Ultimate Guide: How To Expand Your Tech Startup Vendor To Spain? 2020
I am a Spanish guy living in abroad for 6 years. I have been expanding tech startups FROM and TO Spain since 2015. After these years of experience, I found out some common patterns to guide you expanding successfully your tech startup to the Spanish market. Here is my list of what you should be aware and why it is very relevant for your present and future success.
Ultimate Guide: How To Expand Your Tech Startup Vendor To Spain?
Be aware of the difference between holidays and business.
Have you ever been in Spain on holidays?
If the answer is positive, then I hope you enjoy there. I used to hear cliche about the Spanish people from expats after they spend a few days on holidays in Spain.
Some of the cliches are: Spanish people are lazy, having always siesta, are going to a party every night and they are not serious for the business.
Well, somehow is true from the point of view of people on holidays. But doing business is a different situation. In fact, if you have ever working in Spain, you would realize by yourself how different it is. You will be surprised by how hard the Spanish people are able to work.
I also would like to notice, I am speaking about qualified jobs helping companies with cybersecurity solutions.
Of course, you will always find people like this. But, this is not related to one region or country. You can find everywhere nonserious people.
One curiosity fact, if you have experiences working with Japanese culture. There are some similarities to the job site. They also have a siesta and work very hard 🙂
To finish this point, Spanish culture is a Mediterranean culture. It means, it is very similar to Italian and Portuguese culture.
Culture differences may stop your sales.
As a worker expat for 6+ years and traveling around the world in more than 50 countries. I soon realized the importance of local culture and how it affects the business.
Thus, from where should you start to learn? Let’s start with the regions. Spain has 17 regions. Each region may differ from each other. However, the main culture doesn’t come from the regions. It came from North, Center, and South.
You may wonder, great…I can find this information in Wikipedia 🙂
Why is this information important for making business in Spain?
Because it comes here again the culture differences. For example, in the southern regions, the discount culture is much stronger than the northern regions.
What do I mean with South regions?
From the business perspective, I mean Andalucía, Murcia, Extremadura and Castilla La Mancha. The last two are part of south and center. However, they are very similar to the business side. Let me show you more about Spanish geography.
Where should you target your business?
Most of the enterprise and corporate companies are located in the biggest cities in this order: Madrid, Barcelona, and then (not exactly at this order), Bilbao, Valencia, and Sevilla.
So, Should you forget the rest of the cities? Here it depends on the size of your target customer:
- If your target customer is Enterprise or Corporate, then focus first at the 2 biggest cities. Most of your business will be coming from there.
- If your target is small and medium business, the best is strategy is online marketing for the whole country.
- Still, if you don’t have local people there and you do business trips, then the strategy to focus on the 2 biggest cities makes sense.
You don’t need to know the whole geography. However, it is important to be aware of cultural differences.
Relationships are your Silver Bullets.
In Spain, personal relationships still are very important. Therefore, if you have key contacts, this will make more impact than anything else at the enterprise and corporate sector.
Are you interested about true stories of the power of relationships, you can find out in the following chapter: The power of the relationships in the phases of the sales at the startups.
Therefore, find key contacts makes more impact than anything else at the Enterprise and Corporate sector.
What about Marketing investment?
It is important from 3 points of views:
- Brand awareness.
- Lead generation.
- A symbolic way to show your interest.
5.1 Brand awareness.
If nobody knows you, then how they can find you? Brand awareness is not only about to find you. It is about building the worth of your brand. For example, if you are Microsoft, they know Microsoft and the brand trust is already there.
If you are a startup, you have a double level of difficulty to explain, why your solution is “the winner horse” for the customer or partner and also to create the trust in your company.
5.2 Lead generation.
This is the main purpose of why startups and companies invest in events. They do, in order to bring new leads.
I would say there is nothing else to add that you probably don’t know at this point about a lead generation by events, marketing online or other activities.
If you are interested in which marketing activities you should do, I explain to you here in this chapter: Top 20 Marketing Strategies for your Tech Startup Vendor.
5.3 A symbolic way to show your interest.
Your partners and customers have to see that you are there. They are betting for you and in the meantime, you are also betting for them and the local country.
When I speak about investment in order to show you are investing in the local market. I don’t mean by 1 yearly event, this is not real investment.
For all these reasons, the marketing activities are a symbolic way to show up your interest because you have identified a potential market for your tech startup.
Marketing investment conclusion.
The marketing investment shouldn’t be your maximum priority for business development. There are other activities as personal relationships or hire a local person that will bring you more sales. Of course, you should give instruments and budget to your local person. Otherwise, it won’t work properly.
English is still not very extended.
Unfortunately, there is still a long path with the English level of the Spanish people. The lowest level is from the conversation point of view. This still depends on many features as for example the city size and age.
Spanish people under 35 years old, they should be able to “defend” themselves and Spanish people living in the biggest cities also speak better than the smaller ones.
In the IT and Cybersecurity industry, more and more people are getting used to hear English conversations or attend English events.
Anyway, if your target is to make feel them more comfortable and achieve as much audience as possible. You should do in the local language.
You should have in mind that the Spanish language, it is the second most spoken language in the world. Because of the number of people having Spanish as a native language, we usually have everything translated into Spanish.
For all these reasons, it is still important to work there in the local language.
You should consider hiring a local person.
As I mentioned before in the previous points, hire a local person is necessary from these key facts:
- Speaking the local language.
- Knowing the local culture and how to treat and negotiate with the local people. I have seen how many people believe that knowing the local languages is enough. I have even met non-local people speaking the local language and this never works because of this. Therefore, both are very important.
- He/she will bring local personal relationships with partners and customers.
- Being a non-European vendor and trying to work in Spain, it will be very expensive just the business trips. Instead of somebody remotely from America, Australia or Asia, this will save you costs and bring you much better results.
Spanish market can be the most profitable of EMEA.
As I mentioned before, you will be surprised how hard the Spanish people work on qualified jobs. The Spanish market can be very profitable if you are working with the correct contacts.
I have the fortune to meet and work with some of the TOP Cybersecurity VAD (Value Added Distributor) and they made a huge impact after this cooperation.
In the same way, I also have known how some Spanish Cybersecurity VAD were getting EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) awards of “Best EMEA Distributor” or “Best EMEA Partner”.
Never underestimate these facts and once again, you will be surprised by the results.
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In Startups Tips we know and experience how much pain and cost means investing in the wrong strategies and people. We save your time by Startup Coaching & Consulting. Would you like to Boost your partners and sales at your Tech Startup? We will listen you and we will guide you – Javier Nieto León. Founder at Startupstips.com
I hope I helped you to motivate and guide on how Spain could boost your business development and sales.
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Javier Nieto León