibition, then there is a strong possibility that it is the telephone number of the CEO.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work as we expected.

In regards to Zoominfo, we could see the trial, but there had been very few contacts in Germany at that moment. So, I did not even waste time. However, we found around 20 phone numbers of 200 personal contacts, thanks to the manual work of the lead generators. Therefore, we decided to focus on cold calls of generic phones.

4. Xing Premium Rocks!

They have their own thing like Sales Navigator, it is called ProBusiness. We were looking for the right people from the needed company (outside-inside approach). Then we were searching for these people in other databases.

5. NorthData Can Help With Contacts

If Xing doesn’t generate anything, you can try NorthData – a pretty good database of the companies of different sizes and types. We pulled several personal contacts out of it.

6. Contacts in the “KONTAKT” Section

Sometimes the contact of the person can be found on the website in the “KONTAKT” section. Moreover, it can contain the necessary information and photos. So it makes sense to search there. For example, you can find detailed information about tops, sales managers and PMs at http://www.accodo.de/kontakt.html

Originally this post has been written in Russian by Oleg Tomenko. He has authorized a release of this translation by Echo.

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I've founded Echo based on my three passions: engineering, marketing, and headhunting. As a company CEO, it is always hard for me to make time for writing. However, I like sharing my experience with people around.
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Lou Reverchuk

Entrepreneur, Marketer, Writer

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Ryan Anthony

I noticed you mentioned that Germany relies on cold calling more than email outreach. I’m interested in this because I’ve seen people in the U.S. who swear by cold calling (unfortunately they’re selling “how to cold call” books so I’m skeptical. What are your thoughts on cold calling based on your experience working with this firm and do you think their situation is applicable to the U.S.?

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