Our client, an overseas high-tech manufacturer of mCHP equipment, developed a new technology based on fuel cells to generate electricity very efficiently. Germany as a country with substantial subsidies for energy-saving high-tech products was chosen to be a manufacturing base.
One of the major challenges was to define and proof a sales strategy to bring this unknown equipment to the German and also other European consumers. Also manufacturing took place in Germany, it was a market entry case. The market in the mCHP segment is very competitive and especially in Germany in dominated by few players from the heating segment like Vaillant and Viessmann.
One of the main challenges was the missing data on this market segment. To really understand the market potential one needs to dig deeper than the official data available. Therefore we needed to perform some primary market research by interviewing consumers as well as craftsmen and existing sales organisations with the relevant prerequisites.
Based on the information generated and the availability of federal subsidy programmes across Europe we were able to define the core markets to enter.
The availability of sales channels differed from country to country. The largest market, Germany, was so most difficult one with the traditional heating manufacturers dominating the craftsmen-landscape. Especially for Germany the development of sales channels was challenging. We defined rather small market segments with different sales approaches in order to penetrate the market at all levels but with minor overlaps and hence competition of sales channels. In various markets setting-up an own sales force was the best suitable option.
German subsidy schemes helped to make the product attractive but the sales channels still needed a lot of attention and management to finally perform sufficiently.