Career Discussion with Ribbon

Ribbon Health’s GTM team joined us to discuss working at Ribbon and three roles across growth, channel partnerships and marketing

Below is an edited transcript of the conversation as well:

Health Tech Nerds: 

First we've got the Ribbon team here so thanks everyone for joining, I thought it would be helpful to start with answering three questions to just help set context for what this conversation is and why we are here.

I think first and foremost it's, why are we doing this? Kevin and I from all of the different coffee chats that we have had with folks in the Community, have found about 50% of them are centered around careers and a lot of people struggle with making sense of what companies are doing in the space, what goes beyond the job description, etc. So we wanted to give folks a chance to get to meet the teams that are working at these companies, learn a little bit more about them and just really kind of get under the hood.

So the folks here at Ribbon partnered with us to test this out and see how it goes for folks so we want this to really be an informal conversation about what it's like to work there and get some information about the different types of roles. 

So what is Ribbon? I'm going to give my little blurb of what Ribbon is and my experience with Ribbon I will let our folks in the sales and marketing teams at Ribbon fill in a bit more depth but it's essentially a company building a platform to provide real time info on providers and insurance, and so, when I was working at Bind we evaluated different, well, Bind is a health insurance startup and we needed to evaluate the different companies that could help improve our provider directory, because one of the biggest things that we could do is give our members of our insurance accurate information on what doctors to go for what, and that was a massive problem. We used United’s provider directory and it was tricky. Ribbon is helping companies to make sure that data is actually useful. So again, I will let them talk a little bit more in depth about the problems they are solving and what it is. 

The third question is why do we have three folks from Ribbon here? We've got Shelly, who is the Director of Marketing, Laura, who is the Growth Lead, and Michelle, who is the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships. One of the things that we've heard from folks is that it gets hard to go beyond the job descriptions of what are the differences in these types of roles. Go-to-market is an important growth and hiring area area for Ribbon right and understanding how those functions work together, what are you really looking for in those functions and what are you really going to do in those roles to help you all figure out where you want to spend time in applying and what would be most interesting for you.

So, maybe I'll hand it over to introduce some of the Ribbon team starting with you Shelly you on just a quick background on yourself, why did you join Ribbon, then a one or two liner on your roles you’re hiring for as we'll get into a bit more of the role details on that and lastly, what is your favorite thing to do, outside of work?


Shelly Sasson (Ribbon - Director of Marketing): 

Okay fun - so hi everyone, my name is Shelly. Like Ryan said, I am a Director of Marketing at Ribbon and I've been at Ribbon for about four months but feels more like four years at this point.

Prior to Ribbon, I was at a company called Flatiron health for three years, also in marketing. I started out on the product marketing team there and then became more of a marketing generalist over time. Before Flatiron, I was in strategy consulting at IBM doing internal corporate strategy so was not in marketing and was not in healthcare.

The reason why I chose to work at Ribbon is really threefold. First, from a marketing perspective, I found it really exciting to be able to build the marketing function from the ground up at a company that was growing really quickly and still be in an environment where I could wear a bunch of different hats, as it is across the entire organization, but also like think about building for scale.

And then, secondly from a healthcare kind of industry perspective, I wanted to work at a company that I felt was driving impact across the entire healthcare ecosystem and found that Ribbon’s kind of mission and vision really spoke to that simplification across like so many different use cases and segments.

And then third, I would say is very much the people at Ribbon. I wanted to go somewhere where I really believed in the leadership and also the colleagues that I'd be working with every day and found that Ribbon’s uniqueness is really how much we focus on our values and really integrate that into the people we hire and everything we do from a process standpoint and a work standpoint. So that's why I joined Ribbon. Ryan, the next question was what roles are hiring for, right?


Health Tech Nerds: 

Yes, on the marketing.


Shelly Sasson: 

On the marketing team we're hiring for a lot of roles, with the role that I'm really excited about to talk more in depth about today is the product marketing roles that we're hiring for. We’re hiring for a lead for a product marketer as well as a senior product marketing manager.

And then, last question was what I do for fun?


Health Tech Nerds: 

Outside of work, yes.


Shelly Sasson

Okay, I'm always embarrassed about this question because I feel like people that Ribbon have such cool hobbies, like some of us make popsicles and have really interesting ones and I really just spend my time outside of work hanging out with my friends and having girls nights, fun art projects and things like that. But I don't really have a particular hobby that I, you know, am super dedicated to.


