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June 05, 2017 | Tom Ballard

Corporate reps share insights on successfully working with big companies

36-86 v2

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Four representatives of large corporations shared their insights about ways that start-ups can best engage with their employers during a panel discussion during yesterday’s “36|86 Conference” in Nashville.

The session, moderated by Brad Holliday, a Partner at GrowthX, featured Chip Blaufus, Assistant Vice President for Sales and Innovation at HCA; Eric Day, Vice President and General Manager – North America Small Business for Dell; Kristina Hahn, Head of Americas Partnerships Solutions and Innovation at Google; and Rob Runett, Lead Project Manager at The Motley Fool.

One of the questions that Holliday posed was the type of start-ups that their employers want to see. The responses of the panelists reflected the distinctive markets that their companies serve.

  • “On one level, (it’s) how do we advance strategy at HCA,” Blaufus said. He cited currently key areas like blockchain, telehealth, and the impact of voice in the patient room.
  • Hahn identified monetization, distribution, customer acquisition, Cloud, and data analytics.
  • Noting the well-known priorities of Michael Dell, Day cited start-ups that have a “social good” focus. They include areas ranging from healthcare to environment. “Social good is at the forefront of our strategy,” Day added.

Other observations or suggestions that the panelists offered included these:

  • Embrace “patient persistence,” Blaufus advised, explaining that corporations like HCA might be interested but lack the time to move forward at the time the solution is offered.
  • “Make sure you are flexible with the company,” Day said as he cited a new CRM system for outbound sales that Dell was seeking. The company identified five possible small business providers, issued an RFP, and selected three of the companies to participate in a pilot. “One (of the companies) was so flexible . . . we’ve now done a full rollout,” Day said.
  • Blaufus explained that HCA does not make any investments in technology developed by others without a pilot. “It’s a test and evaluation of the solution,” he said. “What are we trying to affect? What does it require to rollout a pilot? Will it (the technology) scale across the company?”
  • Both Hahn and Day told attendees that they should study the websites of big corporations to learn more about their interests, then attend conferences where those companies are exhibiting and network with the representatives.

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