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Expanding Your US Channel Into Europe

Europe presents a significant opportunity, whether you work with ISVs, SIs, VARs, affiliates, agencies, or other partners. This region represents dozens of countries and thousands of companies to leverage in your expansion.

In this eBook, we’ll hone in on expanding your program, adhering to GDPR, supporting channel partners, and the unique challenges to running a channel in Europe.

Accommodating the Needs of International Partners

Partnering with organizations across Europe introduces the challenge of managing languages and cultures. (Across the 28 member states of Europe, there are 24 official languages.)

How can you ensure you communicate effectively with potential and confirmed partners with so many factors to consider?

Do Your Research

Like you would with any prospective partner, do your research before reaching out. Dig into these details:

      • Which language(s) their team speaks
      • The location of their team
      • Key aspects of their culture in those countries

With culture specifically, it’s essential to explore how their team is structured. They may have a liaison on their team whose sole job is collaborating with partners and clients in other countries. If that’s the case, find out who they are and be sure to involve them in your early communications.

Utilize a PRM Tool

A PRM can be an excellent tool for bridging communication barriers between partners. By tagging resources based on the language they’re written in, it’s easy to ensure German resources, for example, are only available to German speakers and not unnecessarily available to your entire database. With that in mind, make sure that the resources you use with existing partners are available in your prospective partners’ languages to enable their preferred way of working. 

Your PRM is also beneficial for timing. You don’t need to coordinate time zones for a partner to access your portal — it’s always available.

Implement a Liason

If you find your channel growing significantly in Europe, it may be time to hire a Channel Partner Manager dedicated to owning the European channel or work with a distributor to manage relationships. As you expand in this region, you have the opportunity to grow your internal team there as well, potentially expanding to have managers who handle dedicated countries.

Accommodating different languages & cultures may be difficult

Leveraging Partners to Better Connect With International Customers

If you are new to selling to European audiences, your channel partners may bring valuable insights. Take this opportunity to connect with your partners and ask them about go-to-market activities appropriate for the culture. Use these insights to refine your marketing and partner playbooks, as well as your expectations around timing and preferred communication. This analysis would benefit direct sales, too. 

To accurately gauge the success rate of your strategies, make sure to segment data by region when leveraging Channel Sales Insights. For example, a playbook that drives significant sales wins in the US may yield entirely different results with European audiences, so it’s essential to understand which approaches work where. 

Working with American vs. European Customers

Each person and organization is unique. While your best bet will be to get to know your partners and customers in each region, there are a few general differences between American and European buyers.

    • Americans appreciate a narrative; Europeans prefer proven data. So while fantastic presentations and game-changing success stories may wow your American customers, European buyers focus on metrics and a clear value proposition for the bottom line.
  • Europeans tend to be more cautious. American buyers may brag about their cutting-edge, risk embracing decisions. Meanwhile, European buyers lean towards risk aversion (and rely on numbers-backed evidence).
  • Compared to Americans, Europeans are more likely to place greater emphasis on in-person interactions. This may impact your sales enablement materials and how you distribute your marketing development funds. After all, European partners may be more inclined to attend conferences or travel to meet with prospects.
  • The attention-grabbing nature of American marketing may be too assertive for European tastes. European advertising, in general, tends to be less-flash, more-substance. That bolded, aggressive headline ending in an exclamation point may grab American readers but turn off their European counterparts.

Enhanced Security Needs

As our digital footprint grows, data privacy is becoming more of a concern for many governments. In Europe, Schrems II found that once data has been transferred to United States sources, it’s not possible to maintain the same level of data protection required in Europe.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and is self-defined as the “toughest privacy and security law in the world.” Put into place in mid-2018, GDPR levies significant (tens of millions of euros) fines for those who violate the privacy and security standards put in place.

At the core of GDPR are the seven protection and accountability principles for data processing, including:

  1. Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency
  2. Purpose limitation
  3. Data minimization
  4. Accuracy
  5. Storage limitation
  6. Integrity and confidentiality
  7. Accountability

GDPR may seem like a lot and, as you expand into Europe, someone in your organization should take the lead on familiarizing themself with the entire regulation. However, with the right tools, complying is entirely achievable.

Complying with GDPR

While the US and European governments are collaborating to bridge the gap between data security efforts and ensure information can be transmitted securely, an essential strategy for ensuring compliance is using European-based data centers. Instead of transferring data to the United States, you can manage all data securely in a European data center when working with EU partners.

Allbound recently introduced a European instance of its PRM, providing users with the option of storing their data in the US or the EU.

Allbound announces European instance of PRM

EMEA Conferences & Networking Groups

Just as it can help to have a dedicated partner manager resource and data center in Europe, you should take care to attend conferences and networking groups for EMEA companies.

While COVID-19 has impacted many in-person conferences, this presents a significant opportunity for teams based in the US. It may have been far more expensive and challenging in the past to attend events in person. Now, you can participate in many more virtually without needing to travel. Additionally, the time differences may make them easier to fit into your workday.

Similarly, explore EMEA-based networking groups on Slack and LinkedIn that you can join to mingle with companies in the region and share resources. Some EMEA conferences and networking groups to consider joining include:

Growing Your Channel Partner Presence in Europe

Now is the perfect time to expand your channel to the European market. It’s crucial to recognize that selling into European organizations will be different than selling into North American-based companies. Similarly, working with Europe-based partners will require a more nuanced understanding of language and cultural differences.

Allbound makes it easier for organizations to expand their channel into the European market with a Germany-based data center. Allbound is one of very few PRM platforms that give users the option of storing their data in either a US-based or EEA-based data center to help adhere with GDPR and compliance.  Learn more in our recent press release.