Alexander Degenhart: Networking is the crucial part of a start-up’s strategy.

Meet Alexander Degenhart at the MOI – THE MAGIC OF INNOVATION in Vienna

Please introduce yourself to our readers!
Alexander Degenhart: Dear readers, I am Alexander Degenhart. Since around 15 years I have been dealing with business development topics – my focus is on sales. I run my own consultancy firm with a selected specialization on sales and its development and management. My customers are start-ups and also international corporates from different market sectors. I hold master degrees in law, economics, studied management and leadership and like combining trainings, lectures and consultancy services with analytical business simulations. Privately I enjoy travelling and exercising sports such as cycling, swimming and hiking.

Please tell us about your business?
Alexander Degenhart: I love to work with ambitious entrepreneurs, corporates and startups as well who seek for growing their business through sustained, long-lasting sales. As a sales expert with many years of C-Level experience I empower organizations in accellerating their sales – from a strategy to the implementation and its management. This is in general what I do. It includes business modelling, supporting sales operations and sales organizational development. What makes the difference to other consultants? Well, quite often I get involved in the search of new key accounts and partnerships, but also in the set-up of new sales channels in foreign countries.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
Alexander Degenhart: Since I have been dealing mainly with companies’ growth ambitions my job is to identify sales potentials, to introduce organizational reforms in the business environment – which enables the business to grow, hopefully…:) More often I support start-ups and corporates in assessing their sales proficiency and sales associates. Furthermore, in spring and autumn I spend quite a portion of time to work with students at colleges and business schools on sales management topics.

You are a speaker of the event MOI – THE MAGIC OF INNOVATION. What do you talk about on the event?
Alexander Degenhart: The MOI provides a cool event atmosphere where insurance corporates and young companies get a great chance to exchange their experience in terms of business development. I like to inspire both sides to meet, discuss and think about cooperations. My key message to start-ups there: „Young companies should not and must not hesitate to contact an insurance management team. Prepare yourself professionally and offer solutions which convince both insurers and their customers in terms of competitive advantages (keyword: C-Level-Selling for start-ups).“ When it comes to the corporate side I like to place the message: „Whatever you do in sales – do it well.

Customers instinctively feel whether an insurer’s communication plan and its packages of services are really seriously performed and finally convincing. Think about: You get your customer’s loyality only after your customer does really identify with your product, brand or sales force.“

What do you mean: How changed the startup scene in the last years? The most mistakes of startup founders?
Alexander Degenhart: Well, I am not sure how much and in which extent it has changed. Definitely there are more public and private programs in place which support the environment and start-ups a lot. Nowadays it is quite easy to start and run a business and the job and start-up market offers many professionals who like to be a part of a new entreprise.

In terms of mistakes: I recommend all start-ups to soon test their products on the market – not to wait too long for the market’s feedback. This helps to adapt the business model, product and sales approach. In order to find out soon the quality and potential of a product start-ups should soon set up an internal sales organization which is ready to promote and launch the product. Time is an essential factor for all start-ups as their financial funds are normally quite limited.

Which books do you read?
Alexander Degenhart: I read a lot although my days are often long. Whenever I have the chance I attend to books, business and sports magazins. Newspapers I gave up since they do not anymore fulfill my expectations. FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) I do recommend, yes. It is a different league. In terms of books: I like stories about business, trends, technic, etc. There are moments when I grap some classic stuff – such as Stefan Zweig. I enjoy it!

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Alexander Degenhart: Well. I like to continue with my consultancy business as it is so exciting. Everyday I have the chance to be part of cool and great business ideas. In five years I will have invested in a handful of sound start-ups where I am able to contribute with my background and know-how.

What 3 tips would you give to startup founders?
Be a strong networker. Networking is the crucial part of a start-up’s strategy. Bringing a new business to the market means to convince many people – especially the right ones. Then: Be always innovative and permanently work on the onboarding of excellent people which enriches the start-up organization. And finally: Start soon to think about money: Lobby for your ideas, convince people and raise money.

Thank you Alexander Degenhart for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer ist 39 Jahre jung, Gründerin und leitende Redakteurin der StartupValleyNews. Ihre Karriere startete sie in verschiedenen internationalen Direktvertriebsunternehmen. Seit 2007 ist sie hauptberuflich als Journalistin tätig. Während dieser Zeit lernte sie die Startup-Szene kennen und schätzen, was Sie dazu bewogen hat mit StartupValleyNews ein internationales Startup Magazin aufzubauen!

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