In less than two months, you will be among the 4,500 companies or the 180,000 attendees at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Among them you surely can count individuals (journalists, customers, partners, investors, etc.) that would change your destiny… if you could only meet them!
But how can you draw their attention at such a giant technology fair?
First solution is bring a 50-people team to Las Vegas, run a booth in every hall, be the guest speaker of the conference and organize a huge cocktail party. Sorry, are you not Google?
Then maybe you need to strategize in order to optimize your scarce financial and human resources. To begin with, ask yourself the right questions and try to answer honestly!
Why am I even going to CES?
Or why am I going to spend all that money and time to travel to the other side of the world when I could work on my product/sales/fundraising/recruiting? (Please don’t tell me it is because your local chamber of commerce, region or congressman asked you if you wanted to go).
More than why, the question you need to answer is “What do I want to achieve at CES”, “What could change the course of my company”. It could be:
- Benchmark my competition (then you don’t need a booth)
- Test my prototype
- Find distributors
- Gain visibility in the U.S.
- Gain visibility in France (yes it works)
- Find investors
- Lose all my love money in a casino
The most important is to pick one or two and have a clear focus that you share with the rest of your team.
Who do I want to talk to?
Now that you are clear about your objective, you should be clear about who you want to talk to. List the ideal profile and strategize your outreach optimize your schedule during the event accordingly. You can have your target audience visit your booth by contacting journalists, distributors, or potential customers before the event. You can also have a very focused message to attract the audience to your booth. Which brings us to our third question.
What do you show and tell at CES?
What will be your story? Remember CES stands for “consumer electronic show”. Your HR enterprise software won’t be what people are looking for there. You can tell a story explaining how you have a BtoC and BtoB strategy, but you want your primary target to really understand why they should care about your product or your company. Simplicity always wins.
Also, don’t forget you won’t be the only company presenting a compelling story. Before attending, do your homework and try to understand what is your real value proposition (what do I do differently that my customers want to have?).
When will I launch my product in the U.S.?
You need to have a clear answer (if not a clear idea) of what you will answer to that question. People want to get cool new stuff, but they might not want to wait 1 year to get it. And it is even worse if you announce a launch in 6 months and never deliver.
Now that you have all your answers, you can decide to invest all your budgeted time and money (if you have any left) to optimize your lead generation at CES.
- Based on the reasons you travel there and your ideal profile, do some research on the website:
- Decide in which hall you want to exhibit or spend your free-time. Also check if there are some interesting conferences you want to go to learn interesting trends and mingle with the right people (it is usually easy to go and talk to the speakers after the track – if it is not the keynote obviously)
- You can also prepare meetings before the conference. Feel free to contact any exhibitor that could be a good partner and try to set up a meeting on their booth (LinkedIn is always useful). Journalists should be contacted beginning of December at the latest.
- You can also set up an inbound strategy by developing interesting content that you will release just before or during CES (the best casino to go to?).
- During the conference, try to always have someone present on your booth to address every opportunity (U.S. interns can be an option)
- Have the right pitch ready for the different persons you will meet. Don’t pitch to an investor, distributor, end-user or journalist the same way!
- Try to understand who do you speak to before delivering the pitch. Ask questions!
- Develop the best process to collect the right information to be able to qualify the leads: scanners, interns, excel spreadsheet, etc. Just pick one and follow through!
- Don’t forget to thank your U.S. visitors. This is a basic way to show that you have manners and are involved. The sooner, the better (even on the same day/night).
- Do you remember why you went there? Did you achieve your objectives?
- If yes, then you are just starting the process, you now need to FOLLOW-UP!
- Based on the qualification of your leads, you absolutely need to follow-up within a week with the most interesting persons you talked to. Try to give them achievable next steps in the near future and keep the momentum. Deals in the U.S. can happen very quickly if you catch the momentum. But if you don’t show reactivity you might lose your chance.
Debrief about your experience. How much time, effort and money did you invest? Was it worth it? Should you go again? What should you improve?
Need some help? contact us!
big bang factory is a unique growth accelerator located in San Francisco, New-York and Boston. big bang factory has developed a unique methodology based on two pillars to optimize a U.S. development for global B2B companies: A lean approach to define and validate a dedicated U.S. strategyA structured system to implement and execute a sales plan while minimizing resourcesOur iterative approach enables us to constantly refine positioning and execution in order to successfully penetrate the U.S. market.Contact us for more information or if you need help with your U.S. development.