5 Tips to Expand your Business to the European Market Successfully
Pamela W. McNamara, CEO/Co-Founder, Health Helm, Inc shares insights for operating in the EU and Globally.
As CEO and leader of high growth healthcare and technology businesses that have operated successfully in the US, European, and global markets, I share 5 key lessons that have made the difference in scaling profitably and successfully into Europe.
Leverage entry and “adoption” opportunities recognizing market drivers and maturity from one market to others
Mobile health in the early 2000s was leading edge in Europe, where clinicians and patients alike were adopters of the earliest generations of smartphones, while US clinicians still used old fashioned pagers. In my last company, we drove early adoption of mobile health for e-patient reported outcomes in Europe in part by demonstrating solid patient compliance and clinical evidence that would ultimately earn our product platform credibility in the US market. Today’s market needs point us in the other direction: our Health Helm mobile health enables prevention of unnecessary Emergency Room visits and hospital readmissions. These are a priority in the US today, but not yet in Europe’s country markets, which are likely to be tackling similar cost and quality initiatives in the future. And, we are leveraging best software and cyber talents through our strategic partnership with development partner, based in Prague — another facet of our cross-Atlantic strategy.
Navigate the Regulatory Environment with Seasoned, Practical Leaders — Experience Counts
During the last 15 years, mobile health has grown in a regulatory landscape shaped by the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, implemented May 25, 2018), among others. Regulatory insights and experience is a critical element to develop, deploy, maintain and service products, processes and solution platforms — to doing the right things in a thorough way. A key member of our team is our GDPR expert, a trained/qualified Data Protection Officer brings deep and practical regulatory and quality expertise. While we are currently focused on the US customers, our regulatory expert’s guidance, we are staying ahead by reflecting GDPR requirements in plans, product development and operations.
Respect and embrace local culture and practices — Viva Les Differences!
Regional and country market differences can be major or more subtle — navigating these and choosing the most practical, feasible and impactful entry markets (with savvy local tactics) enables smarter, rapid scaling. Cultural norms and people differences are key. For my businesses, understanding local clinicians and patients has been essential: how to gain their early adoption? What barriers must we overcome? What are their fears, concerns and preferences? We have built sales teams nimble in navigating these distinctions professionally and with integrity.
Build your team: who think globally, act locally
Recently, I’ve been asked to address how to cultivate high performance teams. Critical to any successful team is a combination of bright, curious minds, shared passion about our business and our core purpose, outstanding skills and expertise to get the job done and shared common values. Entering new markets — into EU country markets from the US or going the other direction — these attributes combined with local knowledge, acumen and integrity make all the difference. We define clear goals and accountability, enabling local team members to make local decisions while trusting them to confer/connect when needed. They must be “utility” players with a primary focus (e.g., sales or delivery) and the ability and initiative to cover local business needs, e.g., controller/finance, human resource matters, other issues as they arise.
Achieve credibility with compelling, locally relevant evidence and early wins — Scoring early and impactful “wins” in a new local market with great customers, followed by delivery excellence, builds the credentials for a locally knowledgeable team. This ultimately translates to a successful record. Our experience is to string the “pearls” of local market successes to build an effective, competitive regional position.
In my businesses, we have achieved impact and speed by embracing the lessons from each market, driven by a diverse, bright team to navigate successful entry into new markets. We’ve done this by competitively positioning our products and services to fit local needs while leveraging global best practices.
Pamela W. McNamara is CEO and Co-founder of Health Helm, Inc., a mobile software company supporting Patient Reported Outcomes for Outcomes & Cost-effective care coordination with their clinicians. She was former CEO of CRF Inc., the world’s leading mobile health, electronic patient reported outcome mobile health platform supporting clinical trials. Under her leadership, CRF profitably scaled in the US and globally. She was former CEO of Arthur D. Little, Inc., and led the firm’s Global Healthcare Practice. She was President of Cambridge Consultants, Inc. (US). She sits on the Boards of Southcoast Health System (Trustee), Tufts School of Engineering (Advisor), rEVO Biologics (Independent Advisor), and was formerly an independent Director of Omrix Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:OMRI), GTC Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ:GTCB). Pam has a BS in Civil Engineering from Tufts University.