Health Tech Nerds

That's okay, girl’s nights are fun, I think my wife wishes she had more of them.

All right, Laura.


Laura Mantell (Ribbon - Growth Lead)

Great so hi everyone i'm Laura I lead our digital health growth team here at Ribbon. Some background on myself, I’m going to try and make the sound different from Shelly, even though we have similar backgrounds. So I joined Ribbon just under a year ago now, and I joined from Flatiron Health, where I led partnerships with life sciences companies. I was there for about seven years and prior to Flatiron spent a few years in healthcare consulting, so have spent my entire career in healthcare. Why Ribbon, I think three things really stuck out to me about Ribbon as a company. 

First of all, I’m a healthcare data person and had done that kind of work at Flatiron, but was really excited about continuing that mission, and kind of, to the second piece of that, really kind of bringing healthcare data to the digital health realm.I think over the past few years, both with the pandemic, but also kind of even before that, have seen a lot.of momentum in the digital health space, and I was really excited by Ribbon's work and kind of unique position across digital health.

And then the third thing was our values and our people. Our values, and we'll go into this more, but we are a really, really value oriented company. It comes through in our interview process, it comes through in how we work as a team, it comes through how we work as a company and with other companies, and I found that to be really, really unparalleled across some of the opportunities I was exploring.

We are hiring for a bunch of roles. We have something like eight or nine open headcount on the growth team. The two that I will highlight, one is a lead level role so really building large enterprise partnerships with digital health companies and serving as the voice of digital health internally. Similarly, we’re also hiring for manager level roles, who will help build partnerships with smaller startups and smaller enterprises.

And outside of work, I run and I ski. Those are my two main hobbies.


Health Tech Nerds

Where was the last place you skied?


Laura Mantell (Ribbon - Growth Lead)

I haven't gotten out as much as I would like, but Stowe is a go to for me and Vermont.


Health Tech Nerds: 

Ah yes, very nice, Misha?


Misha Nasrollahzadeh (Sr. Director of Strategic Partnerships)

Hi everyone, and these are tough to follow. Okay, so I lead our strategic partnerships team which, for those of you that have been exposed to partnership teams in the past, means a lot of different things in a lot of different places. And we'll get into a bunch of detail about what our team does but we're focused on a lot of zero to one activity for the business and trying to test out things that maybe initially aren't scalable but eventually will help the broader business grow. So that's a little bit about kind of like our team in a very, very quick nutshell.

I joined Ribbon almost two years ago when there were 10 people at the time. I joined for, well everyone else said three reasons, I’ll say two reasons.

If you'd asked me the time when I was looking at what my next opportunity would be I would have told you that I was going to join a product role at a care delivery company, because it was at the intersection of my interest and my skills. And I ended up in a partnership for a data company. And why was that? 

It was because when I met Nate, I was one, very taken by the company that they were building and the way that they were thinking about decision making and investing in people, investing in partnerships when they were only like five or six people sitting around the table, the thoughtfulness at that point, was extremely genuine and extremely long lasting the way that it was being communicated. So I kind of heard that and I thought I want to be part of that company that's building it in that way.

And then the second thing was the problem space. The more I understood about the pain point that they were solving and how they were solving it, the more I could think about the applications across the industry. I built features on top of core provider data and I knew what that entailed, from a member experience standpoint with large enterprises what they're doing, and it was so interesting to think about the way that they were solving this data problem. And doing so in such a way that was building on top of the previous work. So I was undertaken by the company problem and that opportunity and scale of the actual number of patients we could reach at the end of the day - with the impact we can have with our data. That is something rare, I think, if you are a back-end data company to say and think about that patient piece. So that's a little bit of why I joined.

In terms of roles we’re hiring for, so really looking to bring someone on to help build our channel partnerships function. We’ll get into a lot of details here like what even is a channel but I would think of this as a way for Ribbon to extend its reach to be a part of existing platform solutions and build these bi-directional partnerships, where we can continue to grow in the market that way.

So someone who comes in at a lead level role and just be the thought leader and the person to roll up their sleeves and work on the deals but then build the function around that as well.

And then outside of work, I love to cook and host dinner parties.


Health Tech Nerds:

Awesome! Misha smiles as she talks about the partnerships definition, because we talked about that a little bit yesterday about what all of those buzzwords mean in terms of what somebody would do, so we will get into that.

