Securing repeat business from sponsors and CROs in an ever-changing, highly unpredictable industry is every site’s ultimate goal. Because of how drastically the landscape has changed over the past few years, it has become harder than ever to stand out from the crowd, and to maintain sponsor relationships that were, at one point, all a site needed to stay busy. Now, amidst major consolidation and a handful of sponsors and CROs dominating the market, it is vital to a site’s business operations to be as strategic and proactive as possible when it comes to gaining access to more trials and becoming a “key” site.
Record and Share Your Metrics
Sponsors and CROs are becoming increasingly data-driven and, as such, are considering sites based on a number of key data points, including: start-up timelines, speed of recruitment, retention metrics, and data quality, to name four big ones. If you have this information at your fingertips for every study your site conducts, you will be better positioned to advocate for your site during study submission. Plus, if you are consistently high-performing, why wouldn’t you want to save and showcase that data? There is no need to worry if you have a relatively new site—sponsors are considering new sites with promise more than in previous years. Even a couple of quality trials with the aforementioned information highlighted may stand out more than a site that has performed 100+ trials but lacks the data to back them up.
Be an Excellent Communicator
Whether in the feasibility stage or post study activation, communicating often with sponsor staff is a great way to build rapport and to stand out. Completing and returning documents to the sponsor quickly at the feasibility stage can make or break your site’s chances of landing a study, and in turn impact your ability to showcase the important data you need to land more studies. Furthermore, if you are slow to respond during the feasibility questionnaire stage, sponsors find it to be indicative of what your site may be like when working on a trial.
Do Not Take “Just Any” Trial
Be strategic about which trials your site conducts. It is okay to say no to studies you know will not perform well for your site. Sometimes the temptation to get your foot in the door with any trial that presents itself can land you in trouble. The long-term consequences of being a zero- or low-enroller on a study due to your lack of experience or resources will make it difficult to secure future studies with the same sponsor. It is wise to involve your staff, principal investigator, referral sources, and any other stakeholders in the decision-making process when faced with a new study opportunity. By bringing many minds together, you can outline a clear strategy for recruitment ahead of time and be more intentional about your decision to take a study on.
Join a Site Network
Sponsors and CROs are turning to strategic partnerships with site networks much more frequently, having recognized that networks have access to therapeutically diverse groups of high-performing sites. The idea of having a single point of contact for multiple sites is appealing; startup times are typically faster, communication is streamlined, and there is a shared willingness to collaborate in the most efficient way possible. Vetting processes to become part of a site network are also similar to what CROs and sponsors look for on a consistent basis. If you have a new-to-research site that is part of a network, sponsors are more likely to take a chance on you based on their existing relationship with the network and the trust they put into the network’s recommendations.
There are many pieces to the puzzle of becoming a “go-to” site, and there is certainly no one-size-fits-all solution. However, following the four tactics outlined above will provide a good starting point for site personnel, wherever they are in the process.
Interested in learning more about how to help your site achieve success? Read our white paper on the benefits of joining a site network:
Post by Mallory Thomas -
Mallory works with both sites and sponsors in a variety of capacities to optimize and streamline the site selection process. “The best part of my job is getting to know my wonderful clients and seeing their research pipelines continue to thrive and stand out in a very competitive industry.”