When a great use case is not enough to "transform"​ healthcare: Why a comprehensive go-to-market strategy is key to your company’s success

Starting and scaling up a healthcare company takes chutzpah. No matter if your entrepreneurial dream is modest or bold, it requires courage, conviction - and importantly- a great product or service. The time spent building your solution involves creativity, patience and a willingness to test, fail, refine and try again.

When a product or service does not deliver its intended result, companies invest time and money to identify and fix the problem. Without a working solution, there isn’t a viable business model. Allocating a budget to this line item is required. Few people will argue that investment in solution ideation and great tech is a bad idea.

Where we often see underinvestment from healthcare companies (tech and traditional) is on go-to-market strategies. Shouldn’t a smart, affordable solution to a big problem be enough? Unfortunately, sometimes after dollars are spent on our product and service development, we learn that our compelling use case is not enough. Despite the strong case for change, the health sector is complex and fickle.

Developing a go-to-market strategy in parallel to your product or service is especially critical if companies want to succeed in the healthcare sector. Here are some compelling reasons why:

✓ Clarity and focus on commercial opportunities.  This will help target where your business will “play.” There are many examples of Canadian healthtech companies who pivoted from B2C to B2B in the last 5 years, and sometimes after spending time and money on marketing and product development.
✓ Deep understanding of the healthcare procurement and overall sales process. This should include the purchasing priorities and behaviours of the target market. Many healthcare companies struggle with the time and effort required to demonstrate how their product or service will benefit buyers in traditional health services environments.
✓ Identification of possible strategic or channel partnerships. It is important to consider how you can gain as much addressable market as possible. Given current consolidation in the market, a consideration is whether your point solution will be more successful as a stand alone offering, or through an existing platform solution.
✓ The idiosyncrasies of clinical adoption.  Some examples include time to allocate to change management, 24/7 work environments, compensation.
✓ Prioritizing other important risks in healthcare that could derail your company. Importantly, regulatory, privacy and data sovereignty.
✓ Identification of skills and talent required to help you succeed. A company may identify competitive differentiators based on the output of a go-to-market strategy.

Experienced public and private investors in the health sector will always ask tough questions about how you will bring your product or service to market. They will want to know that you’ve considered the barriers to entry and how you plan to tackle them.

Canada’s healthcare system is beyond stressed. Now more than ever we need to clear a path for innovative products and services that will enable transformational changes in policy, governance and traditional delivery of care. Do not underestimate the value of go-to-market in bringing your solution to the sector. It needs your help.

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