Success story: South Tek
Unveiling European Business Opportunities: South-Tek’s Achievement Through Collaboration with EuroDev
Given its dynamic economy, Europe sticks out as a fertile ground for expanding businesses with significant potential for market growth across varying industries. Jens Bolleyer, the President and CEO of South-Tek, has graciously shared his insights. In this blog, Jens sheds light on how his company’s collaboration with EuroDev has played a pivotal role in propelling South-Tek into the European market.
Could you provide a brief introduction? It would be great if you could introduce your company, touch on the partnership’s key highlights, share your tenure with EuroDev, and explain what made you decide to expand into Europe.
I’m Jens Bolleyer, the President and CEO of South-Tek, a leading provider of industrial and commercial nitrogen generators. Our core focus is delivering nitrogen directly to customers at the point of use, a critical element for their operational success. Our collaboration with EuroDev began in the third quarter of 2022, initially as a sales partnership. We delved into market research, validating potential opportunities, and crafting an effective go-to-market strategy. Within six months, we furthered our commitment by investing in EuroDev’s marketing services to better support our sales efforts with website digital lead generation, sales engine optimization, and search engine marketing. We really felt that the combination of both sales and marketing provides us with the best opportunity to be successful and build a sustainable business in Europe.
What were the main challenges you encountered when you started? Did you encounter obstacles related to cultural differences, language barriers, or other factors?
Let's talk a little bit about how we got started and why we decided to go into Europe. First things first, we are a private equity-owned business and our overarching business strategy centers on growth. This growth can manifest through geographical expansion, distribution channels, or product lines. The journey of developing new products within the market has proven very challenging. Our operational approach across channels remains consistent, which is why the market expansion was appealing to us. We had been looking at market expansion and our attention turned towards Europe, particularly Western Europe, and we thought it would be a great place for us to engage.
Moreover, we already have a commercial partnership in Europe, specifically in the field of fire protection. As a result, we routinely undertake multiple annual business trips to Europe on an annual basis. Finding a team like EuroDev that is conveniently situated in close proximity made it very easy to connect and build a program.
Additionally, establishing a European presence called for a local team in the region, which was definitely a challenge for a company of our size. Partnering with EuroDev has allowed us to have a European team from a business with an office full of like-minded individuals. This provides us with the opportunity to be connected to the entire organization. I believe this creates a mutually positive experience for both our company and EuroDev. A strong team finds strong team members.
When it comes to working with EuroDev, what is the main benefit that your company derived from this partnership?
There are benefits both in terms of personnel and in our go-to-market strategy. I would like to highlight a few key points that underscore the value EuroDev has brought to our collaboration. Each encounter with EuroDev has been top-notch. Whether it’s market research, building out sales teams, or other initiatives, EuroDev consistently leverages its expertise and fulfills commitments and promises. This track record has extended to timely and on-budget execution. My management with EuroDev spans various levels of your organization. From our sales and marketing counterparts to department leaders, I have a great connection with the company as a whole, which definitely mutually benefits the relationship.
Since starting your partnership with EuroDev, what were the desired results you aimed to achieve, and what are some of the subsequent steps you’re looking to take?
We’re now one year into our engagement with EuroDev and we have laid a solid base for the future. Given the nature of our industry, characterized by long sales cycles, it is typical to involve project quoting and reseller setup, both of which we have effectively accomplished. Actual sales have not yet materialized, which is okay because I did not have that expectation at this point in the process. The next step that I am looking to take is to start tangible sales efforts, which I believe will occur very soon.
Are you satisfied with both the sales outsourcing service and the digital marketing service provided by EuroDev? Currently, what aspects of these services have been notably positive, and do you have any suggestions for potential areas of improvement?
That’s a hard question. If we were to try to undertake a similar endeavor in the American market, we would encounter a similar timeline and face comparable stages of development. Therefore, it’s difficult to say that we could achieve a quicker or more efficient process. I think we have a really good plan that we are currently executing, which I really appreciate.
What would you say that American manufacturers need to be aware of when entering Europe? You mentioned long cycles as one factor.
Well, the long cycle is specific to the type of product that we sell. Eurodev has been recommended to me by a couple of business leaders that I personally respect and trust. They have shared some key successes with me stemming from this organization. I’m happy to share the story of our partnership and recommend Eurodev as a service to any of my sister companies in the private equity world.
I believe there are three keys to success: the first one is engaging in profiling and evaluating the team members that EuroDev is bringing on board or us. The second is adopting a mindset that regards EuroDev team members as integral members of our own team. Lastly, the implementation of SMART goals and consistently touching base. The more proactive our interaction, from both sides of the partnership, the higher the level of engagement and performance we will collectively achieve.