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4 Ways How You Can Differentiate Your CRO in Today’s Market

July 13, 2023

Clinical Research Organizations (CROs) are increasingly important in drug research and development, as sponsors go outside their businesses to oversee clinical trial activities and decrease costs and timeframes. Yet, many CROs struggle to differentiate themselves in the eyes of prospective sponsors or exploit differentiators that no longer resonate with sponsors today, such as competence in critical therapeutic areas.

Providing expertise in the form of educational credentials and/or the number of studies completed in a therapeutic area may not be enough information for a customer to differentiate amongst CROs nowadays. How can the client know if a Ph.D. from one university is superior to another? Is there a significant difference between conducting 300 oncology trials and 500 cancer studies?

In today's market, successfully differentiating your CRO requires a more holistic approach — one that goes beyond therapeutic expertise and emphasizes your ability to fulfill a broader range of needs. Octalsoft's primary goal is to help our CRO partners flourish. In this post, we offer four techniques and best practices that Octalsoft has developed to help you stand out from the crowd and position your CRO for success.

Focus on operational efficiency:

In a field where each CRO claims to have extensive expertise in its therapeutic area(s) of interest, operational efficiency has become a top priority for sponsors. As a result, operational efficiency has become a given for your CRO, and communicating your work method has become critical for differentiating your CRO from the competition.

Sponsors want to know that CROs are bringing qualified staff to the project, but they also want to know how the team plans to perform the study, how long each step might take, and what progress updates they might expect. By emphasizing operational efficiency in your brand message, you can address these concerns and give prospects a taste of what it's like to work with your CRO.

We recommend that you lead with operational efficiency by articulating your CRO's framework or step-by-step approach to studies, describing the services you provide at each stage and the deliverables the sponsor can expect. Explain how you tailor your strategy to each sponsor's individual needs, such as the therapeutic area-specific analysis or reports you create as part of your approach. Share your successes in previous research to demonstrate your capacity to deliver high-quality results on time and within budget.

Embrace Innovation

Technology is becoming increasingly important in drug research and development, and it can also be a crucial differentiation for CROs. Strong experience in emerging technologies can help you build a reputation as a forward-thinking CRO while also delivering the operational efficiency that sponsors need.

To differentiate yourself from the competition, make access to real-time data a component of your messaging. The vast majority of sponsors desire real-time updates on research progress, but most report receiving data that is a week or more outdated. CROs that offer sponsors real-time export capabilities or are skilled users of a system and can deliver rapid data exports have a better chance of meeting sponsors' needs.

To help your CRO stand out, highlight your experience in in-demand and new technology. Even though numerous sponsors used ePRO and eConsent during the pandemic, the bulk of them were unsatisfied with the experience. CROs who specialize in promoting the successful use of ePRO and eConsent can distinguish themselves effectively.

Finally, describe how your CRO's significant knowledge of specific clinical trial technologies allows the team to work more efficiently, from faster build times to faster study close-out activities. By shortening study schedules, this level of efficiency may help your CRO distinguish itself.

Create a seamless client experience

Differentiation is more than simply marketing; the client experience may set your CRO apart. According to a recent Pharma Intelligence survey, referrals are still the most common way for sponsors to locate new CROs, therefore providing a great experience to your existing clients can bring you additional sponsors.

Yet, when working with CROs, sponsors frequently struggle with components of the client experience. Over one-third of the sponsors polled listed staff turnover as the most difficult aspect of working with a CRO, while 17% cited project management and 9% cited communication as their top concerns. This means that CROs who face these problems straight on will be able to distinguish themselves from their competition.

CROs can improve the customer experience by developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) with supporting documentation and ensuring that personnel adhere to these processes. Companies could also consider employing multiple people for important positions to mitigate the impact of turnover and ensure that studies can continue uninterrupted if a staff member becomes unavailable.
Furthermore, CROs should provide a consistent experience by adhering to a standardized document storage format, even if it is not the eTMF standard. Staff who are new to the study will immediately know where to obtain the information they need for the research's conduct if everyone follows the same guidelines.

Find the right partners

CROs benefit from collaborating with reliable partners who can help them achieve their business objectives, much as sponsors look to CROs for their knowledge and insight. "Most CROs cannot and do not want to do everything." Choosing the correct partners assists you in filling those gaps, allowing you to create long-term relationships with your consumers.

For example, the correct clinical trial software partner can provide software and assistance to help CROs achieve sponsors' important needs, such as high-quality data, information access, and fast clinical trials. Companies can also collaborate with CROs during the bidding process, demonstrating how their software will suit the needs of the sponsor. Moreover, the proper partners may assist you in emphasizing your distinction by partnering on co-marketing initiatives that strengthen your reputation and brand.

Octalsoft is here to help

Setting a distinct value proposition for your CRO requires you to find new and easy solutions that help you meet the needs of your sponsors — and we've got you covered. For more than 15 years, we have been a leader in the eClinical area, providing solutions tailored to your client's specific needs, from traditional, virtual, or hybrid trials to concierge assistance ready to assist your team every step of the way.

Book a Demo with us to learn more about our clinical trial technology and how we can help you differentiate your CRO today.

Hiren Thakkar

Hiren Thakkar

This piece is co-authored by Nishan Raj, Senior Content Writer at Octalsoft.

Hiren Thakkar

This piece is co-authored by Nishan Raj, Senior Content Writer at Octalsoft.
He is dedicated to empowering businesses to achieve their goals through innovative and cost-effective solutions. He bears a unique ability to implement simple solutions for even the most complex problems. With extensive experience working in several industries including more than a decade in pharma & clinical research, he’s not just an expert, but a visionary, who understands the potential of technology and knows how to leverage it for clients’ success.

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