Even though the United States is the biggest market on the planet, it isn’t necessarily the easiest to break in to. As such, Mexican IT companies need to understand the basics of approaching potential clients and collaborators in their neighboring country. Nexus 2016’s Mexico IT Leadership Panel gave such companies a unique chance to soak up advice from experts in achieving this goal.

Speaking on the panel were Guillermo Gonzalez, Executive Director of MexicoIT; Sanjay Dayal, CTO of Agralogics; Jorge Villalobos, CEO of 3DMX and Frank Guerrero, Vice President of Product for xTV Networks, with Toby Redshaw, Former CIO of American Express and Partner at Kevington Advisors acting as moderator.

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Left to right: Toby Redshaw, Former CIO of American Express and Partner at Kevington Advisors; Sanjay Dayal, CTO of Agralogics; Jorge Villalobos, CEO of 3DMX; Guillermo Gonzalez, Executive Director of MexicoIT, and Frank Guerrero, Vice President of Product for xTV Networks.

Sanjay Dayal was the first to offer up advice for attacking the US market, suggesting that Latin American technology companies should “get ‘em young, and grow with them…find spaces like the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, California, where you can present yourself to a lot of companies that are looking not just for cost savings, but for partners too”.

Jorge Villalobos agreed, stating that the most crucial part at the beginning was to build a network. “People in the US like to help out, so you have to engage with them to let them know what you’re doing,” he said. “It’s also important to feel out new technology trends, because you may have a good technology, but you don’t want to find out that 25 other guys are doing the same thing in the US.”

“There might not be an ecosystem as mature as Silicon Valley, but the opportunities to build a bridge between Mexico and certain cities, such as Salt Lake City, Utah, Boston and Austin, that’s what we are striving for,” said our very own Executive Director, Guillermo Gonzalez. “The idea is to put the companies where the game is and have them better understand the necessities of the stakeholders in those regions in order to try and attract them.”

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“If you have a generalist company, you have to exceptional at one or two things.” – Toby Redshaw, Former CIO of American Express and Partner at Kevington Advisors

Finally, Toby Redshaw stepped in to point out that recommendations from friends are the biggest influencers in purchasing decisions across all sectors, not just products or brands, before explaining how to handle that first meeting. “One thing you should never ask is “what’s your biggest problem”, because your potential client will expect you to know that,” he said. His second point was that even if you have a generalist company, you have to exceptional at one or two things, and then lead with those things in the meeting. And thirdly, many companies don’t realize that small is big. Larger companies might never have time for certain customers, so small companies can offer better service and direct connection with the CEO and decision makers.

Ultimately, the proximity of Mexico to California is creating a wide range of collaboration opportunities, around software, film and animation, and other digital platforms. This year’s Nexus event gave attendees valuable insight about how to seize those opportunities and grow their own businesses in the massive US market.

To learn more from the Mexico IT Leadership Panel, check out the Nearshore Nexus 2016 highlight reel below.