Getting traction for an international product in the NHS

Getting traction for an international product in the NHS

You know you’ve got a great health tech product and you’re looking for international opportunities. So how do you break into the UK market? Highland Marketing CEO, Mark Venables, looks at options and explains why you need a partner for success.

The NHS is an innovative organisation and regularly scans the international scene for new approaches. It’s enthusiastic about technology, and, if you prove you can make a difference, it’s got money to spend.

That’s the opportunity. However, even with a great product and an established position at home, it’s tough for international businesses to make it in the UK. Many have tried, but few have succeeded.

What’s the problem?

First, you need a local guide.

Even though the broad direction of healthcare technology is clear, a product that works at home won’t immediately find a niche in the UK.

The specific concerns of NHS and, more importantly, budget priorities are unique to the UK.

You’ll also need to navigate the health and care community. Reputation is everything and policy makers and influences are central to building awareness. Who do you need to talk to, and where are you going to find them?

Second, you need a local presence.

The NHS is a complicated environment and understanding it is just the start. To build awareness for your product, you need people in place who can talk about it and make first contact with potential purchasers.

You could bring a local specialist onto your payroll. Indeed, you may already have done so. Chances are though, if they don’t have some local support, they’ll become just a face on a video call.

Or you could send some of your top people to the UK. You might even have tried that, and found it’s expensive, difficult, and didn’t work.

The tough truth is that knowing the scene in your home country doesn’t mean you can decode the complexities of the NHS. It probably doesn’t even give you a head start.

What can you do about it?

Building your own infrastructure in the UK should be on the agenda. Think of that as phase two though.

To get started, you need a partner who knows the UK scene, has strong contacts, and understands how to position and explain health tech propositions. That way you have immediate access to market knowledge, and experienced feet on the street.

Plus, you’re only paying for the hours you need, not for building regional office infrastructure.

There’s a lot you can achieve using this model. For instance, tailoring your messages to the NHS environment, creating relevant and compelling content, reaching out to your audience with social content and webinars, building your relationship with influencers, and even running sales acceleration campaigns.

Obviously, it’s important to align incentives. If your proposed partner isn’t prepared to sign up to tough targets, maybe they don’t really know what they’re doing. You need to have shared objectives, along with clear targets.

Choose the best.

If you’re thinking this sounds great, but where are you going to find someone who can do it, then consider Highland Marketing.

We’re a leading UK health tech specialist agency, with twenty years of experience, and a track record of success. We’re well known in the NHS community, and we’re experienced in helping people like you establish their presence in the UK. Perhaps most importantly, our contribution is recognised by our clients, who give us a net promoter score (NPS) of +72.

We’ve worked with all kinds of organisations, from start-up super innovators, to established major players looking to move into new territories. We’ve created messaging, built content campaigns, established key relationships, and done the hard work of identifying prospects.

We could help you, so get in touch and we’ll talk about how to be at home in the NHS.

What do health tech leaders want from the general election campaign?
Secrets from the algorithm: insights from Google’s Search Content Warehouse API leak
What will the general election mean for the NHS and health tech?
Back to (business school) basics
NHS finances: cuts get real