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With a few of the biggest healthcare conferences such as JP Morgan and HIMSS passed, the remainder of 2019 has a long and expansive runway, open to strategic direction for conference attendance.
When considering your top healthcare conference targets, it’s easy to focus on only the most prominent and busiest investment opportunities. Bigger conferences may be connected with the bigger players with a greater potential of lucrative deals. However, therein lies a misconception that causes many firms to miss the mark when planning conference attendance.
As you work to finalize your upcoming plans for 2019, consider some alternative strategies that may help source more deals and increase your financial success in the healthcare industry.
Prospect at Smaller Conferences
There are several major conferences, such as AHIP and HLTH, still on the docket this year, and if you’re in the healthcare space, it makes sense to attend these events. However, what may be more efficient for your travel strategy are the smaller conferences. There are hundreds of conferences in the healthcare space every year, and the smaller events many times hold more opportunity than those with the illustrious titles. In my experience, landing a handful of successful meetings makes it worth the time to get on a plane and attend these conferences.
Attending smaller events allows you to become a big fish in a small pond. At the larger events, entrepreneurs manage a whirlwind of investment meetings and speak with many private equity investors and bankers, in addition to connecting with customers, suppliers, and partners.
There is simply too much noise.
Find smaller venues where you can stand out and give entrepreneurs a positive impression of your sincerity. By planning strategic attendance and meeting with different players, it will be clear you’re interested in understanding the market, which can ultimately generate more management meetings.
Focus on Specialization
Many firms are drawn to sectors of healthcare that are generating the most buzz and activity in the market. However, firms will be uniquely positioned for success if they focus on specializing in unique niches, rather than on popular sectors without having the education or experience to back activity in those areas
Sourcing deals is more difficult if you have a broad focus on healthcare as well. If you go on that “general” fishing expedition, you’ll get “outcompeted” by somebody who has better evaluated that space. The healthcare space is definitely an insiders’ world, which is particularly applicable in the realm of M&A activity.
If you’re trying to approach an entrepreneur in a sector of healthcare and don’t have anything to bring to the table besides capital, the interaction won’t be successful.
Healthcare operators want to work with other healthcare operators. They don’t want to invest in teaching somebody the ins and outs of their business, which is why it’s critical to target a specific specialty and grow your experience and network therein.
One of the most important tips for attending any conference is to invest heavily in planning before you get to the event. The days of “walking the floor” are over, and firms need a more strategic approach to land deals.
Start preparing early, vet conferences to find those that fit your niche, and don’t attend without setting up meetings ahead of time.
Leverage firmographic data and reach out to the right stakeholders to start showcasing the unique intricacies of your firm. Targets that hear your message before attending the event are more receptive to giving you airtime. Then, once you have the meeting – even if it’s an off-the-cuff invite to coffee – it will be easier to build the relationship to the point of a business transaction.
Use Data to Gain a Competitive Advantage
Firms want to maximize time and money during conference preparation.
The value of your employee’s time is high, and if you’re not using data to augment your time, you’re giving up a serious competitive advantage.
Establishing a clear edge over your competitors comes down to having the right data, from knowing a company’s growth trajectory, who the big investors are in any given market, and where relevant executives move. If you’re conducting research that could be more efficiently done through technology, then you’re taking away from higher value-add activities.
This could lead to missed opportunities talking with executives or going through unnecessary sourcing efforts for the right deals.
The SourceScrub platform is a consolidated source of the data you need to inform your conference attendance strategy. From key company information to executive’s contact details, the data included in SourceScrub helps you analyze which firms might be the right targets for you and when and where you can meet them. Leveraging this data creates a more efficient approach to your conference strategy and helps mitigate potential lost time and money.
Competition for deals is at an all-time high, especially in the healthcare space, which has experienced rapid growth in M&A activity in the past decade.
At the end of the day, you don’t know the source of that next deal. But you can increase the odds and improve your success rates by casting more fishing lines. Creating a conference strategy that includes lesser-known conferences and focusing on specific niches in which you can compete will translate to less effort for higher yields. Plus, when you allow data and technology to lighten the workload, critical team members are free to focus on more meaningful activities, like sourcing thematically-relevant deals and driving future management meetings.
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