Four steps to forge strong partnerships between CROs, sponsors, and technology vendors

Author: Anthony Encarnacao, Vice President, Global Partnerships 

As clinical trials evolve, Contract Research Organizations (CROs) face ongoing challenges to secure new bids and retain existing customers—needing to showcase cost-effectiveness, hitting timelines, and efficient implementation to win business from sponsors. Strategic and trusted partnerships with technology vendors can emerge as valuable assets in navigating these challenges and help set the path to success for CROs and sponsors alike. 

This four-step checklist, drawn from insights shared by CRO experts in a recent webinar, serves as a practical guide for CROs to build lasting relationships with sponsors and technology vendors. 

Step 1:  Understand the sponsor’s ultimate objective

How CROs and technology vendors support sponsors depends on the trial needs and the sponsor’s goals. Effective technology approaches start with understanding, including exploring these and other questions:  

  • What is the sponsor’s end goal? 
  • What specific objectives does the study aim to achieve? 
  • What is the timeline for first patient in? 
  • Will the study grow to involve more trials and patients? 
  • Which technology solutions and operational design would best meet the trial’s needs? 


Step 2: Institute effective governance and transparent communication 

Successful partnerships require clear communication and decision-making. Steps that contribute to effective collaborations include: 

  • Schedule regular check-ins with technology partners and encourage open dialogue. 
  • Prioritize stakeholder alignment on study goals and timelines. 
  • Establish efficient governance processes to proactively manage issues. 
  • Maintain transparent and accessible escalation points within the governance structure. 


Step 3: Build trust through effective delivery 

Building trust is a foundation for successful study outcomes, especially between CROs and vendor partners. Partners can establish trust by:  

  • Proactively identifying sponsor needs to establish a solid foundation. 
  • Working together to educate sponsors on new systems and solutions, with a clear benefit analysis. 
  • Delivering on promises set at the beginning of the partnership. 
  • Fostering a collaborative approach, including problem-solving. 
  • Acknowledging trust is a shared responsibility between CROs and vendor partners. 


Step 4: Make strategic technology choices 

CROs, with the help of vendors, play a pivotal role in supporting and guiding sponsors on technology-related challenges. When assessing how to navigate technology challenges:   

  • Consider study phase, size, and potential protocol amendments. 
  • Agree on procedures for integrating new technology. 
  • Select technology solutions that can grow and change with the study. 


A collaborative approach for clinical trial success 

These are a few of the most critical steps in the CRO-vendor relationship. When CROs work with vendors who are committed to being true partners, CROs can establish robust partnerships with technology vendors and sponsors—and better leverage technology to meet and exceed study goals. 

This collaborative approach ensures that technology aligns with study objectives, reduces potential issues, and enhances efficiency in clinical trials. When everyone collaborates, partnerships thrive, and success becomes a shared achievement. 

Ready to dive deeper into successful partnership approaches? Watch the “Top 3 CRO Challenges in Clinical Trials Today and Proven Strategies to Overcome Themwebinar for additional insights from CRO and eClinical technology experts. 




Anthony Encarnacao
Vice President, Global Partnerships