The healthcare industry has lots of problems, lots of money and is in a constant state of change. With those characteristics, it’s no wonder startups are throwing their hats in the ring in increasing numbers. The theory is that they’ll take some technology or process that’s just killin’ it in every other sector, apply it in healthcare and profit. The reality they find is quite different. Even with a great product, the notoriously long sales cycles, counter-intuitive financial incentives and policy-driven Health IT strategies converge to deliver a very strong message… you need help.
On this episode, we talk with Drew Ramsey, a partner at Valor Partners and the head of their healthcare division. Drew specializes in placing executives and sales leaders in startups and venture-backed firms that are bringing Health IT products to market. As you’ll hear, Drew’s success measure is not just placement, but long-term success. That means that he and the team at Valor are very picky about who they work with. Drew shares with us how they vet their prospective clients to increase the odds of success and from that we can extract some key insights into when startups are ready to grow, expand marketing teams, scale sales teams, etc.
This is a fascinating conversation that made me think about several things in a new light. Here’s a few of the key topics:
- What characteristics are most important for a Health IT leader? How important is empathy? (5:30)
- What characteristics seem to be asked for most by Health IT startups? (7:45)
- What aren’t companies asking for, but should be? (9:40)
- How do you align comp plans with the level of talent you’re after? (14:00)
- Do leaders tend to come from the same sector as the startup, or might they jump from provider to payer, or long-term care to telemedicine, etc.? (18:53)
- When should startups bring on executive leadership? (21:45)
- What skills are needed to deal with healthcare’s notoriously long sales cycles? (25:00)
- Why is it important that startups be able to articulate where they are as a company and what they expect of a new leader? (26:15)
- What are some examples of unreasonable expectations a startup might have when searching for new leaders? (27:10)
- What are some tricks and tips for realigning those expectations? (29:00)
- In your experience, do startups properly prepare markets before bringing on sales teams? (33:15)
- How can a startup tell if they are ready to build a sales team? (35:30)
- When should a startup expand their marketing team? (38:15)
- Tell us more about Valor Partners and where our listeners can learn more. (42:00)
If you’re building a HealthIT startup, I promise you’ll find something valuable here. Let me know what you think!
BTW… if you’re into Health IT startups then you may also enjoy our conversation with Christian Seale of Startupbootcamp in Miami.
~ Don Lee
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About Valor Partners
Founded in 2002, Valor Partners is a true search firm – our clients are software and technology companies ranging from the innovative startup to the established market leader -who rely on us to find and attract talent that is hidden; the candidates that are too difficult and time consuming to find or recruit without us. We have over 15 years of dedicated technology search expertise focused on building leadership, sales, and marketing teams for our clients; it’s all we do. However, we don’t view our service as simply providing candidates to our clients; our true value is in the deep insight we can share: about the candidate, the search strategy, the market, about how we can succeed together.
About Drew Ramsey
A Partner at Valor since January of 2014, Drew specializes in Executive-level, retained and engaged Healthcare search and has personally completed over 200 searches. Having joined Valor Partners in early 2010 as a Project Coordinator, Drew rapidly ascended the ranks to Account Executive and Director, before becoming a Partner. He established the Healthcare Technology and Services vertical at Valor and currently manages the Practice, leading Business Development efforts, Client Acquisition and Recruiting.
Drew’s team has been a catalyst for dozens of Healthcare vendors these past years, building world-class Sales, Marketing and Delivery teams to achieve a desired outcome. An already lengthy list of client growth patterns and successful acquisitions continues to grow.
In his spare time, you can find Drew outdoors on Roanoke’s local “Greenway” trail with his wife, Laura, and their two dogs; Charlie, a Foxhound, and Stella, a Cocker Spaniel. You may also find him in Venice, Paris, Iceland or any of the upcoming international destinations on the list.
Drew is a Virginia Tech Hokie and bleeds his Alma Mater’s colors of Chicago maroon and burnt orange.
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