What differentiates your company from the competition so that a pharmaceutical sponsor chooses you?
I recently spoke with Jim (not his real name), a global head of preclinical safety at a major pharmaceutical company. We discussed how vendors and CROs who sell to his group spend far too much time talking about their “great capabilities.” He lamented that vendors are reluctant to discuss “mistakes” or “problems” and how to fix them.
Can you imagine entitling a case study or podcast “When We Messed Up” and sending it to clients and prospects? Crazy talk, right? Or is it?
“Decision makers at pharmaceutical companies understand that [stuff] happens,” said Jim. “The real unknown is ‘how will the service provider deal with those problems or mistakes?’ So at the end of the day, the big question we need to answer before we make an investment with a provider is ‘how much do we TRUST them? ’”
Far too often we spend time selling experience, technology, process and our global footprint. However for vendors in life sciences (clinical research organizations, technology providers or consulting firms) these capabilities are the bare minimum to be considered for the job. What ultimately will win you the business are those table stakes combined with a differentiator.
As pharmaceutical companies shift more of their resources to preferred provider relationships, it just may be the service and technology providers with enough confidence to talk about their mistakes that will start rising to the top.
How did your organization attack an unexpected problem during a client engagement? How did you remedy the situation? Market that story.
Something to ponder as we begin 2011.