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Health care business consultant and policy expert David E. Williams share his views

How to get the most out of expert interviews. Five tips to ensure success

Investors and management consultants often use expert network companies like GLG, Guidepoint, Zintro and Techspert to arrange interviews with subject matter experts. These interviews can be valuable, but it all depends on how well they’re conducted and leveraged.

In this episode of the HealthBiz podcast, my long-time Health Business Group colleague Karen Donovan and I share five tips for getting the most out of these encounters.

Overview:

00:00 Introduction
01:18 Tip #1: Make the expert network companies do their jobs
07:05 Tip #2: Be prepared
11:52 Tip #3: Start the interview off on the right foot
18:13 Tip #4: Get the most out of the expert
25:47 Tip #5: Incorporate expert interviews into a broader data gathering process

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By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

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Business Plan For Seed Stage Telemedicine Company

Two leading Silicon Valley venture capital funds were incubating a seed stage telemedicine company that proposed to leverage nurse practitioners as an alternative for certain primary care conditions. The investors sought out Health Business Group to assist in understanding the market landscape and segmenting prospective customers. We were compensated with a combination of cash and equity in the new venture.

We worked closely with the entrepreneurs and investors to:

  • Identify, profile, and estimate the size of target customer segments
  • Identify distribution partners and models, then evaluate the implications of channel partner choices by target customer segment
  • Lay out alternative pricing structures, estimate target fee ranges and variations by service type
  • Identify services, functionality and workflow components of interest to target customer segments
  • Identify criteria for conditions that could be diagnosed and treated
  • Predict the timing and rate of uptake for the offering

We developed a set of personas corresponding to the customer segments and used these to help the entrepreneurs tell the story of the market opportunity. Our work formed a key part of the business plan that was pitched to prospective Series A investors.

Ultimately the company determined that regulatory barriers were too high to proceed and the venture was dissolved.

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Enterprise Pricing Strategy For Health It Vendor

A health information technology company had achieved strong market penetration with hospitals, health systems and individual healthcare professionals. However, advances in technology and computer networks, consolidation of the provider market, and the company’s lack of a comprehensive pricing strategy had created challenges. The client realized that it was time to develop a more rational approach to the market and turned to Health Business Group to assist.
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We developed a robust customer segmentation model based on extensive quantitative analysis of customer usage patterns, created a cross-segment pricing formula based on value realization, supported development of a plan to communicate the new approach to customers, and devised a migration path to smooth the transition for customers.

The client rolled out the model with its salesforce over a two-year period and achieved real-world success. In addition, the customer segmentation model has been used as a guide for product development, which was an unexpected but welcome byproduct of the original work.

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Acquisition/diversification strategy for sales and marketing services company

The client began as a contract sales organization serving large pharmaceutical companies. Market dynamics had been deteriorating as the pharmaceutical industry as a whole began to reduce the size of its sales force and as large customers started negotiating more aggressively. We worked with the client to develop and execute an acquisition and diversification strategy that resulted in a 30-fold increase in stock price over the course of our five-year engagement.

The strategy had three main thrusts: (1) assembling a broader portfolio of outsourced sales, marketing, and product development offerings, (2) focusing business development efforts on mid-sized and smaller customers who viewed outsourcing as a strategic imperative rather than a necessary evil, and (3) becoming an attractive acquirer for private company owners seeking a strategic buyer and the opportunity to continue their career growth. We helped identify acquisition candidates and performed commercial due diligence on companies in medication adherence, data mining, predictive modeling, pharmacovigilance, professional staffing, cost containment, sales force automation, advertising and market research.

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Strategic plan for academic research institution

A biomedical research institute within a large clinical organization had encountered difficulties in developing and communicating a strategic plan. An initial plan had been developed internally, but key members of the parent organization’s board and senior management were skeptical of the value of research and were concerned about the costs of the institute and of the proposed strategy.

Health Business Group supported a strategic planning committee comprising parent organization board members, researchers, senior management and outside experts in the development and selection of strategic options and the creation of a model to project the financial implications of the different choices. We prepared for committee meetings by researching the funding environment (including NIH priorities and the emergence of new federal sources as part of the Affordable Care Act), benchmarking comparable organizations, and preparing discussion materials that could be comprehended well by a committee with very diverse backgrounds and outlooks. Initial interactions of the committee members were sometimes awkward and uncomfortable, but over time we were able to facilitate a common understanding of the strategic situation and to produce a robust plan.

The final product was a strategic plan and financial model that were strongly endorsed by institute researchers, senior management, and the board of the parent organization.

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