Creating Your SelectUSA Success Plan, Part 1

Last year, the team at MEET joined more than 3,000 international business investors, U.S. economic developers, CEOs, government officials and market-entry thought leaders at the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit.

Unequivocally, SelectUSA 2018 was the best trade event we’ve ever attended and we’re thrilled to be returning this year. For companies looking to scale internationally to the U.S. market, you’d be hard pressed to find a better opportunity to help you achieve your goals.

At MEET, we help international B2B growth companies soft land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. One of the most effective ways we do this is by ensuring that every investment of time and resources in the U.S. market is maximized. This requires an immense amount of trade show strategy planning — from event selection, marketing design, execution, and follow-up.

In our recent webinar, Setting the Table: Creating Your SelectUSA Success Plan, Part 1, our goal was to help companies planning to attend SelectUSA approach the event from the perspective of a trade show strategy plan. In essence, how to apply our strategic planning and implementation tools to the best opportunity in the business.

Setting your goals for SelectUSA

For many companies looking to scale to the U.S. market, SelectUSA represents months or even years of planning executed in a 3-day event. Fully leveraging this opportunity requires setting clearly articulated goals for:

  • What you’re aiming to accomplish;
  • Who you’re aiming to meet; and
  • What you’re aiming to learn.

Goal-setting your trade show strategy is similar to using the gym. A facility manager fills the gym with all sorts of equipment with the expectation that not everyone will use every asset but some combination will satisfy each individual’s purpose for being there. It is therefore up to the individual to identify the best regiment to achieve their desired results.

Similarly, every trade show attendee comes to an event with different goals and priorities. Meanwhile, the event organizers have curated a full program of tools of resources with these goals in mind. Y(our) role is to develop a unique plan of action (meetings, booth strategy, speaking events) to achieve them.

SMART Goals

For a really simple way to look at effective goal-setting, we like to refer to SMART goals — Specific, Measurable, Achievable (realistic), Relevant (to the priority that you’ve set), and Time-bound, i.e. it’s not a goal if you don’t have a deadline for meeting it.

High-level examples for SelectUSA may include determining the best city in which to scale your venture, connecting with U.S. investors, and developing channel partners. Using SMART to distill these goals into a clearly articulated action plan will help you be more effective at prioritizing your agenda, and at networking.

The better you are at succinctly expressing your purpose for attending SelectUSA, the better those around you will be at helping you achieve your goals.

Setting your agenda

Now that you have your SMART goals, it’s time to set your agenda. That means determining who, of the approximately 3,000 people in attendance, are your primary targets and how you will meet them.

These are not general categories or types of people, i.e. investors or marketing consultants, though that’s a great place to start. Rather, these are people by name or discipline/role who you know will be in attendance and networks you can use to connect with them.

At MEET, we recommend taking a deep dive into the SelectUSA platform (schedule of events, attendees and resources) as soon as possible, and creating a map which overlays your top three market entry priorities with the most valuable resources. Back to our gym analogy, maximize ROI by becoming your own ultimate trainer.

Identifying your best leverage points

Like sand in an hourglass, time does run out on great opportunities like SelectUSA. Another strategy for maximizing ROI at high stakes events like this one is to utilize every available minute the show has to offer and identify your best leverage points for making connections.

You are not restricted to the event dates to schedule your meetings. As soon as the event app is available, you should begin matchmaking, even setting up preliminary meetings. Positioning yourself so that you can have second and third-level conversations at the event. This will create more value than trying to follow-up remotely from your home market.

Maximizing ROI at a unique opportunity like SelectUSA requires preparation. Setting goals that you can clearly articulate, mapping a strategic agenda over these goals, and leveraging every opportunity before the event to connect with the most valuable resources are a great place to start.

About
MEET
(meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney for a free, no-obligation consultation bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573–4821.

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