Sales Talk for CEOs: Finding Success Through Channel Partners with Barb Kinnaird (S2:E13)

May 5, 2022 | Sales Talk for CEOs Podcast

Dr. Barbara Kinnaird is CEO of Response Biomedical, a point-of-care testing solution helping to diagnose acute diseases. A microbiologist by trade, Barb stepped in as CEO after a significant company downsize, and she soon discovered there were many other problems in the business that needed fixing.

One of the big ones? Lack of clarity on who the core customer is.

Research in this area led Barb (and the company) to a huge mindset shift: from focusing on product features and end-users, to concentrating on channel partners.

“I think we’re on the right path with the core customer being the channel partner,” says Barb. “It’s a little bit differentiated in this industry, so I think it helps us because they feel the love.” During this episode of Sales Talk for CEOs, you’ll learn about Barb’s journey, including moving from public to private, finding investors, and trying to understand sales. You’ll also find out how Barb has restructured Response Biomedical to support channel partners and compete with big companies in this fast-paced field of medicine.

Watch the podcast below or on our YouTube channel.

Highlights of this Episode:

[3:30] From microbiologist to product development to CEO

[8:24] We’ve got some problems to fix…

[12:07] Who are we selling to? A shift in focus to channel partners

[22:26] Setting up a system to support channel partners

[28:56] On the horizon: showing more love to channel partners, a streamlined product

[33:04] Growing as a CEO

About Our Guest

Proven CEO and industry expert Dr. Barb Kinnaird helps companies bridge the gap between innovation and profitability. With over 20 years in leadership roles primarily in the fields of infectious diseases and point of care diagnostics, Dr. Kinnaird is passionate about guiding leaders through transitions by focusing on mindsets and products that will solidify their value. 

Dr. Kinnaird has served as Chief Executive Officer of Response Biomedical Corporation since 2015. Through her leadership, Response Biomedical has transformed and expanded from a niche market into a global acute care diagnostics leader, expanding product availability worldwide to improve patient outcomes and support healthcare reform. 

A patent-holder and author of numerous academic publications, Dr. Kinnaird is an active leader in the global medical diagnostic community and a sought-after mentor to fellow CEOs. Since 2019, she has served as Chairperson of the Board of Acetech, a local non-profit organization designed by CEOs to help CEOs grow and scale tech businesses and stimulate the economy through job creation and global expansion. 

Dr. Kinnaird holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia. She conducted her post-doctoral research at the Michael Smith Laboratories in genomics and gene expression profiling, in collaboration with the B.C. Genome Sciences Centre while acting as a consultant for the Proteomics division of Incyte Genomics Inc. She continues to share her expertise in life sciences as an Advisor to Genome BC and Global Affairs Canada. 

Show Links

Connect with Barb Kinnaird in the links below:

You can learn more about and connect with Alice Heiman in the links below:


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