Misha, I might come back to you quickly, as you were talking about your being enamored with the problems that Ribbon is solving and getting close to patients. Can you give us a little bit more about what or how you would describe what Ribbon really does and the problems you're looking to solve there.


Misha Nasrollahzadeh: 

Yeah so said pretty simply, we’re a provider data company, and we are really just hoping to have the very best data assets around. Doctors, where they practice, what insurance they accept, what facilities are they affiliated with, how well did they do the thing they say they do? Do they actually do the thing that you need? So we've really leaned into having the very best asset and pretty focused on developing that as our core product or set of products.

And we deliver the data via an API so that makes us a piece of back end infrastructure. We sit behind the scenes, and we can sit behind many scenes of the care experience that you would go to on the web as a member or a patient. We sit deep within a workflow of being able to identify whether a provider is in or out of network. 

We can kind of sit in any place because we are this piece of infrastructure, and that gives us a way to both power a number of workflows but also have a series of network effects from doing so. There is the way that our product is built, in that, while we have all this data that we're gathering to build this very best data set we're also collecting a lot of data from our partners for all around provider data to continue to invest and improve this - so it's just a really interesting time in terms of connecting to all these different places and workflows and types of companies to continue to focus on our core asset and then ultimately on our core mission.


Health Tech Nerds: 

I'm curious as you described that, for you, from a partnership perspective, once you're in with somebody who are you really spending time with as the key contact on the other side? Who are these people you are working with?


Misha Nasrollahzadeh

Oftentimes, it is the head of product or the product lead for the person who's responsible for whether it's building out something for referrals or something with provider data management.

There is a business owner, which can range on the use case. It could be the head of operations, head of clinical operations at a care delivery company, or it could be the head of network design if they're responsible for designing a plan. And the majority of these partnerships have some type of C-suite or executive exposure as well, because it has ended up being a core piece of the company in terms of the way they're going to grow or solve an operational problem. So there is exposure at that level as well, so it ends up being kind of a cross functional team on the partner side.


Health Tech Nerds

Sure, and Laura, maybe going back more upstream on that Bind was a startup, Series A when we were starting to evaluate you guys. What's the spectrum of companies that, from a growth perspective, you're really looking at? Who do you work with on the other side from a sales and business development perspective?


Laura Mantell 

Yeah so on the digital health side, we will work with anyone from a pre-seed telemedicine three person startup through to larger public enterprises. And really kind of across the realm of primary care, employer care navigation, specialty care referral management, so supporting a lot of different types of companies across all stages. We're also working with more traditional payers and providers outside of digital health but really kind of casting a wide net as it relates to potential partners.


Health Tech Nerds: 

Shelly, you talked a little bit about how you’re four months in and you were attracted by some of the culture. People can use the buzzwords about collaboration and people operating with ambiguity, but give us a tangible example of what you've seen at Ribbon that would help to kind of explain what the culture is given you’re so early there.


Shelly Sasson: 

Yeah yeah that's a great question. I think what really impressed me about Ribbon upon joining is our values are very integrated into whatever you want to call culture, right? And so, some kind of habits that are every week like we have an all hands meeting and we call it our “all paws meeting” because we're a very dog friendly culture as well. Our CEO reads through every single value and different members of the Ribbon team present on a project or a situation that relates to that value and why that is an example of that particular value. 

So we have those that kind act as a North Star for guiding us on, you know, what we should be doing and how we should be doing it, which I think is really impressive at a Series B stage company to have that already set up as a foundation in your org. So when you're working hard to do all these different things, you have that as a guidepost in terms of how you treat each other, what's important, and what you should be thinking about.

Another example of how our culture is kind of infused into even our recruiting process, is we do an interview during our final stage, called the “Who”.  And that's really about who you are, as a person, and so I very much felt like when I joined Ribbon people who I interviewed with knew who I was. Not just from my resume and my work experience, but what I cared about. What were the highs and lows of my different, you know, parts of my life. And that causes us to really hire people and have people at the company that care about each other outside of work and is an integral part of you know how we live our day to day at Ribbon.


Health Tech Nerds

I'm curious, what does it mean to be a dog friendly company? What do you guys do with the dogs?


Shelly Sasson: 

Haha, yeah well, we have them running around the office. Sometimes there's more than one which is nice and distracting but in a good way. Our CEO has a dog named Captain and he just kind of walks by your desk, says ‘hi’ and walks away. But then, when there are others, of course, you get to watch them play with each other, which is always fun.


