Facilitating International Trade Missions for high growth tech, digital and eCommerce scale-up companies to expand globally, is critical to unlocking economic activity and driving recovery post lockdown.
London is the key soft-landing mission hub for tech and digital growth across EMEA and is the second biggest SaaS market after the US. The challenge is – with travel restrictions and quarantine procedures likely to continue – how can any inbound US Trade Mission happen in the next 6 months?
How 7 SaaS Brands From Arizona ‘Landed’ in the UK – This May!
GTM Global, working from London, with the Metro Phoenix Global RISE programme (MPEXA) in Arizona, has just delivered the first Virtual Mission for 7 US SaaS brands and successfully launched them into London.
The original mission was conceived and funded by the MPEXA with a set of physical events, conferences and 1-2-1 networking events in London planned for March 2020. The ensuing COVID lockdown meant a re-think – not in terms of postponement or cancellation – but of virtualization.
Following a coherent series of five interactive webinars in May, the participant companies are now either actively growing and launching from the UK or have formulated a clear, de-risked roadmap to do so for later this autumn.
Mission Goals: Knowledge and Confidence to Invest
Delegate companies from Phoenix spanned sectors of cybersecurity, partner sales acceleration, retail footfall sales generation, media, learning management, data privacy and executive coaching platforms. Goals varied depending on the channel and business size, but essentially their objectives were in three categories:
In each case, GTM Global worked remotely with the delegate companies from January onwards identifying individualised go-to-market strategies. From February, a short-list of appropriate UK service providers in legal, accounting, localisation, sales channels, and recruitment were remotely introduced to each company. A set of 1-2-1 bespoke meetings were then teed up for the dedicated March Mission week in London. In addition, government and trade bodies were identified, to deliver a set of valuable workshops, seminars, and networking events, as part of the Mission itinerary.
Creating a Virtual Mission to London
A week before the Mission was about to fly into London, the global lockdown happened, and the physical mission was abandoned. What was clear to GTM and its US stakeholders was that despite the lack of a physical mission, most, if not all of the original mission objectives could still be delivered, virtually. So, within a week of the cancellation of the physical mission a new virtual itinerary was agreed and created.
During the week commencing the 11th of May, an audience of C-suite business owners in Arizona watched, engaged, and questioned on video conference links, a peerless set of expert market entry panellists in London. After each of the presentations, 1-2-1 calls and conversations were then set up between the individual companies and those resonant in-country experts.
In that week, MPEXA and GTM Global made the virtual market launch and entry strategies of those 7 SaaS brands a physical reality. The sessions included:
- US Commercial Service Country Briefing: The US Commercial Service in London, based at the US Embassy in Vauxhall, gave a UK country briefing on best practices and their services in support of US companies seeking international export markets.
- Accessing London’s Business Communities: The City of London’s international trade, investment and promotion agency, London & Partners, gave an overview of the tech hub in London and information regarding soft-landing and best practices entering the market.
- Accessing the UK’s Digital and Technology Business Networks: TechUK and the UK government’s Department for International Trade gave an overview regarding the technology association and shared insight regarding the UK’s digital and technology business landscape.
- UK Regulatory Landscape: Squire Patton Boggs, US-headquartered law firm operating in 20 countries including the UK, provided legal advice on topics including compliance/ GDPR, intellectual property protection and trademarking.
- Doing Business in the UK: Localizing content, finding talent and sales, and cross-cultural communication. The team at GTM Global shared information on compliance, resources, messaging, and sales. Then a panel of experts gave overviews on best practices and highlighting pitfalls, including accounting/ tax, localization (marketing, copywriting and sales culture), resources (offices and talent), sales/channel partnerships and networks.
Beyond the Landing – Building Operations in London
Of the 7 AZ SaaS brands who signed up for the mission, five have or will be operational in London by the autumn with the other two to follow shortly thereafter. The value to those individual brands to still be able to launch, invest and grow now in the UK – despite the COVID lockdown is immense for them and the London – Phoenix tech communities.
About GTM Global
GTM Global connects UK scale-up brands in digital and tech to a designated panel of experts from government, trade bodies and commercial partners to provide on-going advice and guidance on go-to-market strategy and international expansion planning.
By participating in the programme you can expect a mix of the following: