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Trust, commitment, perseverance, a good team, and a pinch of luck; fundamental ingredients for the success of Digital Health Sales in Latin America

Latin America constitutes an immense market, with a sales and growth potential for Spanish companies infinitely greater than our country or even the Iberian region, including the entire peninsula. The enormous opportunities of the region were confirmed on Thursday, February 15th, in the exclusive webinar for Ticbiomed partners held by the association, where Rafa García, CEO of Ever Health, based in Mexico for approximately 6 years, and Pedro Vivancos, founder of Vócali, also experiencing significant growth across the ocean, shared their insights. These are two pioneering companies in the development of their products, led by entrepreneurs who really wanted to do things well and unafraid of making mistakes, two additional factors essential when embarking on such an adventure. 

Two very different stories with some common great learnings 

As it usually happensa with every project and product, the growth of Ever Health and Vócali in Latin America followed a unique trajectory. As a result of a contact, in just three days Rafa improvised a trip, and from that day on, he did not stop going back and forth between Spain and Mexico until he finally settled in the country to lead the expansion of the company himself. Vócali’s product, on the other hand, had reached the ears of some Argentine entrepreneurs who generated demand, leading to its entry into the country through a distribution network. 

From their strategies, which have certainly evolved over time, both extracted several learnings and some common recommendations. Among the learnings, they highlighted that nothing can be left to chance, that we should not assume that once the product is in the hands of a distributor, sales will automatically start, and that it is not realistic to believe that anyone taking charge of the project can carry it out. 

And from these learnings, their recommendations for landing: 

Before setting off: Conduct some preliminary studies. 

There is no need to be excessively exhaustive, among other things because “paper can take anything,” in Pedro’s words, and software, in theory, too. Afterwards, the different markets within the vast Latin American region will put each one in its place. 

But some prior studies and contacts, to anticipate administrative and fiscal issues, for example, can be of great utility. To conduct them, there are local consulting companies or organizations that, according to both speakers, do an extraordinary job of supporting companies, such as ICEX or Chambers of Commerce in each country. This way, surprises like double taxation of income due to import and export laws can be avoided, or even situations where a sale is finalized but certain legal impediments prevent the money from leaving the country. 

Phase 1 – Land with a local distribution network. 

With a well-planned strategy, local partners might have a great ability to open doors, directly reach decision-makers, and make use of the trust that potential customers who already know them have. 

Phase 2 – Build a very strong team in the country. 

Both Rafa and Pedro recommend, if the budget allows, investing in talent and forming a team that, led by themselves or by a very capable person (who will also have to be very well paid), continues the sales process, which, in the case of these technological products, is often long and involves certain difficulties. This will ensure that we have a team fully dedicated to selling our product, continuing to work on customer relationships, and providing the appropriate support throughout the sales and post-sales process, a key point for the commercial relationship to consolidate over time. 

#Trust #commitment #perseverance 

The CEO of Ever Health is clear, “without trust, you won’t sell anything, no matter how good your product is”. We are talking about a culture (several ones but with this common feature) based on relationships, trust, and commitment. When they see everything you have to offer, that you are serious, that you have a good product, and that there will be a return, you start to receive, and then you receive a lot. But you have to build a relationship of trust and maintain it over time. 

Pedro Vivancos absolutely agreed on the importance of trust, even when working with distributors. Over time, you realize that some work well, but others do not. You have to be very present and work continuously with them. Moreover, these are cultures that, out of courtesy, may avoid the discomfort of a direct “no,” which can be misleading. 

“The plane from Mexico to Spain is full of businessmen celebrating contracts they will never sign”, Rafa pointed out with a touch of humor, emphasizing once again the need to cultivate relationships in this B2B sales that can take months to materialize. It is a technical sale, sometimes even consultative, that requires a lot of time and dedication. 

He added that one must commit and believe in the product. Persevere and keep working, despite the obstacles. “I had to hear in a meeting that my product would never be acquired by a health insurer, and today 80% of our income comes from insurers.” 

Mexico and Colombia in the “top two.” Chile and Guatemala vie for a contested third place  

During the webinar, we also had the opportunity to discuss the best countries to start working. Both Rafa and Pedro placed Mexico first for several reasons: the potential business volume and the stability it offers today, political situation, and the relative ease of growth. Next, they highlighted the great attractive and projection offered by Colombia, Guatemala, and Chile, emphasizing the characteristics and technological maturity that make Chile a very similar to Spain market.   

Regarding Brazil, they also agreed to highlight its immense potential, considering it is a country with more than 200 million citizens. However, given the enormous complexities Brazil presents when doing business, from administrative procedures to managing and withdrawing profits, both agreed that they only recommend entering Brazil if the company has a powerful economic muscle capable of overcoming significant obstacles. 

Two years to start, two to consolidate, and two to begin scaling 

Regarding timelines and investment, both responded unequivocally: the first contracts can take months, even one or two years to materialize. Pedro’s case, whose expansion responded to demand, is a bit particular. “We were very lucky. A distributor contacted us, we trusted him, the relationship flowed from the beginning, and in a couple of years, we had the solution implemented in several dozen centers.” 

But usually, it will take some time for results to arrive, and here comes the perseverance we mentioned earlier. “A year is a short time to know if the project will work or not”, Rafa pointed out. We have to be clear about some deadlines to avoid canceling everything due to a lack of funds before giving the market a real chance. 

After the first two years, the beautiful part begins: consolidation and return. And that only means more work. You have to continue investing in relationships. When we arrived, in a sense we were pioneers, but now there is a lot of local competition. The pandemic has changed the landscape, and now we operate in a red ocean where you risk being replaced. 


In conclusion, Latin America is an immense market in both opportunities and challenges, as anticipated. If, after hearing the inspiring stories and anecdotes of Pedro and Rafa, whom we take this opportunity to thank again, you are also thinking of taking the leap and have any doubts, contact us. It is always a pleasure for us to support our partners in any way we can.

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