Misha Nasrollahzadeh: 

Yep, it's Captain's world and we're just living in it.


Health Tech Nerds:

And on that note, what is the at office versus remote structure like right now?


Laura Mantell: 

We have an office, kind of in the Soho, China Town area. We are, I would say, a New York located office. Over the past few months we've had people remote due to Omicron but hopeto have people in at least a couple days a week, I think, on a more regular cadence moving forward, probably, starting in the spring.


Health Tech Nerds: 

Gotcha, okay. Misha, given you've been there a bit longer, how would you say, I’m that everything that Shelly says rings true to you, but how has the culture changed or any good examples of culture, given your tenure at the company?


Misha Nasrollahzadeh: 

I'm going to answer that in reverse and tell you how it stayed the same, because I think it's maybe it’s a bit telling, because even in the ways it’s changed, we've just grown and so it’s not that the culture has changed but maybe some of the habits and processes may have just shifted. The way we've stayed the same, as I think we have, maybe a very odd way of describing a company, I think, but we have values almost like morals for us - we have this set of like principles that we really fall back to and moments where we're not really sure because we're growing - there a lot of moments we're not really sure. And I’m going to give an example that really sticks out in my mind of Ribbon staying true to the values.

In the earlier days, when we were a Series A company and revenue is important, we were evaluating a potential partnership that had a pretty significant dollar amount attached to it and ultimately, there were a lot of factors tied to this, but ultimately we decided to walk away.

And we walked away because it wasn't values aligned and it would have been a partnership that would have put extreme amounts of pressure on our deployment team, it would have been a very questionable use of the data in a way that maybe wasn't the way that we would want our data to be, it wasn't as align with some of the other problems that we were solving. Questionable was maybe a bit too harsh but it just wasn't exactly the use case we wanted to power at the time.

And ultimately, we knew it's just going to put a strain on the team, and that would actually have caused a lot more of a ripple effect, and so we walked. One of our values is put your team first and it violated our put your team first value and so, you know, taking care of the team was more important to us than the dollars. I thought that it was that example that set this precedent that we were, you know, we would be struggling if we just kind of fell back on these values and really thought about why they exist, and what they mean, why we live by them.

It would lead to better outcomes and ultimately it opened up capacity on that team, so that they could actually take on a lot more interesting work and help us grow in other ways, and so I think that it was it's, especially now, at the moment that we were as a company to walk from revenue is, for the reasons that we did, I thought that was pretty telling of how we’ve live by them, at least on the go to market side.


Health Tech Nerds: 

And I'm curious on that note really for any of you, obviously there's a lot of decision making and having sat in those rooms were you trying to bring in a large customer and you've got different stakeholders. How does that decision making process work at Ribbon? And who's really driving that and owning that from, say it's product decisions and operating decisions to do that versus market driven, but how does that decision making process happen?


Misha Nasrollahzadeh: 

Yeah yeah I'm happy to give a bit on it, so I'm going to answer this with a couple tactical things to make it real. So we're a Google Doc company, we like to write things down and use it as a way to solicit a lot of feedback, comment on it, iterate on it, and actually start or continue to refine it and it's allowed us to be pretty cross functional and to be pretty transparent about the types of things that were deciding upon. So that's why a lot of decision making comes from my context setting and sharing within written docs.

Another one then becomes, uh, we have had a fair number of trade off discussions, where each person will play a role, so if you are you're sitting in a team, or you know, in a room with someone from marketing, someone from growth, from partnerships, someone from sales engineering trying to decide which of the deals to do, you know, put resources behind it's like a healthy debate of why this and not that, that I would say that is a relatively bottoms up approach to decision making and that we're soliciting a lot of feedback from individuals. 

And then, you know, maybe a smaller group will actually look at all the information and come to  what that decision would be, and then it turns right back around to the whole team and says now that a decision has been made, here’s now the what’s next or the how. That's again like another process of soliciting feedback. So that's maybe a little bit of how I would answer it. Curious how Laura or Shelly you guys would describe it.


Laura Mantell: 

I was gonna say that all rings true for me as well, the one other point I was going to highlight is going back to our values. Really making sure that the decisions that we're making are rooted in doing the best thing for the patient. And so when we think about products that we're building, signal from the market, how do we really tie all of that decision making back to what we're hearing from the market, what we're hearing from our partners around what is going to help them and what it's going to help their patients.


