Strengthening Your Resourcefulness with Nigel Green

In this episode of Friends of Project Healthcare

Nigel Green, seasoned sales leader and sought out advisor in the healthcare industry, joined host Eric Thrailkill to discuss his own career journey and several key practices that companies can use in Nashville’s ever-evolving healthcare landscape.

“I come in and I help them go on this problem finding exercise, and none of them are resource constrained. So then it’s just a matter of being resourceful,” Nigel shared. “What I tell a lot of my clients is if you fail, it won’t be because of lack of resources, it’ll be because of a lack of resourcefulness.”

Nigel’s transition from selling medical kits to consulting and coaching healthcare founders and sales leaders highlights the need for continuous learning and adaptation in the industry. He emphasizes the importance of problem-finding over problem-solving, guiding companies to uncover hidden challenges and prioritize solutions effectively.

“My career started out as a rep in a territory and then leading a small team and then working with the group purchasing organizations to try to get our offering on the panel in our product category of custom procedure trays,” began Nigel, “I was recruited by Sterling Partners, which is a private equity group out of Chicago that owned Foundations Recovery Network.”

Nigel explained how the addiction treatment mental health provider strayed away from traditional marketing methods, instead favoring a relationship based model that valued partnerships and networking. “We grew the business to three times its value and sold it to Universal Health Services in October of 2015.”

Entering a new chapter in his life and career, Nigel began to question his particular role in the healthcare industry, having an epiphany after reading Arthur Brooks’s “Strength to Strength,” a book recommendation from his coach.

“I found myself saying, but I’m really good at seeing these patterns in a way that some of my contemporaries of the same age aren’t able to see.”

This was a turning point for Nigel as he began to primarily focus on working with healthcare founders and sales leaders. “My customer is a company that has a developed offering, a product market fit. They’ve got some scale and traction in meeting needs for customers.”

“The common denominator,” as Nigel put it, is that these businesses are already successful with their existing sales team. Even with that success, businesses lead the question of where there is room for improvement. “It leads to not problem solving, but problem finding. They’ve got forward thinking CEOs and sales leaders that say, what are we not seeing here?”

In addition, Nigel noted that businesses should be aware of the constantly evolving landscape of their industry. Strategies and practices that may have worked last year may not garner the same success in the immediate or far future. “It’s a different game and what you were doing last year to acquire customers or acquire patients is probably not what you need to do now”

Assessing current positions is equally important as looking for new opportunities. Nigel noted that businesses must be aware of their own shortcomings and that they are actively finding the “right problem” that needs to be addressed. 

From an objective lens, Nigel evaluates the company from top to bottom. From technology strategies, revenue, and even the company’s future ambitions. “It’s always executive, marketing, sales, customer success, finance, the sales team,” he said. Once Nigel has a firm understanding of their strategy, he’s able to highlight and identify all the problems, and their causes, that need to be addressed.

“I give them a custom assessment of all the things that they could do and then serve as a sense-making view of how to prioritize all the things.” It’s about doing the right thing at the right time while also staying true to creating a business strategy that synergizes with the sales strategy. 

Additionally, Nigel highlights the importance of identifying your business. “What business are you in? And then what business are you really in? And that unlocks typically some flawed assumptions about their path to scale.”

Understanding your identity as a business going forward will only become a greater importance and necessity as industries constantly undergo changes due to rapid technological advancements. In a budding era of AI, embracing these changes will prove to be effective for overall business practices.

As new tools become readily available, the ability to commit is important when choosing them. “It’s hard to shift once you reach a certain number of users, a certain level of complexity.”

Recently, Nigel has written one book, “Revenue Harvest,” a tribute to one of his favorite reads that was a collection of natural essays. Drawing on parallels from geology and farming, Nigel attributes this to leading a sales team.

“You don’t get to control much,” Nigel began, “what I did is I took seven discrete principles from the farming community, and I overlaid that over the selling year. So it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a long sale cycle, so you’ve got one big harvest or your sales cycle is today or 30 days.”

Further combining the fundamentals of farming agriculture with sales management, Nigel believes these principles are timeless.

About Nigel Green Over the last decade, Nigel helped build two sales teams that produced $50M+ in annual revenue. A third sales team started at very little revenue and grew to nearly $10M annually. He partnered with equity firms like Frist Cressey Ventures, Heritage Group Partners, Tao Capital, New State Capital, and Shore Capital. Nigel now coaches, consults and advises sales leaders. In 2019, he published Revenue Harvest: A Sales Leaders Almanac For Planning The Perfect Year. He leads intimate, one-day workshops for sales teams that want to double sales and serves on the board of advisors for five healthcare companies: Relode, AffirmHealth, CaredFor, Darvis and Move U.

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