Case Studies

Ready to commercialize
in the USA


Neo Medical


Spinal implants and instruments


Area Sales Director


South Central USA

Client Testimonial

Talanoa’s partnership delivered trusted talent that could be onboarded into a fast moving organization and enable meeting key commercial wins in complex environments.

Xavier Pardo, President USA, NEO Medical


Neo Medical are Swiss based Spinal implant manufacturer who offer affordable, high quality, disposable instruments as a solution for lumbar fusion.

After successfully clearing the FDA approval and starting to market their products with an Area Sales Director and Marketing/Education Manager, they were ready to stimulate growth in different regions of the USA.

Business Challenge

In the case of Neo, who have a truly unique value proposition it was clear that they would need someone who has

strong experience working with other spinal implant manufacturers and has garnered a strong KOL network in their region, with both surgeons and distributors. This would be crucial when building surgeon champions to navigate hospital approvals.

Furthermore, with the nature of Neo being a smaller and younger Company, they needed someone who understood the importance of rolling up their sleeves and doing the hard work themselves. Despite this being an Area Sales Director position, the candidate would have no direct reports to delegate their responsibility, the book stopped with them. Therefore, hiring someone from a larger strategic such as Medtronic or Johnson and Johnson would make little sense, as directors often over delegate and regional managers cover a much smaller territory.

Hunt for the Perfect Candidate

At the time of this assignment our market map covered 533 candidates in the USA, from Regional Sales Manager to Vice President (of which 299 I was in contact with), as well as our own key opinion leaders network we could draw a longlist of candidates. In the case of Neo, this amounted to 79 possible candidates within an agreed upon geography.


When the longlist is complete, we reach out to the whole list to see which candidates are interested in a conversation to discuss the position. Which in the case of Neo was 19 candidates out of the 79 in the longlist. This then becomes our shortlist.


Having now compiled a shortlist of candidates who match the agreed upon criteria, it is important to vet the candidates thoroughly. This is not merely to decide if the candidate is a strong fit for Neo, which of course is important, but also to assess whether Neo provides the right career opportunity that is fully in line with the candidate’s career goals. If we place a candidate who is not satisfied with the client or who has been oversold, it my be at risk of not working out and can be detrimental to the candidate’s career and family, as well as costing the Company investment in the candidate. So

we sold each candidate the benefits and virtues behind joining Neo, as well as making them aware of the challenges.

Following the vetting process, we chose the top three candidates to send to the Xavier.

Client Testimonial

Trust, Transparency and Targeting were key when working with Talanoa.

Xavier Pardo, President USA, NEO Medical

Interview Process

In the case of Neo, there was a mix of telephone, face to face and video interviews. After each interview, I held conversations with both Xavier and candidates to provide important and thorough feedback. This way both candidates and clients understand the thoughts of the other party. Staying true to Talanoa, we make sure this is done in an open, transparent, and honest way.

Job Offer and Onboarding

Salary expectations from Neo and the candidates were qualified before the interview process. Therefore, when it came to offer negotiation it was a straightforward process.

Onboarding is particularly important in terms of keeping in touch with both the client and candidates 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year after start date. Ensuring both parties are satisfied is important for the success of the hire and our relationships moving forward. In this case, the candidate started 3 months before a pandemic and suffered as a result, however due to keeping in touch we were able to see the issues and manage them through. By the end of his first full year, he was opening new accounts and starting to generate new business.

Outcome and lessons to be learned

Working with Neo was a very smooth process, from the role qualification through to negotiations and onboarding. This success was in part due to the innovation and excitement that Neo Medical bring to the market. Their disposable system not only saves money for hospitals and ambulatory service centers, but the procedure also provides benefits to the patient following surgery. However, I believe the main reason for success was because of the open and honest communication between Matthew and Xavier. After every interview, feedback was shared within 24 hours and the transparency of the conversations led to deeper understanding of what was needed and expected from the candidates.

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