Business Development Tactics for Clinical Research Sites

Chris Hoyle
Founder and Executive Director, Elite Research Network
January 23rd, 2015

Of all the tasks you have at a research site, one that often gets overlooked is business development. When the bulk of your work revolves around the research itself, it can be hard to find time to devote to finding new studies. However, it is a necessary endeavor if you wish to run an effective site.

Many sites may not be large enough or have the budget to hire a dedicated business development person. When this is the case, consider the following options to make sure you are bringing new business to your site.

Rely on existing relationships

Stay in contact with sponsors you have worked with before and make sure they know about any new developments at your site. Have you started working in another therapeutic area? Have you implemented new processes that increase efficiency? It is much easier to continue working with those whom you’ve already done business, rather than trying to start from scratch. Also, consider looking to your peers for referrals. Word of mouth can be a powerful (and free!) tool.

Highlight your expertise

It’s okay to brag a little, as long as you have the proof to back it up. Sites that track performance metrics and are able to present accurate data to sponsors are more likely to land the study. Do you have short study start-up times? Have you consistently had high enrollment?  Highlight your strengths and focus on all the positives you can provide to the sponsor.

Network, network, network

Remember the old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? Though it’s certainly important to be knowledgeable in your field, a lot of today’s business is still about who you know, making networking as effective today as it has been in the past. Be sure to take advantage of all that the industry has to offer, and attend as many relevant conferences and webinars as your budget allows. This is especially important if it is an event that is well attended by sponsors with whom you can market your site and your expertise. Also, consider the networking options available through social media sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook.

Stay organized

Does your site utilize spreadsheets for each contact or account? Do you employ the use of customer relationship management software? Or, perhaps an even more robust tool, such as a clinical trial management system? However you manage your database, make sure it’s continually updated with the latest activities and communications, as well as with any contact changes.  Staying organized will allow you to reference this information immediately when needed.

Be inviting

When the monitor visits your site for possible selection, do you go out of your way to accommodate them? As simple as it sounds, offering them a hot cup of coffee, a quiet place to work, and having pleasant interactions with other staff will go a long way. They will remember the hospitality and will be more likely to want to work with you in the future.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published on May 3, 2013.

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