Shelly Sasson: 

Yeah that's funny because I was about to say the same exact thing because Ryan, you asked - is it the product function that’s making the decisions, is it the market? But it's really the patient. Everything at Ribbon and every decision we make is built with empathy and making decisions based on what's best for the patient and so having that as a key factor in our process makes that decision making process easier. The other thing I'll add is when anyone joins Ribbon we put together this thing called a ‘Working Norms Doc’. And one of the things you write on that is like what stresses you out the most and for me, ineffective decision making was the number one thing on my Doc and really was just like my biggest pet peeve is having swirl on decisions, and I can honestly say I haven't had that experience so far at Ribbon because I think our decision making processes are so centered around that North star that you almost have a way of centering what you do around that, and so it is very like bottoms up, it is very collaborative. We are a small-ish company, so there is a lot of feedback, but it never feels like you're swirling back and forth on the same kind of decision or not being able to execute on it.


Misha Nasrollahzadeh: 

Can I add maybe one more thing I just realized that kind of plays in here, so one of our values is stay hungry and keep improving and where that shows up I think is we're okay to commit, try it and if it doesn't work, that’s okay and just reflect on why. And then try it again so that that iterative process is throughout the organization. I’ve seen folks test something, if it doesn't work learn from it, and then move on, so.


Health Tech Nerds

Yeah, I used to call that being comfortable with the implications of whatever decisions we are making, so I can appreciate that. Shelly I'm going to come back to one of the things that you mentioned - wearing a lot of hats. You guys are at Series B, I think, around $54 million in funding, right now, how many employees do you have a Ribbon right now?


Shelly Sasson

Think we're around 70 is that right? Yes okay, around 70 and hoping to hire a lot. Our HR is on this call so they can correct me if i'm wrong but around 200 [HR indicated in chat ~130ish], In the near future.


Health Tech Nerds

And so my question is going to go with that, as I joined Bind around 100, I learned quickly there that we were a culture where wearing a lot of hats was the norm pre 100. We were getting to a place where you really needed to start figuring out swim lanes and structure and figuring out what roles and responsibilities were, and it was figuring that stage out. I'm curious how that feels right now, which will probably start to get into a little bit of roles in a minute here, but does it still feel like wearing a lot of hats versus moving into swim lanes versus very defined roles to go execute on - how does that feel right now?


Shelly Sasson: 

Yeah I can speak to that on the marketing side, and I would love to hear from Laura and Misha on their teams. I think it's somewhere in between, which for me is kind of the sweet spot. We're not in a place where you enter Ribbon on the marketing team and you're in product marketing or in demand gen or in you’re in brand and you're only doing that one thing and that function is super defined. But we are in a place where we are in the process of scaling so you're not one person doing a million different things, and so you have the opportunity to learn and grow and tap into different areas. In the case of product marketing, tap into all the different parts of product marketing and then figure out where you want to specialize as we scale and grow as a team, and so I think it's a nice sweet spot between joining. A super early stage company where maybe your function is completely undefined and so in marketing you're doing a lot of things that maybe aren't marketing. We're not in that place but we're definitely in the place where we're still scaling and so you're not entering into a role that's fully defined, and so you have the opportunity to figure out what that looks like and and build, you know, we say the best kind of career decision you ever mean building a career decision around. What you want to learn and grow and we're in that kind of sweet spot right now, as a company, at least on the marketing side. I'm sure it's the case for Laura as well.


Laura Mantell

I was going to say similar for where we are on the growth side. I think, wearing a lot of hats, working very cross functionally. Misha and I work very closely together across our teams and we’ll talk more about that, but often will see opportunities touch potentially multiple areas of the business and so we'll kind of all join in together but starting to see, especially as we scale the team more structure and more of a path around what roles future hires will come in and join, but still with that ambiguity and room to kind of problem solve.


Health Tech Nerds: 

Well let's get into the roles, Misha, I'll start with you. What are the key differences between the roles being growth and partnerships or maybe get into that definition of what channel partnerships actually means.


