5 Ways CROs Can Drive a More Competitive Client Experience

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Consistently providing excellent client experiences is one of the hallmarks that separate the most innovative and value-focused contract research organizations (CRO) from the rest of the field. To achieve this, you may want to modernize and simplify the technologies that help you serve clients, empower research study and project managers, and run a productive business operation. Sikich can help you move ahead by integrating Salesforce and Sikich SuiteSuccess for CROs, which is based on NetSuite, into a cloud environment that is optimized for CROs. In today’s blog post—the first one in a series of five—we take a look at CRO industry issues and challenges in delivering the best possible client experience.

Your opportunity to outperform the competition

In the fast growing life sciences industry, contract research organizations (CRO) play a critical role in validating pharmaceutical, biotechnological, and medical devices solutions that can eventually impact millions of people. As populations around the globe both grow and age, life sciences companies and the CROs that support them face a high level of demand for translating the cutting edge of research into effective medical approaches and products.

While pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions slowed many CROs’ clinical trials and studies, the industry is poised for a speedy recovery. Some analysts expect that the CRO market worldwide will generate revenue of $63.83 billion by 2024, up from $43.03 billion in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate of 8.2 percent—an increase of close to 48 percent in a mere five years.1 Others project a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.48 percent for the CRO industry between 2020 and 2023.2

Intense competition and fast growth in life sciences markets

As the Sikich CRO and life sciences teams observe first-hand, the CRO industry climate continues to be volatile and intensely competitive. Some of the largest organizations expand by making acquisitions in addition to winning more clients. The runners-up are aggressively pursuing market share, and many small and newer players strive to maintain a competitive edge and win loyal clients by proving their value creatively and innovatively. Even when life sciences companies regularly outsource their clinical research projects to the same CROs, they still do their due diligence in qualifying vendors. When it’s time to prepare a new study, many CRO clients will issue a request for proposal (RFP) to three or more firms, and some approach even more potential CRO partners.

At the same time, the life sciences community comprises various business networks and cultures that are dedicated to highly specialized research. Within these niches, people may remain in touch through many years of their careers, even when they change jobs. Many CROs approach a limited set of potential clients with confidence that they can meet their requirements. Once a CRO has gained a reputation, for better or worse this can be hard to shift or shed.

Experience quality proves your value—or not

As outsourced services businesses, CROs find success through their client relationships and outstanding delivery of scientific research projects. Losing a client can be highly damaging to a CRO, and ensuring clients’ satisfaction and doing their utmost to retain them are business-critical endeavors for CROs. The client stakeholders making decisions regarding CROs and managing the engagements with them are a sophisticated, demanding audience, committed to seeing their organizations perform to exacting standards. They hope that their CRO contacts can match them and live the same values. If CROs can’t keep up with their pace, they will not be able to do business with them.

Research in the professional-services industry overall shows that the perceived value of clients’ experience quality almost equals that of a company’s services. In a comprehensive survey, 89 percent of business clients feel that the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. Eighty-two percent say that even one extraordinary experience is likely to raise their expectations of other companies, and 82 percent also are willing to pay more for a great experience.3

However, many firms perform below clients’ expectations and deliver experiences that do not help their standing or competitiveness. Seventy-three percent of potential clients say that they expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, but only 51 percent approach this standard. sixty-two percent state that they expect businesses to adapt, based on their actions, and just 47 percent feel that companies do so. One has to assume that many clients are disappointed in their providers and open to considering other options.

Taking the next step

If you want to find out more or would like to pursue an integration of NetSuite and Salesforce:

1 See Fierce Biotech, “CRO market to recover, using ‘hybrid trials,’ with revenue hitting $64B by 2024: report” at https://www.fiercebiotech.com/cro/cro-market-to-recover-using-hybrid-trials-revenue-hitting-64b-by-2024-report.

2 See Medgadget, “Contract Research Organization (CRO) Market Size Will Grow at a CAGR of 11.48% By 2023” at https://www.medgadget.com/2020/12/contract-research-organization-cro-market-size-will-grow-at-a-cagr-of-11-48-by-2023.html.

3. Salesforce, “State of the Connected Customer,” Third Edition, at https://www.salesforce.com/eu/form/pdf/state-of-the-connected-customer-3rd-edition/

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.


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