Want to know how to build strong strategic sponsor-CRO partnerships? Commit to the three Ds: Start with a dialogue that establishes the project’s direction, ultimately making a difference in the relationship. In these relationships, a CRO must bring to the table the supplemental expertise a sponsor doesn’t know they don’t have, but needs for success.
1. Foster a Dialogue
Bidirectional communication is probably the most important part of a good strategic partnership. Use it to clearly identify expectations of both parties. Clearly talking things through will help you to better understand the customer’s needs, drivers and priorities. Likewise, understanding the different personalities and corporate cultures involved in a project is also key.
Never be afraid to ask questions. Additionally, if your experience has shown that what a customer is asking may not be the best strategy, then tell them! There’s credibility in challenging your customer.
2. Put Your Project in the Right Direction
A clear dialogue will help you draw up a fit-for-purpose roadmap. Based on early engagement, you’ll have a true understanding of the customer’s goals. From there, a well-defined direction can take shape.
Set objectives that are realistic but ambitious. Plan your project accordingly and have clear, reachable targets. As the project develops, continuously monitor whether or not it’s on course. If it’s not, then figure out the best way to get things back on track. But also have the flexibility to change course if needed.
3. Make a Difference in the Relationship
Having the right direction determines whether or not you’ll make a difference in a strategic sponsor-CRO partnership. What do we mean by difference? It’s how you’ll set yourself apart from other organizations.
Demonstrate how your team has worked together as it manages the peaks and troughs of a project. A successful relationship will yield measurable shared objectives. Don’t let your project get off to a good start but sink later on: Maintain project performance and achieve ultimate goals together in a continuous project management process. Be sure to incorporate routine assessments. Both parties should agree upon metrics for performance, transparency and self-assessment.
The DNA of a Successful Strategic Partnership
The three Ds are a fundamental part of what goes into a successful strategic partnership. Ultimately, remember that your goal is an intimate long-term partnership that delivers high-quality, efficient, affordable and committed expertise.
Strategic sponsor-CRO partnerships are about risk-sharing. Remember you’re in this together! You can learn more about this topic by watching Krista Armstrong’s OCT New England talk on strategic partnerships.