Written by Ailbhe Duffy, b2b different
Technology Ireland run a very nice event, TechBrew – described as “an informal gathering of software management and technology leaders, getting together to chat over a bite and a beer”. Last night’s event was all about bringing your software product/service to the US market.
Philip Hogan CEO, CliffRun Media, David Sinnott EVP Sales and Marketing, Escher Group and Jason Keogh, VP of Product with 1E have all competed and succeeded in the US market and had great insights to share. Some take-outs from the evening;
The US is an easier market to penetrate…
US business environment was described as “conservatively open-minded”, they’re willing to make it work for you but it needs to be on their terms. You don’t have to be located next to them but you have to be able to take that call at 2am. Tread carefully with politics and religion! Engaging in an informal environment can be very beneficial. In many ways its a less complex market to penetrate than Europe.
Technology and innovation is a given…
US business has a love of technology and innovation and a deep awareness of the digital economy. For market entry, investment in the digital space is highly recommended. Make your website work for you, invest in content that you can leverage and get your workflow around your digital strategy right. Buying behaviour has changed – there was a strong recommendation to put money into a good content marketing plan.
Clear vision and value proposition…
Be able to articulate a clear vision for your business. Understand where you fit in the value chain – in some industries software providers have to partner in order to make the sales. Make sure you have a good value proposition – clean and easily understood. What sales model is going to work? eg inbound marketing sales model – content marketing with a good inbound marketing workflow behind it. Understand your market dynamics and how it is structured.
Don’t forget the neighbours…
The relationship between the US and Canada is subtly different but almost identical. Barring Quebec (mais pourquoi pas?) it’s easy enough to use your US sales guy in Canada and approach the market in a similar manner to the US – so there are synergies there to capitalise on.
Mexico is a big territory but you may need to take a different sales approach and it takes time.
Setting up an office and hiring…
You don’t necessarily have to have an office in the US and if you do its location is an important consideration. Wherever you decide to locate you’ll be putting in the air miles. Once you have your first customer it’s advisable to set up a US legal entity – but watch out for the different tax laws in the different states.
Be prepared to spend on a good sales resource – the good guys with c-level access are expensive. The feeling was that it’s probably going to get more difficult to bring guys over to the US so finding people you trust to do the job is critical.
Thanks to the panel of speakers and to Donagh Kiernan, CEO Tenego Partnering who did a great job chairing the event. Thanks also to Eoghan O’Faolain and the team at Technology Ireland for a very informative evening.