Author Archives: Niall O'Riordan

US Medical Device Market – Overview and Tips

US Medical Device Market – Overview and Tips

Stateside Solutions – US Market Entry Specialists

 The US Medical Device Market is open for business and with an estimated value of $127.1bn and with a per capital spend of $399 the US remains the world’s largest Medical Device market. Obama Care is being constantly challenged and as a result of negotiations during the recent US Government shut down, the Medical Device industry is likely to remain in the control of the private sector for the foreseeable future.  Seven out of the world’s top ten Medical Device manufacturers are US companies.  The USA is home to many of the world’s leading Medical Device manufacturers, such as Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Baxter, Covidien and Medtronic to name a few.

For a foreign company entering the US Medical Device market there are many opportunities for both direct and indirect sales.  At Stateside Solutions we have successfully worked with International Medical Device companies entering the US market and for #Medinireland we have put together our top tips for Medical Device companies entering the US marketplace.

 

  • Advisory Panel: Engage local industry experts early in the market entry process and seek their advice and expertise on both product development sales strategies.
  • Reference Site: Identify a relevant pilot site to test your product and to use for reference and testimonials. Ensure client reference site signs an NDA and issue a contract so that both parties understand obligations.
  • Date Gathering: Clinical trials and data will be key factors for funding and success – ensure your studies are validated and reportable.
  • Follow up: Stay connected with potential customers and opportunities and keep them apprised of product improvements.
  • Manage expectations and plan accordingly: identify a specific geographical area to target and ensure adequate sales and marketing supports are in place to support roll out. If needed use a beach head strategy and engage resellers and distributors to target wider base.
  • Localise your website and materials: Be visible, set up a local phone number, address and dedicated website page. Ensure pricing on website is consistent across all marketing materials.
  • Ask for Feedback: Track data collection and request feedback use services like survey monkey or paper questionnaires, sign date and collate.
  • Loss Leaders: Understand initial sales may be loss leaders but provide valuable testimonials and references. Make sure your budget is aligned with sales targets and costs.
  • Seek out Partners: Identify Partners to work with and bundle offering to provide a complete solution.
  • Distributors: Don’t sign exclusive agreements and manage distributors by having regularly scheduled calls to assess success and address challenges.
  • Be visible: Take the time to be in the US market and demo products.  Shadow sales people who represent your brand.
  • Attend Trade shows: as a delegate initially to gain as much competitive knowledge as possible, use this as a template for materials and industry specific knowledge and Terms
  • Blog: Keep up to date on industry trends by reading bloggers who are most respected in Med device sector, share their content and comment where appropriate
  • Plan ahead: Be specific in your US Planning, set targets and review regularly. Ensure your HQ are on board with plan and report regularly.

 

 About Stateside Solutions: Stateside Solutions provide market entry sales and Marketing advice to Medical Device companies entering the US marketplace. We work with companies from Ireland, UK, Singapore and Estonia. We provide lead generation, contract sales and recruitment supports. Our expertise is our relationships with decision makers across the US – we have proved success securing contracts for Medical Device companies in the US Healthcare system. To find out more call us in Ireland on +353-910783260 or USA +1212-470-6579. www.statesidesolutions.com

 


Key strategies for Start-ups on entering the US market

us market entry

Start Up Tips – Strategies for US Market Entry.

The US is Open for Business! There has been a definitive change in the US landscape over the past twelve months, now more than ever the US market has opened up to Foreign entities selling into the US marketplace.  This shift in mindset presents a significant opportunity for Irish Start Ups looking to export.  However it is no longer acceptable to fly in and fly out you must demonstrate what is unique and different about your offering and be prepared to invest both time and money in the opportunity.  Outlined below are just some of the key strategies Start Ups can adopt for successful and cost effective US Market entry.

Too often companies become distracted with their product or service and forget to ask these key questions.  Is there a viable market for my product? What does my US customer want? and most importantly what will they pay for?

The most cost effective and efficient way to get this answer is to host either an in market Focus Group of consumers or create an Advisory Panel of industry experts. This simple strategy can be setup and managed efficiently to illicit key information from customers. By preparing open ended, general questions to engage participants you will gather objective research that will provide both market analysis and a basis for your US sales.

Similar to IDA Ireland, each US state has an economic development board that want your business! These agencies are tasked with attracting new business to their State and offer a range of supports from free incubation space to job postings. You can find a link to these agencies on most State websites.  When deciding where to locate, consider each of the fifty States as a separate opportunity and plan accordingly. Research where your customers are and plan your sales strategy around that intelligence with the understanding that your customers may be outside of the mainstream States so don’t limit yourself by familiarity.

Attending an industry trade show as a delegate before exhibiting should be part of your US strategy, no amount of desk research can eliminate the need to assess in person the competition and the opportunity.  Visit competitor stands and attend seminars to learn more about market trends and innovation.  Use this knowledge to build out your own suite of marketing materials and to build out your contact database for launch and sales.

A key challenge for companies is deciding on which International market to tackle, often companies will attempt to enter two or more markets at the same time.  This is a huge risk and often a costly mistake. Companies should assess the cost of US market not only in financial terms but also from a Human resources standpoint. It is imperative that the company CEO is fully engaged in the expansion and that you have your strongest team members available to support your market entry, if developers or key management are busy managing another markets – it simply won’t work.