Misha Nasrollahzadeh: 

Yeah so on the topic of wearing many hats, I think our team has the most fluid definition around what we do at any given time. But with a long way since the beginning for this role, in particular, and for the way that we're defining channels, there's been two definitions for channels and our worlds, one is: who are all the different, or what are all the different platforms, companies, solutions that could include Ribbon as part of their offering that then goes to market and and sells to. Be that another entity, whether that is a health plan or a health system or potentially other digital health companies or provider groups. 

Some examples of types of companies would be a CRM that needs provider data flowing into it, that then could leverage Ribbon, or an EMR that wants to build a better referral widget and then they could leverage Ribbon. In these situations, it's not just like Ribbon is a standalone product wouldn't necessarily always resonate with the majority of a market or more innovative players with why, but this is like the case of what's an all-in nice package that we could add that someone could purchase and there's a variable component to it where from a deal standpoint, every time they would go to market together will do joint marketing, co selling and actually getting the final solution out there. So that's one element of it. 

We can go into a more specific example, if need be,. Then the other element is, who is Ribbon a channel for? So this is an interesting emerging part for our business, but we are an API. And a little bit like the way that our product team actually likes to describe it, take a picture out of their book, it's almost like pipes, so you can flow, a lot of data through the pipes and once we are pipes, or, you know, plugged into some type of home or front end we can pass through other types of data. 

So as an example, some data is very binary. If a provider has an address or not, or if they are in-network or not, those areas we really, really double down on. But who's good can vary and who is a high performing provider can vary and there are a lot of other companies out there that have used their own methodology to come up with their own approaches to start to measure what good is. So we want to be able to distribute that data through our API as well, so that our partners on the other end can have a suite of information that's important for their care decisions. So that's the second definition of a channel. So who is the channel for us and who are we a channel for as well.


Health Tech Nerds

And I'm going to just stick with each one of you individually for these next couple questions. So in this type of role, what are you typically looking for, more of an athlete or more of somebody with a very honed skill set who's done it? Where do you tend to lean on that flexibility of what you're looking for?


Misha Nasrollahzadeh

So I describe it in three ways. The first is someone who is excited about this creative deal making so you're in the room, with this partner thinking about the way to come up with terms to grow together, you are hearing this product-minded person so someone who is very interested in asking like deep deep questions about things that are very vague like there may be nothing there, and you have to just kind of move your way through white space to define some solution together.

And then lastly it's someone who's excited to be a function builder or build a team and build processes to actually scale this and make this a part of our org that's repeatable. So those are the three things that I would say, would come together for this person.

And even one candidate will probably spike on one of these three areas so there's flexibility in that, but in general, like comfort and relative to some of the other roles - extreme ambiguity able to create like something out of very little.


Health Tech Nerds: 

Sure, and what what, in your mind what does success look like in a year from now, from this person.


Misha Nasrollahzadeh: 

That's a good question. We would have had a number of scaled playbooks for how to build channel partnerships within each of these different segments so whether it's EMR, CRM, whatnot and then a few examples of partners. And each is growing a team to support that growth. And then, the cross functional teams that you're working with also understand what is the right cadence and how you work together on these elements, so those are probably the three things.


Health Tech Nerds: 

Very cool.  Laura I'm going to go down the same line for you on this. Okay, talk a little bit about the role and how it's different from the other roles and what that looks like from the growth aspect.


Laura Mantell: 

Yeah, So if I think Misha would describe her team as the zero-to-one or the ramp team, I think of our team as the one to 100. So how do we really build on these early hypotheses to scale Ribbon across these different spaces within digital health. So really looking for this role to build relationships, build a book of business with customers.

And then really advocate and evangelize our customers internally to make sure that the products and the processes that we're building are ultimately meeting and advancing their needs.


Health Tech Nerds: 

And similar questions on athlete versus sales experience driven versus consulting - where do you lean?


Laura Mantell

We've seen a couple profiles for this role. I think the first thing i'll highlight is that it's a very consultative sales skill set so former consultants, former sales professionals. People who have customer facing experience and are customer facing and relationship obsessed. I think, really, really important for this role is going out and building these relationships and getting these partnerships off the ground. So some combination of consulting and/or sales or other customer facing roles are probably the kind of the core profiles that we've seen.


Health Tech Nerds

And so Misha had an external playbook for channel partnerships plus team build plus internal playbook for stakeholder alignment. What does success look like for this person in a year for you?


Laura Mantell: 

I think really building out a book of business and driving revenue generating partnerships for Ribbon whether that's with growing out our kind of startup business or really helping to scale some of our enterprise relationships or a mix depending on the level. 

