The value of attending conferences is unheard of. The insights and knowledge I gain from meeting with clients, candidates and thought leaders in my market is invaluable, and the wisdom they share deserves to reach further than my own brain.
Ahead of RSNA, I thought I would look back at some of the things I’ve learned from those conversations in sales, marketing, leadership, and technical recruitment over the years.
If Emil Larsson and I had a pound for every time we heard this, we would be rich men indeed. Broadly there are two schools of thought.
Their network tends to be very strong, and traction can be quick. This route is of course expensive and we have seen a range of results with experienced sales hires in AI start-ups. Be wary of those at the big OEMs who have the connections but equally have the big OEM brand to get them through the door.
AI especially is new and exciting but also unproven and scary for a lot of customers, so your salespeople ideally need to have experience of bringing new tech/solutions to market.
"Hunters" is a word I hear a lot, more and more so recently. Ultimately, there aren't radiologists sitting around waiting to be contacted - ready to buy AI solutions off the shelf.
Customers need to be educated and cultivated before they are ready to buy. Hiring people with a real excitement for the technology, with the "hunter" mentality, despite potentially limited experience, might be a cheaper option - but it comes with noticeable risk.
That’s why, ensuring these candidates truly understand the workflow of the business, and not just the benefits of the product, is crucial to finding your optimum team.
This is a dilemma not unique to medical imaging, or even healthcare. Especially post-Covid, we have a unique advantage in being able to give software engineers (and the likes) a very worthwhile problem to solve, and this isn’t something to be undervalued. The recent lay-offs within big tech are an opportunity for medical imaging companies to snap up some of the technical talent there.
With demand high, talent is expensive. So, why not copy the likes of Viz.ai (Porto) and Collective Minds Radiology (Barcelona) and base your tech teams in cheaper EU countries and cities? Here, the cost of living is lower, but the lifestyle won't suffer compared to the likes of London, Boston and San Francisco.
I don’t need to remind you that it's a crowded marketplace. Walking around an exhibition, it's clear from the booths and branding who is investing in their brand presence, and who is not.
As well as attracting the attention of customers, your conference branding plays a key part in building your employer brand. The chances are that many of your prospective new employees are in attendance, and this is your chance to impress them.
Marketing is so much more than making things look pretty. I hear plenty of people saying "our website is cr*p" (and a lot are), but not just in aesthetics. It’s equally important a website can deliver a clear and concise message, showcasing what your business can do for both customers and employees and also investors.
Investing in a good Marketing Manager can add an invaluable asset to your business in demand generation. If sales are a struggle, a more coherent marketing plan will help widen the sales funnel, allowing that invaluable sales team to harness opportunities with only the warmest leads. Even if they’re not full-time, finding yourself a good marketing support function early doors will be worth its weight in gold.
Unfortunately (in my experience at least) when an AI company begins its transition to a more commercial focus, many founders and CEOs spend far too long clinging on to the commercial reins. There is a common refrain from bringing in the required commercial expertise, causing difficulty when it comes to successfully scaling the company, especially when time is of the essence.
Admittedly, hiring this type of person is vital but incredibly difficult. A good culture and personality fit is very important for success in this role. Don't be impressed by big sales numbers and a great company roster at this stage. Here, you need a person who has a track record of growing business from €1m to €10m+ and feels like the right fit for you and your goals.
With the above in mind, I’m really excited to attend RSNA 2022 and look forward to furthering these discussions with current and future connections. As the years go on, we learn more and more about ways of working and must adapt and survive in an ever-changing market and world. My experience in the market certainly helps me to add value to any discussions on topics around hiring and market trends in general, and I look forward to touching base with you on these trends and more.
Are you attending the event? Or do you have additional comments on the above? I’d love to hear from you.
Feature in podcasts, articles, videos and more.
Australia has created the perfect space for medical imaging start-ups to take off. We look at medical imaging companies making the most of this post-pandemic.