Selling to Europe vs. the U.S. has always required a different approach; however, with changes occurring in B2B sales, there are even greater contrasts in how you need to sell to these two markets. To engage with buyers effectively and drive sales for their business, leaders must understand these differences, and – topping the list – are culture, geography, and business behaviors.

 

How Culture Plays a Role

In Europe, the majority of buyers still expect to meet face-to-face. In fact, I’d estimate that 75% of actual sales meetings in Europe take place in person. Customers expect to build a relationship with the organizations selling to them.

 

To successfully sell in Europe, you need to be aware of this preference and be willing and able to accommodate it. It can be a slower sales process but is essential to establish a stronger relationship with European buyers.

 

This is far from the case in the U.S. where sales are increasingly being done online – particularly with cloud-based solutions. Accustomed to the ‘Amazonization’ of the B2C world, American business buyers desire a similar buying experience. If they don’t have to, they may not want to meet in person at all.

 

This makes it more challenging to know buyers’ particular problems and pain points. Which is why more and more sales organizations selling in the U.S. are adopting engagement analytics. Engagement analytics help increase buyer understanding with visibility into behaviors that reveal a prospect’s interest level and areas of interest – so conversations can be personalized and are relevant to them.

 

Location, Location, Location

In the United Kingdom, 85% of business is done in London – if not more. In France, 90% of business is done in Paris. In Germany, there are five key centers of business – Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich. In Spain, there are just two – Barcelona and Madrid.

 

It’s geographically more feasible to connect with people to do business in Europe. In addition to the European preference for face-to-face engagement, the geographic proximity of and centralization of business centers make it easier to do.

 

On the other hand, grabbing a coffee or meeting for lunch is generally geographically prohibitive in the U.S. You can’t just jump on a plane and go to Detroit for one meeting.

 

This makes it paramount to have an alternative way to work with buyers. If you can’t visit a prospect, how do you identify the top decision maker? In the U.S., analytics (again) are playing a bigger role here with additional visibility into stakeholders by showing when content is shared and with whom.

 

Business Behaviors Affect Your Sales Activities

In Europe, it’s likely your company provides your cell phone, so you tend to pick it up. Americans will ignore the phone if they don’t recognize the number. This is because Europeans view their cell phone as a business tool, whereas Americans consider it a personal tool.

 

For businesses selling in Europe, this makes it easier to connect – but not so in the U.S. To engage effectively with American buyers today, you require a different approach. Connecting with U.S. buyers requires a multi-touchpoint strategy that incorporates phone calls, email and social.

 

Furthermore, the amount of outreach that’s required to make a quality connect in the U.S. is higher. It can take your reps an average of eight different ‘touches’ before they even connect with a buyer – but stats show that 44{c274d49bb9d0eb56ca9f4ccc7d03482e3fd4b0ffce3feb11eb8eeffb6fc4f98f} of sales people give up after one follow up!

 

By making it practically effortless for reps to follow up with prospects, sales automation has become a necessity in the U.S. With automated email and call scheduling, teams can connect with more people faster – increasing prospect conversations and lifting conversion rates. We’ve seen customers, such as Operatix, increase their pipeline by 50% using email and call automation.

 

They say that the world is getting smaller – and I don’t disagree. However, that doesn’t mean that your sales approach can be a one size fits all. If you sell or plan to sell, to Europe or the U.S., you need to understand the differences and be sure your sales team is equipped to succeed.

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