CleanTelligent Software started out from rather humble beginnings. While working for his family’s janitorial service company, Michael Jenkins needed a better solution for tracking employees than the existing traditional janitorial logbooks. So Jenkins developed software used for tracking employees, workloading, and other essential business statistics. Realizing this software was a worthwhile tool that could benefit more than just his family’s business, Jenkins split off from his family’s company and founded CleanTelligent Software. Soon, he was offering the software to the jansan world with the addition of a basic communication piece to replace traditional logbooks. This led to Jenkins incorporating inspection reports into his software, which really developed the program further and increased demand.
As the company grew, Jenkins knew that he had to get his product out into the hands of the cleaning industry at large. “This need to market and achieve name recognition was the driving force in CleanTelligent joining ISSA in 2005,” says Taylor Larkin, current CleanTelligent director of sales and marketing. “Being a member of ISSA, and more importantly exhibiting at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN® trade shows, has given our company the chance to market to the entire world of janitorial companies so they can see software solutions to improve their own businesses.
“There are two main reasons why CleanTelligent has exhibited at every ISSA/INTERCLEAN trade show since becoming a member. One is the exposure the company gets with the sheer number of attendees every year. And secondly, we don’t want to fall out of people’s minds with regards to the industry. We want to make sure CleanTelligent is viewed as a standard in the industry, and ISSA has given us that opportunity.”
Exhibiting at ISSA/INTERCLEAN presents its own special challenges for CleanTelligent. Unlike many exhibitors that have booths filled to the gills with floor machines, sweepers, cleaning products, and other janitorial equipment, CleanTelligent’s products are all forms of computer- or tablet-based software.
“Our product offerings have influenced the whole layout for our booth,” says Larkin. “Having large video screens hanging in our booth displaying the software frees up floor space. There’s plenty of space for me and the other employees in the booth to demo our software products in a one-on-one conversation. But we also set things up in the booth so there are the screens up inviting the public to visit the booth. We do our best to keep the booth very open and show three or four different demos at once on anything from a 32-inch to 70-inch TV. While we can’t give a hands-on demo like some equipment manufacturers, we do our best to sit people down and show them a quick example on our tablets to give them a chance to get a taste of our software in action.”
Go With the Flow
Booth layout is just one of CleanTelligent’s strategies for a successful show. According to Larkin, the key is much like the old real estate adage: location, location, and location. “When it comes time to choose a booth, we’re concerned with the flow of traffic,” he says. “We make it a point to be as close to the main aisle and positioned next to or near larger distributors or other bigger manufacturers so we can feed off the traffic flow that our neighbors are generating as well.”
Since 2005, the CleanTelligent team has become professionals at developing a successful ISSA/INTERCLEAN exhibition. Part of the success is attributed to planning. “As an exhibitor, as soon as you start planning for the show, you need to have a goal in mind as to what you want to achieve,” says Larkin. “If you’re just going to the show to gather business cards and leads for later, your strategy is going to be much different than if you want to close deals on the floor. First and foremost, figure out what you want to get out of ISSA/INTERCLEAN.”
It is never too early to start that planning: “Here at CleanTelligent, we’ll start planning for the next year’s show before we close down the current one,” says Larkin. “As a team, we’ll take the time to look over what we did and decide how we can improve. We discuss throughout the year what products we are developing and releasing so we can showcase them at the show. Then, about four to five months before the show, we start the dedicated marketing for our products and booth with mentions to customers in emails and via social media. The last month before the show, we really ramp things up so the trade show is the sole focus of our marketing.”
Doubling Up on Awards
Having a successful booth is just one way that CleanTelligent makes a name for itself at ISSA/INTERCLEAN. The company is a reigning two-time winner in the ISSA Innovation Award Program, something Larkin views as another key avenue for promoting the company. “With the award program, our strategy has been to showcase how we have grown since the last year,” he says. “It gives us the opportunity to show off a well-developed and useful product. “
But CleanTelligent realizes it is more than just entering the contest. There is a certain amount of effort that goes into ensuring a winning entry, besides a superior innovation, of course. “What we’ve done both years that has led to our success in the ISSA Innovation Award Program is as soon as voting is open, we send out emails to current customers to let them know we are again in the competition,” says Larkin. “We send customers a link to a video of the product in action and encourage them to vote. We also hold internal competitions to see who can generate the most votes. And since each visitor to the site can only vote once, we make sure to market our product in advance of the show by talking on social media and sending out emails so we can attract members of the industry and the public at large.”
Get Out and Vote
The voting drive doesn’t stop once the show starts so CleanTelligent takes its passion for the ISSA Innovation Awards Program to the ISSA/INTERCLEAN show floor as well. “In 2012, we had a dedicated spot so people could vote in our booth,” says Larkin. “We did not want to lose their vote in the time it took to walk to the awards program booth; we had them vote for us right in the booth, eliminating distractions.”
ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America 2014, November 4-7, might seem a long way away to some, but for CleanTelligent the show in Orlando, FL, is just around the corner. And true to his word, Larkin and his team are already busy planning. “We’re going to debut a couple of new things this year, and we’re already deciding on our final products,” he says. “CleanTelligent tends to use the show for a deadline for our product releases. We always try to have something new to showcase while we’re there. And of course that means another entry in the awards program.” With the winning strategy CleanTelligent has developed for exhibiting and marketing, don’t be surprised to see a three-peat when the 2014 ISSA Innovation Award Program winners are announced on the last day of the show.