When we recently set out on the road of deploying MedTech it was all about the first 100 clients.
Export and growth is about traction – it is vital to prove your product in the market and it has to answer some some very challenging questions:
- Does it work?
- Will it add value?
- Is the market ready for it?
- Can you find a route to market?
- Can you monetise?
- Can you deploy, train and support it
- Will people continue to use it?
The benchmark I set myself and my team was to reach 100 Healthcare clients deriving benefit from our product every day. Until then I only let us accept that we were in proof of concept stage and this is an incredibly nerve-racking place to be.
For a single customer to buy and use a single product takes a monumental effort. You need a product (which in itself takes huge investment) then you need the processes in place to ensure the lifecycle works flawlessly.
So what is the life-cycle?
- Product concept, design, development and testing
- Sales, marketing & customer enquiry
- Product demonstration
- Installation & training
- Trial Period
- Service calls & support
Behind all of this you need to build a motivated and knowledgeable team that can ensure it all hangs together, start to finish – any kinks in the process from product design right through to support will mean immediate failure and we found out the hard way.
Product sale is an unforgiving business, especially in Healthcare. People are super busy and want what works first time, every time. There are very few second chances. Get it wrong at your peril!
So how are we doing? We flew past past the 100 client install milestone and for the first time in a while I let out a deep breath – we have since generated a whole stack of fantastic new inquiries and now deploy systems daily with amazing market opportunities opening up for us.
I can’t say product export is an easy journey – relentless effort, enthusiasm and constant almost daily adjustment is necessary, it is not for the faint-hearted! But when I glance across my office and see everyone super focused on every aspect of the product life-cycle and my Business Managers overwhelmed with sales leads to follow up on, it does make me feel proud and incredibly energized for the next step.
What advice would I give to anyone setting out on the journey? Simply do not give up, if you believe you have the right product, work to get it right, and work with your customers to do that. If you are in proof of concept stage be honest – people like to be taken on a journey and will always help you improve, it makes their work life a little more fun if they feel they are contributing.
Healthcare is a massive marketplace but a surprisingly small community.
So I hear you ask, what is the next step? The first 1,000 of course!
Until then, I will hold my breath again……….