Is Central Europe the new Silicon Valley? SALESmanago’s Case Study

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One of the omnipresent truths about doing business is that you can’t stay still. Constant development is essential and that is exactly what Polish entrepreneur Grzegorz Blazewicz wanted to do when almost 4 years ago he decided to go for a marketing automation start-up. Outgrowing his old business vision (which at the beginning had only Polish perspective), he decided to create the company which will have the chance to become largest and most effectively functioning marketing automation platform in Europe.

I reached the stage at which I realized that Marketing Automation was something I needed most while working as a CMO in various Polish companies – says Blazewicz. Moreover, I believed that I wasn’t not the only one there wanting to lift marketing efforts to the whole new level. Besides, there weren’t any Polish solutions of that kind, so my thought was simple: someone has to do the first step!

Was it risky? Yes, it was. At that time, the sector wasn’t well established in Central Europe and there was an understandable fear whether Poland and Polish companies are ready for new marketing solutions.

After few other ideas and solutions which didn’t turn out to be a success, we decided to go for marketing automation and created the first Polish system – SALESmanago. Starting a completely new company is always a risky business. At that time at our domestic market there wasn’t almost any knowledge or awareness among marketers what marketing automation techniques are. It means that we needed to create the whole new market for our solution. But you know – no pain, no gain, explains Blazewicz.

New Silicon Valley

Blazewicz and his SALESmanago took a chance to use the potential of the moment and of the place where the business launched. Cracow, located in Lesser Poland district, is the fast growing IT center with world class technical universities, good communication, other companies who have established themselves here (like Google, Comarch, Sabre, Boost Communications, Schibsted Media Group) and – first and foremost – people with entrepreneur personality. Young and talented Polish specialists no longer want to form a tiny part of huge corporations and rather invest their potential in high-tech start-ups that expand globally. There are stories of huge business success born in Central Europe, for example, Estimote Beacons – producer of small wireless sensors that can be attached to any location or InPost – network of automated parcel lockers allowing online shoppers and retailers to send, receive, and return goods anytime of the day or night.

First steps

Polish bureaucracy and initial logistic problems weren’t the only ones. The main challenge was having the company up and running with just a few employees on the spot, especially that the development work had to be done on daily basis for first product owners who decided to implement marketing automation solutions.

Right people for the project, first office, reaching potential clients and of course some cash flow, says SALESmanago’s CEO. Thanks to our hardworking team and a strong belief in our business goals, we were able to reach Polish companies, teach them about why they need Marketing Automation, and of course obtain first clients.

It turned out that it was worth the struggle.

There is one important moment I will always remember – explains Blazewicz. That was the moment that for me was a proof that our initial business concept was right. It was the day when we acquired our first clients and when the cash started to flow. But of course, from the very beginning I was sure that this business will be a success. You can’t build strong company if you don’t believe in your product – he adds.

Keeping up with the elite

Four years from that time, SALESmanago established itself as Europe’s largest and – according to Datanyze, one of the world’s top 6 – marketing automation platforms, competing with such world players as Hubspot, Marketo, Act-on and Oracle Eloqua. The system is used by over 2000 companies in 30 countries, helping them to achieve better results in almost every digital marketing and sales field.

Nowadays, SALESmanago offers a complete and unique set of modules for marketing and sales teams. They include Next Generation Digital Body Language functionalities and Real Time Decisioning Engine that enable providing real-time 1-to-1 personalized predictive offers in all marketing channels viz e-mail marketing, dynamic website content, social media, mobile applications, advertising networks as well as Call Centers and POS. SALESmanago specializes in automation of processes in B2C and eCommerce, but the system is also successfully implemented in B2B companies.

Blazewicz and his team have recently set up business development offices in London and New York and have acquired over 30 reselling partners across Spain, Germany, Portugal, India, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Ecuador. This translates into 100% growth for the third consecutive year with revenue of $2M and net profit of $0.5M. In 2015, the company plans to double their revenue and profit and expand further in European Union and United States. This move will be supported by another financing round with international VC’s in 2016.

– By Agnieszka Idzik