Digitization is changing a lot of things in the field of sales: New channels are being added and the relationship between customers, sales representatives and manufacturers is changing. The Munich startup Leadtributor has developed software that bundles everything lead management needs on a platform. We asked its founders our seven questions.
1. Who are you and what do you do? Please briefly introduce yourselves and your product!
What makes our founding team special are the differences among its members: You have Philipp von der Brüggen, 55, who is the long-standing boss of a marketing agency for high-tech clients. There’s also Katharina Krus, 33, who has a degree in business administration and is a passionate digitization expert. Then there’s Salek Talangi, 35 years old, who is a computer scientist and technology nerd. Katharina Krus and Philipp von der Brüggen have known each other since working together at Philipp’s agency Technology Marketing People. That was where they noticed that their clients were seriously professionalizing in terms of lead generation. Content marketing, inbound marketing, SEA/SEO — with all of it supported by marketing automation platforms. Using these new methods and technologies, however, has resulted in sales processes starting at a different point than just a few years ago: with the manufacturer! It’s increasingly rare for customers to obtain information from sales partners. That’s because all activities, such as SEO or SEA, are conducted by the manufacturer. If I want to remodel my bathroom and research online, I’ll inevitably end up at manufacturers like Villeroy & Boch or Hansgrohe. You’ll very rarely find installation technicians. The same is true when looking for and configuring a potential new car. The inquiries that are now passed on to sales partners are lost for the most part.
Which sales partner does what? What’s the current situation? How much turnover did your initiative generate in that channel? These are questions a manufacturer can hardly answer. A recent study by Bitkom goes so far as to say: Up to 70% of all leads in these kinds of sales systems are never processed. Leadtributor was developed to make the customer journey through sale channels as fast, as good, and above all as digital as possible for customers, manufacturers and sales partners.
2. But that’s already been done!
No, it hasn’t: To represent and integrate complex sales systems into a CRM still requires extremely complicated individual customization of CRM systems. It is not only drawn out, but above all, extremely costly. These kinds of “distorted” CRM systems also quite often cause problems when it comes to maintenance and future development. With our SaaS, you basically can get started immediately since it is standardized but also highly configurable. In other words, from the very start it already offers the most important functions that represent all the typical standard scenarios in indirect sales structures. Everything else can be configured on a very individual basis. Many interfaces offer integration into existing systems such as CRM or marketing automation that is both easy to adapt and fast! Our advantage: Sales partners, distributors or partner managers can start working on opportunity management within just a few days. And it’s all available at a very competitive price.
“We’re very satisfied with how we’re developing. And our investors are too!”
3. What was your biggest challenge so far?
Our biggest challenge was the first major deal. 1,200 sales partners in seven countries, and all of it was in a very complex SAP environment. That put our small development department under a serious amount of pressure.
Now it’s just something we talk about over an after-work beer: “Do you remember that?”. The project went live successfully and has since helped us show many other customers who also have large sales networks what we’re capable of. However, the first deal of that magnitude was certainly a challenge for our team and infrastructure. Our investors have already helped us a lot in getting our infrastructure “enterprise-ready.”
4. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: How is business going?
We’re very satisfied with how we’re developing. And our investors are too! We’re now a team of twelve highly motivated colleagues. We used to rent a room at Werk1, then we had two, and now we have a proper office with a kitchenette, a meeting room and the whole shebang. We practically feel established. And we really are a mixed bunch: Our team has colleagues from China, Croatia and Italy. We work in English and German.
“It should all be well balanced”
5. What does Munich mean to you?
Everyone talks about Berlin as a place for startups. We think: Munich is just as alive and cool. You just have to go to the Werksviertel where we have our office: It’s teeming with creative startups. There are regular breakfasts together, we compare notes and there’s a great café run by a very endearing Italian, our one-and-only Stefano. That’s also why we’re so grateful to have found an office here. And it’s even right next to the East Station, which is important in terms of commuting for colleagues. It’s also relatively reasonable on the former Pfanni site. After all, it’s virtually impossible to find reasonable rent in Munich. Apart from that, Munich is a great city. None of us are Munich natives, but the city adopted us pretty quickly. Our co-founder Philipp von der Brüggen can’t live without his mountains and Tegernsee anymore. His son was born in Munich and is a true Munich native at heart. Salek knows every bar in the Bavarian capital and can’t imagine life without the Eisbach or the Oktoberfest. And Munich is where Katharina Krus took the first steps in her career almost ten years ago.
6. How will your startup become the next unicorn? Or will we be seeing you at an Epic Fail Night soon?
If it’s up to us: then of course we’d take the first option! But that’s not what motivates us. We simply believe that our software changes sales from the bottom up and gets it ready for the digital age. And it also makes us happy when our customers believe that as well. Time will tell the rest!
7. Hiking or beer garden?
Both are best. We think: You need to exert yourself a bit to then be rewarded with the fantastic view at the top of the mountain. And with a little treat, too. It should all be well balanced: That’s our recipe for success!