Let’s start with two rhetorical questions: Are you maximizing your global research services? And, are you maximizing your clinical research services with your international clients?
We say rhetorical because the answer to these questions is almost always no. As the global marketplace seemingly becomes smaller and more connected, more and more CROs, regardless of where they are located, have added international pharma and biotech clients to their portfolios of work. There is always something more you can be doing to extend and solidify your global reach – for many pharma and biotech companies, particularly those new on the global playing field, there’s generally a lot more you could be doing.
Before you get overwhelmed, don’t worry: we’ll talk you through it, and give you our most important tip to make it work.
Working the Distance Factor
On the plus side, this globalization trend creates an interesting (and very cool) situation for the life-sciences industry worldwide. Ideas are coming together in new ways, enabled by technology – including a variety of enhanced communication portals – and increased cultural understanding. (Not that stereotypes have ceased to exist.) But even with these amazing tools and greater knowledge of intercultural communication, are you really maximizing your delivery and service with diverse clients located thousands of miles away?
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t have long-distance clients and that you can’t succeed from a distance – we certainly do! Seuss Consulting has offices located in various places across Europe, plus we also deliver to clients where we don’t have a physical presence. So we know that it is possible to provide top results from miles away. But we also know that there are challenges, both logistically and culturally. And that’s without considering even more complex services/tasks, like R&D, investigational product development, clinical-trial testing and creating regulatory strategies. These are in-depth, complex, long-term activities that require intense monitoring and management oversight.
So, with all this in mind, we ask again: How well are you serving your clients, in real-time, who are located hours (at least in travel and potentially in time difference) away? How available are you to tackle the inevitable problems that will arise during a clinical trial (and turn them into successes)?
Solving Long-Distance Problems
The solution? In short, you need “feet on the street” – a local expert who understands the local culture, and how it differs from the culture of your home location. Someone who speaks the local language. (Thank goodness for Google Translate, but it still falls far short in these situations.) Someone who knows the ins and outs of how it all works: where and how to get things done, get a good deal, etc. But how, exactly, do you find these feet and put them on the street?
Smaller CROs often set up partnerships with another CRO based in their target country (we can help you set up and maintain these partnerships). This is a smart strategy as it allows CROs to effectively deliver and communicate with an international pharma client who is far away without investing in a completely new office or staff. Of course, this means letting go of a little personal control, which is not appealing to everyone.
Which is why others who have the means often opt for a whole new brick-and-mortar office staffed by locals, a handful of permanent or contracted team members or some well-situated consultants. Setting up a new office abroad doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, and we can help you find the strategy that best fits your needs and budget. Perhaps a virtual office is more your speed?
Whatever you decide, providing a local point of contact to your existing international clients, those based abroad or even those who just want to do work abroad (through you), will show them that you are serious about their business…not to mention that it will help you pick up some more business.
If you already have clients based or working abroad, that is great for your business. But it’s also critical that you are providing them with superior, responsive and effective customer service with clear communication and timely solutions as this is the key to maintaining your business and growing it further.
So yes, having international pharma clients is great. But having a solid international presence and strategy is better. Luckily there are people who can help.