Whether you need help with a short-term project or you require someone to assist for a longer period of time, itâs not unusual to look externally for the support you need. In fact, businesses across every industry know the benefits of relying on consultants for all kinds of matters, and itâs no different in the life sciences industry. But, how can you be sure youâre getting the best return for your money while achieving your business goals?
Firstly, make sure youâre working with the right pharmaceutical consulting firm for your needs. There are many firms to choose from, but not all of them have the breadth of knowledge or level of expertise youâd expect. So, be sure to appoint consultants from firms with a large number of experienced specialist advisors â particularly those with deep domain knowledge and senior business experience such as Alacrita. Be wary of firms offering services from graduates fresh out of university â they may have the qualifications on paper, but thereâs a lot to be said for real-world experience and commercial pragmatism.
Secondly, confirm that youâre working with the appropriate individual once youâve chosen a reliable firm. This means working with the firm to select a professional with the exact expertise you require, as well as the necessary qualifications and perhaps even previous involvement in related matters to ensure youâre getting what you need. Of course, choosing the right individual also extends to finding someone who has the right personality, too â âfitâ is essential in any business arrangement, and itâs important that the consultant or consultancy firm youâre working with is flexible and adaptable enough to get on board with your values and work in the way you need them to.
Then, once youâve defined your goals and measures of success, itâs important to be realistic about timescale. This is the only way to make the most of the pharmaceutical consulting firm youâre working with, so work with them to confirm what can be achieved in your timeframe. Expect things to take a little longer than youâd like, build in contingency plans, and avoid taking risky shortcuts. But remember: pharmaceutical consultants arenât magicians. You (and they) are going to be held up by a number of barriers, so donât expect miracles.
That said, a lot can be achieved if you keep the lines of communication open. Ensure your consultants have access to essential documents, and make sure that theyâre up to speed on the terminology and technology youâre using internally. (Speaking the same language in this way ensures that work can be performed efficiently, without mistakes or confusion). Itâs also a good idea to plan in regular meetings to catch up, and two-way feedback should be encouraged so that there are no nasty surprises later down the line. All in all, you and your team should expect to be participating, as opposed to simply handing work over.
Finally, ensure that internal roles are clear. Your consultant is going to be working with you and your colleagues, not in isolation. This means that theyâll need as much initial support as any new starter would, and theyâll also need to be able access senior staff with influence in your organisation. Make sure team members are available to your consultants, and that theyâre fully briefed on the requirement to help the consultants wherever possible.