If you are a software developer or managed IT services provider entering the US market, stop talking about CMMI, agile, scrum, lean, .NET, Java, SharePoint, SAP, or any other technical or methodological buzzword.
To really prepare for the US market, to make sure you increase your chances of success, you’ve got to stop talking about the products or services you sell. Instead, talk about the problems you solve. Talk about your story, and how that fits in with your potential customer’s needs, wants and worldview. And talk about how you’re different from all the other CMMI, agile, Microsoft certified, or SAP/Oracle/IBM partners and developers out there.
Buyers and decision-makers don’t care about all the facts and figures you’ll throw at them (well, they do after they decide they like you – they use it to justify a decision they’ve already made). They care about dealing with a company that solves their problems, takes away their risks, or helps them innovate. And most of all they like dealing with companies who speak directly to them and their particular point of view.
How do you do that?
Narrow Your Focus
If you have strong collective knowledge in your organization on one of these vertical markets it might be a good idea to focus on them.
Then research the markets like crazy. Read industry reports, go to their conferences, interview industry experts. The more you know about a particular market, the more you’ll know what to say and how to say it when you write content for your website and brochures, create presentations for conferences, and go on sales calls.
Go Beyond the Vertical
The vertical is the physical and demographic characteristics of your target market. But that’s not enough.
Remember, the US market is a hyper-competitive multi-media landscape. Your prospects are drowning in messages. Everything looks like white noise to them. They’re still not going to notice you even if you say you specialize in “cloud computing solutions for retailers.”
What you want to do next is identify two more things that will really help you cut through the noise and make your US prospects notice.
Focus On a Particular Problem
Think you’ll be limiting your opportunities by going too narrow? Not by a long shot.
Taking my earlier example: You might want to focus on providing cloud computing services for retailers. And if you read the complete article on cloud computing and the results of the KPMG study on the perceived expertise of buyers, you’ll notice a deeper opportunity: the need for education.
You could differentiate yourself by providing turnkey cloud computing services to retailers, and as a bonus you could offer free training: “Cloud Computing 101” for all your clients.
Now you’re focusing on a vertical market or two, and you’re solving a real problem within that niche.
Tell a Story That Resonates
As Seth Godin says in his book “All Marketers Are Liars ,” you need to frame a story that coincides with your target market’s worldview.
What’s an un-served worldview that is just dying for a story you could tell them? Maybe there’s a sub-group of retail CIOs and IT Directors who work for up-and-coming Tier II retailers whose mission in life is to un-seat the Wal-Marts, Targets and Best Buys of the world from their thrones.
Maybe you could tell them the story that you specialize in helping fast-growth, technology savvy retailers grow to become tomorrow’s giants.
What’s Your Story?
I just put the above scenario together in a matter of minutes using valuable information presented in a couple of Nearshoreamericas.com articles. With a bit more research and preparation you could come up with a complete market strategy by thinking along the same lines.
It’s an example of what I would do if I was in charge of your US market entry efforts and an example of the type of exercise and thinking you should go through as you plan your US or world domination plans.
So what’s your story?