So that's the kind of core customer facing keys and then really working internally with our teams to represent customers to drive and partner with product and partner with marketing and making sure that we're advancing and building in service of our customers and kind of all of the associated processes that come along that. How we think about our product packaging, this is a collaboration with marketing, how do we think about pricing all areas that well again kind of further these further these partnerships externally.


Health Tech Nerds

And maybe one quick follow up on that being an ex-consultant coming in and being on the sales team and helping lead sales teams, I spent the first three to four months literally shadowing one of our main sales people, what does that look like, for the first 90 days for your team.


Laura Mantell

Yeah great question, so we have a very structured onboarding process across Ribbon. We do this on our team as well. We do what we call a ‘zero to 15’ where we're pitching and we're kind of role playing as if we are a sample customer. We're scaling out then across kind of the first month in the first two months, making sure that reps get a lot of pitching practice and pitching to internal stakeholders practice and pitching to customers and also really learning the space.  Digital health is a very, very wide industry and so within that opportunity, really honing in on a specific segment and learning the players, learning the buyers and making sure there's kind of clear understanding around who our customers and end users are.


Health Tech Nerds

Awesome, and Shelly I know that there's a lot of areas that you plug in across those two conversations, but a little bit more about the product marketing roles.


Shelly Sasson

Yeah did you save the best one for last? I'm just kidding, no competition, all roles are great. On the product, I'll speak specifically on the product marketing side, the way that I like to describe product marketing is that this person would influence all aspects of the customer lifecycle. So thinking about everything from product development to when we go to market and we support Laura and Misha’s team to when someone becomes a customer, product marketing touches all those different things.

And so what's exciting about that is you get plugged in two different skill sets so very much like a general athlete. Someone who can do market research and really support product on hypotheses around whether we should invest in a particular area. Someone who can really position the product to value and to our buyer personas when it comes to actually going to market and then being able to work very closely with Laura and Misha’s team in the moment that supports them when they're going out and they're creating these partnerships or the sales conversations.

And then on the customer side as we continue to grow and get more and more customers thinking about that retention expansion and how product marketing can really support the value that we bring to our existing customers. So very much looking for someone at the lead level who can really build this function across all those different dimensions. Build a team of eight or more, just given how many segments we do have to support on the product marketing side.

For the senior product marketing manager, someone that can do all those things and really work very cross functionally and collaboratively with. Not just Misha and Laura's teams, but also, all the teams at Ribbon and really have empathy for their challenges and where they can support.


Health Tech Nerds:

And success in a year?


Shelly Sasson

Yeah success in a year for both the product marketing and senior product marketing manager, I would say in one year it's really building a function. We have three product marketers today who are amazing and it's really just going to be learning from the amazing contributions and functions that they've already brought to the table and scaling that out. And really making sure that our product teams, our growth teams, our partnerships team, basically all teams, including our customer partnerships teams feel supported by product marketing. 

Ultimately, what that translates into is that our value proposition in the market is super clear to every single segment that we serve and that it's really clear what Ribbon does and how we can help improve a company and ultimately the patient experience.


Health Tech Nerds: 

Awesome, so I know we're running up on time so maybe my last question for you guys. You've talked about a lot of the cool things and the fun stuff about Ribbon. I'm sure you've seen profiles of people who just don't fit well at Ribbon or shouldn't spend the time to look at it. What would you say are aspects that get frustrating that if you don't have these qualities you won't be a good fit and won’t want to be there? What would you say is the - if you really want to spend your time doing this, Ribbon isn't the right place for you?


Laura Mantell

I'll start with one idea that I'll throw out there which is. I think we've really built a culture, and just by way of where we are as a company, of humility and flexibility. A process that works for 30 people, doesn't work for 60, doesn't work for 200, and so people who aren't open to that kind of adjustment and challenging of assumptions and changing the ways in which we work, I think I've seen that that profile struggle if you're looking for something that is a little bit more set and established.


Shelly Sasson

Yeah I think, we really hire people that are team players and ultimately like bringing the same empathy that you would bring to the patient experience to the people you work with and so this is not like who wouldn't be good fit, but just to put it out there that we very much screen for both functional aptitude and our values alignment and who you are as a person.

