As one of the biggest players in EMEA and one of the best opportunities for an additional revenue stream for tech business, France is an attractive opportunity and a top source for tech talent. This makes it a shrewd choice of country for scaling your existing tech business into the European market.
Let’s look at France, why it’s ideal for tech businesses right now and how best to go there, targeting that market with a good B2B lead generation strategy. Get started on your journey with our guide to B2B lead generation in France in 2023, learning from our 20 years generating leads there. Très bien!
For more than five years, French president Emanuel Macron has consistently paved the way for the country to lead in innovation and technology. Over this time, he has helped startups in particular, with projects such as work visas for the tech industry and financing quantum tech with a five-year €1.8 billion plan.
Each year, 120 French startups are chosen for the Tech Next40/120 program, which offers support and potential to become leaders in global tech.
The world’s largest startup campus is in Paris. Station F is now in its sixth year and has helped more than 5,000 startups launch and grow. With 600-plus events and workshops held annually and a huge investor community, Station F has also created an impressive more than 47,000 new jobs in the tech sector.
Over the years, we’ve also been privileged to work with Cap Digital, Europe’s first tech cluster, boasting more than 100 open innovation projects and more than a thousand members.
And these are just a few of the many programs that are actively promoting innovation and technology in France and beyond. Some more highlights from 2022, which saw a year of key milestones for French tech. Some of those include:
If you are a tech scale-up, you’d be remiss to not target your B2B lead generation in France this year and beyond.
James Smith, our SDR account director here at Sales Force Europe who has specifically worked with SaaS-based solutions for over a decade, clarifies the unique points of B2B lead generation in France. Besides the obvious fact that France is a large country, a big player and a great opportunity, James says there are enormous differences and definitive nuances in marketing in France compared to other countries such as the U.K. or Germany. Here are his key B2B lead generation and marketing takeaways:
Most notably, unlike perhaps the Nordics or Benelux regions, language is essential. This is a country that requires their English-fluent president speak in French no matter where in the world. Why would they expect less of you? You need native French SDRs calling into France, nurturing leads with content professionally translated into French.
Trends come and go, but as far as France is concerned, James has noticed a steady and consistent interest in any technology business that has a sustainable edge. So if your offering is environmentally aware and in the GreenTech sector, then France is an obvious choice for a real trend in an emerging market. One of the objectives of the French Tech ecosystem is to have 25 green unicorns by 2030.
Of course, as James wisely points out, the current economic landscape means that clients are a lot more choosy — almost picky — about where they spend their money these days, so your B2B lead generation in France needs to be game-changing for your business and for the market.
You need to be prepared to drive really effective content — always in French — and be able to demonstrate your unique selling point. Brand awareness and education are necessary. An account-based marketing strategy (ABM) approach, and social selling rather than an ad hoc method of calling a whole list of people on the off-chance of making a deal.
Using the services of an outsourced sales agency ensures that you have a ready-made team that is expert in that strategy and approach, and can hit the ground running in the local language and culture. It could potentially take months to source and employ in-house and then there are the pitfalls of French labor laws and compliance — it’s not easy to pivot and change employees with traditionally rigid French contracts.
Criteria for scaling to France
Next let’s consult our French country manager Yves de Beauregard who has spent 35 years scaling tech businesses to France. He points out some other important criteria before you scale to France:
It’s impossible to accurately predict the future, but companies are constantly looking for ways to save money and any emerging technology that can do that will stand a better chance of doing well, especially with quality marketing and a well-put-together local B2B lead generation team.
We talked about GreenTech as a hot trend and any tech associated with sustainability but we should mention cybersecurity too. With the amount of highly publicized cyberattacks in the news on any given day and a 3.4 million cybersecurity job gap, any security automation tooling or zero-trust technology will sell in spades in France and beyond in 2023. Our France-based client Cyber Guru is more and more demand as it helps fill this gap by empowering everyone in your organization with cybersecurity awareness and upskilling, while our lead generation has enabled the privacy management solution TrustArc, the AI cybersecurity platform Deep Instinct and the open ecosystem platform Konsentus become household names in security in France.
Whatever your offering, using an outsourced team and our guide to B2B lead generation in France should give you the pointers to reach out with confidence.
The last word goes to James, who points out that emerging tech can only ever be good and appealing in the country of Fashion Week — cutting edge tech isn’t likely to go out of fashion anytime soon.