Doing business in the US can be expensive, being realistic about the costs of entering the US and having a clear understanding of your breakeven point will be key to your success. Invest the time in creating a US specific Business plan and pricing strategy. Engage a US accountant early in the process so you can maximise tax breaks and write offs.

Be prepared for your first sales to be loss leaders and ensure there is enough of a margin in the bank and that you have the support of a strong and knowledgeable board to weather the storm until profitability.

First sales are crucial to any business but too often companies entering the US market chase a sale at any cost.  It is important to be selective and to ensure you have the bandwidth to service these first key reference sites.  Be realistic and honest with these key accounts and manage their expectations.  It is important to get US customers but it is more important to get relevant customers that can provide an applicable reference for your industry. There are no second chances in the US so be cognisant of your limitations and only accept contracts that you can fulfil.

If you plan on raising funds in the US it is imperative to have an Investor deck and strong business plan prepared in advance.  The funding landscape has changed and investors are more tolerant of foreign companies,  however only certain Angels, Venture Capitalist’s and Private Equity groups will invest in foreign companies so a strategic decision needs to be made early on as to what form a US company would look like.  Engage legal counsel early in your market entry to equip yourself with knowledge and options.

Visibility is key to customers and investors alike and there is an expectation from both that you are present in the US. Some simple strategies that you can employ to build your US presence virtually include setting a US phone number and voicemail using Skype, creating a US landing page on your webpage and registering your company name and website as place holders. 

While direct sales can be an important facet in executing a Beach Head Strategy and building a brand, it can also be very costly especially in the US where salaries for Senior Business Development Personnel are high ($100k plus). Always budget an additional 30% of base salary of any new hire to cover the costs of insurance and supports.

Distributors can be a cost effective and efficient way to target a wider US audience. However, often the lure of potentially large Sales can distract you from exclusive contracts and competing products.  It is not unheard of for companies to get tangled up in complicated negotiations with large Distributors only to realise the Distributors goal was not to sign the new company but to delay market entry of same. So as the old saying goes if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Finally, 85% of acquisitions fail because of culture and people.  From the offset remember that in the US Relationships are king!  Be patient and understand that it will take more than one encounter to build a business relationship and close a sale.  Invest in your US Relationships and don’t under value introductions. Be timely in your responses and honest and ethical in your offering.

 Here in Ireland we are fortunate to have Enterprise Ireland who offer a tremendous amount of soft supports to start ups.  Enterprise Ireland have offices across the US with market Advisors covering most sectors. Engage with this valuable asset early in your exporting process to understand how they can assist and what research has already been done. There may be opportunities to attend trade events or participate in relevant programs, but if they don’t know you are looking at the US they can’t help.

Mary Rodgers is the CEO and Founder of Stateside Solutions a US market entry Consultancy that specifically deals with foreign entities entering or scaling in the US market. Stateside Solutions have offices in the US and Ireland for more information on the services offered can be found on their website www.statesidesolutions.com


Observations for SMEs Considering the Cloud

 Observations for SMEs Considering the Cloud

Currently interning with Stateside Solutions I had the opportunity to attend a Cloud Computing seminar organised by the Irish Internet Association and in partnership with Enterprise Ireland on adopting the cloud. The speed at which the IT Landscape is evolving is startling, and for many SMEs overwhelming.

In the simplest of terms Cloud Computing = ability to access data and applications via the internet

Cloud-based computing is changing the way businesses are managing their information, moving it from the traditional in-house IT infrastructure to an external cloud based solution. This provides opportunities and challenges for companies of all sizes. Like the IT revolution cloud computing offers SMEs a range of fantastic benefits and of course some disadvantages.

For the novice I have pulled together some key facts for SMEs considering the cloud in an effort to help them to make better more educated choices about their cloud opportunity.

 

So why use the Cloud?

  • Convenience. You can access your data anywhere you can connect to the internet. For an SME the key here is that your Internet line is it’s not too slow.
  • Upgrades are done to the cloud which means little or no downtime for you and your team.
  • Questions to ask you Cloud Provider

Address Security Concerns.  Security software makes it harder for hackers to get your data, but not impossible. If you’re going to be storing sensitive client information for example patient data, Bank account details, PPS etc ask your cloud provider about security software.

 

  • Ask about Pricing:  Cloud products and services are less expensive than traditional server models and are more cost effective for SMEs as the cloud cuts down on IT management costs. However, when choosing systems make sure your company applications and software will work in the cloud.  Ask specific questions of your provider and stress test the product. Ensure the Cloud can manage your users and qualify how much data your plan provides.
  • Does your Provider have live support? For an SME being able to speak to someone in your time zone is key to running your business effectively. Not having an IT department means you will need to rely more on the support of the Cloud provider.  Ask who? Where? And cost? of cloud support.
  • What happens if you choose to change Providers? Ask your provider how you will receive your data back if you decide to switch providers, understand the costs and limitations of data migration so you make smart choices from the beginning.
  • Backup. You have a backup of your data in case your local computer crashes, but make sure to have a back up just in case the cloud gets struck by lightning and all data is lost.

When it comes to understanding the Cloud and applications associated with it, there is no such thing as a stupid Question.  Don’t be intimidated by the verbiage, ask questions and assess the value before committing.

 Cloud_computing.svg

 

 


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