In 2012, the R&D spend was approximately $135B. Attention CROs- Are you operating at premium levels being an active research dealer for the pharma/biotech industry?

At Sales-Link, we consider our lead generation managers to be conduits for business between our CRO clients and pharma/biotech companies, discovering the spark that differentiates our clients from thousands of competitors vying for the same research contracts. So, what are the key ingredients we look for to help accelerate a CRO’s pipeline for sales success and be positioned as an active research dealer?

Know the answers to these questions below and you’ll be able to attract leads with quality content.

Are you introducing your company in the best possible light?

Know the formulas that prove your company’s claims for fastest response time, savings and ROI. At Sales-Link we encourage an exchange of information/great content with leads. Content could be blog posts about your key people and their expertise, differentiating factors about your technology and services, and reiteration of subject matter that you’re including in email marketing campaigns being orchestrated by your lead generator. Take the lead from your potential customers during initial introductions–listen, learn, and deliver.

You’ll never light a spark if you make claims that you can’t backup with expertise, statistics and testimonials.

Go back to the table with your team, study the competition and review your strengths (and yes weaknesses). Other wise there is no sizzle to make the connection. Read my previous post, 5 Tips To Start Selling and Stop Taking Orders.

Even during difficult times within your industry, there is always business to be found. Look at your products/services affected by a temporary stigma and identify the value and promote the heck out of it. The stigma will most likely go away but it could take time.

Do you know what the competition is saying about themselves, and are you using that information to craft your own message?

I was inspired when I saw Jim Cramer of Mad Money on CNBC this past May share news regarding Quintiles IPO. Of the new drugs approved from 2004 through 2011, Quintiles was involved in 85 percent of the central nervous system drugs, 76 percent of oncology drugs and 72 percent of cardiovascular drugs. Quintiles is a powerful dealer of research and resultantly, is the largest CRO. Cramer enthusiastically expressed to his viewers why the company’s stock was a buy. Why was Cramer armed with the facts to sell? Quintiles excels at telling its story and shares statistics/content about its services. The company has a proven track record and consistently sells, sells, sells.

Harvard Business Review’s July blog “The Growing Power of Inside Sales” advises that content needs to be produced and put out there because more buyers are reading these days and are counting on your content to allow them to do their research about your product/services. Buyers are no longer interested in meeting in person until they have completed their own independent reading and research.

For Sales-Link or any internal sales team to be the most enlightened conduit to promote a CRO, work is necessary to differentiate business offerings like Quintiles has done. No matter your company size, a big pharma company like Quintiles still offers you a model plan for marketing with success in a saturated industry.

What do you do when a lead says no thank you?

You don’t start selling until a lead says no. 90% of the time many people just walk away because your company does not have a compelling story to tell. For example, when I am engaged in discussion with a company who is not familiar with Sales-Link’s services and says “no” right from the start, I say, “Wow you must have quite an impressive pipeline of active leads!” Usually, the conversation turns around and I’ll find out that the reason for holding off may be a budget constraint or a simple misunderstanding of what I do. Either way, I work to get an answer other than no.

Your company should have a process for taking a second look at the people who say no to your correspondence. These are my favorite types of leads. If this person was on your high priority list, do not discard them, step back and make a better plan for courting them. After all, they took the time to even say no.

Maybe you didn’t provide them with enough content? Or, maybe you gave them too much content, or content that wasn’t relevant to the prospect’s needs? Maybe it’s a financial decision? No matter what the answer, it’s worth finding out why it’s a no for now, and maybe it will be a yes later. Often, it’s only a matter of educating your prospects and finding out how your company can make their work easier, quicker and more cost effective.

Get on the phone, reach out with a call, and respectfully make your case. Often, if you offer top-notch customer service as a smaller company you can even make a case for a company to leave one of the bigger guys. Again, know your competition and sell, sell, sell your services.

Are you having an internal conversation?

As a lead generation company, my employees are tasked daily with digging deep for nuggets of information and offerings that will attract prospects. Talking to the key people in your company’s various departments reveals the passion, history of your people, war stores shared by customers; a story that needs to be collected and shared by sales. A sales professional’s best tool is his knowledge and today, the sales rep, whether inside or field, needs to act as the prospect’s consultant.

Purchased data is a great source for leads, but unless you own targeted industry contacts and spark their interests with the right pitch, you will still be left in the dark. Sales-Link has received many calls over the years from CEOs and sales teams wondering, “How do I sell my services among this new, vast database of contacts?” The answer is simple, data is not enough. Knowledge/content is key.

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