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Preparing for International Success

June 29, 2017 |

In the past two years, our team has seen 108 companies generate over $230 million in sales and investments at global tech events. While the products, services, business goals and tech industry sectors of the most successful companies vary wildly, there is one key factor they all share: the degree to which they prepared. 

Success is not random. It is achieved through research, resources and planning. In the context of a global tech event, success can be further aided by understanding the business climate, clearly articulating what you offer your target audience (that nobody else does), and setting realistic, actionable goals. What follows is an action plan developed through consultation with Cumula Inc. (Winnipeg, MB) and Wilton Consulting (Edmonton, AB.)This approach is paired with ICT West’s on the ground observations, experience and proven methodology to maximize your likelihood of success at an international event.


  1. Determine your objectives.
    Global industry gatherings are, at their core, an opportunity to make – and further – connections. It’s both that simple and that complex. You need introductions and meetings. At each of the world’s most reputable tech events (including CES, Mobile World Congress and Web Summit), there are bound to be over 50,000 attendees, including more than 7,000 CEOs and over 20,000 companies. There’s no way you can meet with them all, so ask yourself:

    • What do I want to walk away with when this event ends?
    • Who do I want to meet with and why?
    • Why do they want to meet me?
    • How can I ensure I meet them?
    • How will I make the most of the meetings I secure?


  1. Identify Your Targets

You can break those connections down to three basic categories: buyers, investors or partners. After identifying which companies you’d like to meet that will be in attendance at your chosen event, you need to identify who within each company is your ideal point of contact. Remember: people do business with people. You can’t meet with Google. Google isn’t a person. Who is the person within Google that is interested in what you have to offer? Your ideal point of contact is the person within the organization whose problem you can solve, and who achieves the greatest value from working with you. Opportunities can include:

  • CEOs: Focused on profitability, bottom-line, growth and quality
  • VP of Sales: Focused on top line growth and customer acquisition
  • VP of Operations: Focused on operational efficiency
  • Director of Marketing: Focused on growing awareness and revenue streams

Start by developing a profile for each target, that includes their company profile and job title within company. Then ask: what problem do they have? What is the value of solving it? And: how will meeting them help me achieve my goals and objective?


  1. Identify Your Value Proposition For Each Individual Target

When it comes to approaching potential buyers, investors or partners, there’s no such thing as “one size fits all.” A person is most likely to agree to a meeting if you demonstrate that you can help them meet their unique goals and objectives. After you’ve identified each target’s problem that needs to be solved, write down the reasons why you are the best choice to help them solve it. Be aware that this is not necessarily a technological reason.


  1.  Set Your Meeting Strategy

Many organizations, government departments and for profit entities offer varying levels of support for business to business introductions or meeting matching. ICT West works with you to determine what resources are available at each event and also works on your behalf to extend your reach through our network. The most successful introductions occur when you need to lay the groundwork so that we’re all looking in the right direction. Write a meeting request to each of your targets set the stage for a meaningful connection. Writing an effective meeting request requires thoughtfulness and consideration of your target’s needs.

Experience and proven practices show that, in order to secure a meeting, your meeting request can be fairly succinct and should sound something like this:

“Ms. Target, we understand that companies like yours are seeking to do something. Our company may be able to provide significant assistance toward achieving that goal as we have created something. Shall we plan a meeting during The Conference?”

 By letting us know who you’ve requested meetings with, ICT West is positioned for success in arranging for your targets to meet you during the event.  


  1. Make the Most of Each Meeting

All of this pre-work leads to the next step – the meeting. Most conference meetings are less than 30 minutes. While it’s important to use each meeting to try to advance your business goals, remember that it’s not all about you. This is relationship building. Take the time to understand the other person’s goals, needs and problems that need solving. If they are aligned with what you can provide, you win. Rather than closing a deal, the objective of your meeting should be to secure a follow-up meeting, perhaps including others in the organization, where you can discuss a mutually beneficial relationship or transaction in greater depth.

To prepare for each (short) conference meeting, it is best to prepare a unique agenda of the areas you hope to learn about and discuss, for each target. Learn as much as you can about their present business situation, and demonstrate your expertise through the questions you ask.

In your request for a follow-up, be sure to include some specifics that were discussed in your meeting, demonstrate active listening, and specifically address the ways in which your company/technology can help them meet their needs.


*For more information on preparing for an industry conference or trade mission, contact Jenny Motkaluk of Cumula Inc.