Someone who potentially is super laser focused on the functional aspects of the role but doesn't necessarily prioritize the kind of people aspects that come with it, I think, wouldn't be a great fit. I'm sure that everyone in HTN is wonderful people and so that's why we're doing this call, with all of you, but just something that we're super super cognizant of in our process.


Misha Nasrollahzadeh: 

One other thought. I think you're looking for something with the scope of your title, whatever the title is, that has been a tough one. And also, and we haven't talked too much about this, but we're a very good match for people who stay hungry and keep improving. We are a very feedback oriented place and there are some folks that just would not want to do that. 

And to be fair, I have been in feedback oriented environments where feedback is just delivered to you whether or not you want it and not in the way that's thoughtful. At Ribbon, It goes into the way that you enter and part of your norms is to share how you'd like to give and receive feedback. But that's part of it is like this growth mindset to continue to invest and grow and for folks who aren't as open to that type of environment, I think it can be, can be a bit more challenging.


Health Tech Nerds: 

Great! Anything else that any of you three want to add or that we've missed as it relates to roles or Ribbon itself?


Misha Nasrollahzadeh:

I will add something and I think like Shelly touched on this and really the one thing that we really do strive for is that this is the best career decision that anyone has made. When they joined, it's an aspirational kind of goal, but for me personally, I do really feel like this has been in part because of the way that I've been able to learn and grow, the way that I've been able to to learn from the individuals on the team, the type of mission that we have, the way that we approach problems together and learn from them, and so I just want to share that. For me, it has been, and our hope is, it will be for those who join. And we hope that some of you may be well.


Health Tech Nerds:

We did get one other question in the chat about - What would you recommend for people who aren't quite sure what role would be the best fit?


Shelly Sasson

Yeah, I see Kevin posted this in the chat but reach out to thea@ribbonhealth.com and syd@ribbonhealth.com they can speak they can speak to you about that your background and figure out what role might be a best fit and then connect you with the right person to learn more about the role. 


Health Tech Nerds:

Alright, well, thank you Shelly, Misha and Laura for all the time today, we will also send an email to you all with that contact information to us in case you don't get in the chat and we will look forward to chatting with you all soon. Thanks for the time.


ADDITIONAL BONUS QUESTION


Health Tech Nerds: 

So one more question we should have covered, how do you work together as a group? What is an example project that you guys work on and how do you hand off and work with each other?


Laura Mantell: 

I think I mean the immediate example that comes to mind, for me, is, as we think about building out the digital health market we’ve been working really closely with Misha’s team on where we really clearly have product market fit and how we can leverage those initial learnings to think about additional segments within digital health that we might want to explore, engage, test certain hypotheses and then actually begin to open up new markets and to expand our potential customer base.


Health Tech Nerds: 

So, what is your role in that versus Misha’s role?


Laura Mantell: 

So our role in that would be pulling in the signal and pulling in the learnings from just how we position the product to date and what we've seen resonate across other segments of the market. What we've seen resonate across certain types of buyers and personas. And then I see Misha’s team’s role is doing some of that R&D and research with those initial learnings and then us kind of tag teaming to get those initial conversations to fully to to get to the zero to one and then to the one to 100. Misha, I don't know if you have anything to add to that.


Misha Nasrollahzadeh

Yeah, I think the other way that we've worked together and, more recently, has been. Let's take a large enterprise opportunity where there are multiple work streams at once going, and one of them is going to be a channel and one of them is going to be a direct opportunity to build something together and the way we want to talk about what that is like from a product, marketing, kind of like new exercise and that's probably the right now, very top of mind is we're trying to figure out how you get into Fortune 10 companies . And the Fortune 10, that was very, very generous, but more broadly large companies and that's the other thing we're coordinating the efforts for now.


Shelly Sasson

So from a product marketing perspective. We really support a lot of the market research, because we are the voice of the market for the company. And so it would be the product marketing team’s responsibility to collaborate with Misha’s team and with Laura’s team to really start getting that research up and running and uncover any trends that would help inform how we should position what Ribbon does to this potential channel partner. Then on the actual sales side of things, or consultative side of things, providing the collateral and the talking points in the material to get that prospect over the line. 

The other piece that our product marketing team is involved in is setting up our qualification process. So what makes them qualified prospects for Ribbon and really collaborating very closely with Laura's team on what that should look like, but also what the process should look like in terms of her team really evaluating whether someone is qualified or not qualified and how that translates to whether or not we choose to continue the conversation with them.


For access to exclusive content, join the community