Should You Use a Database for Business Development?

In the life sciences sector, many organizations choose to invest in third-party databases to aid in their business development activities. For some companies though, the expense may be deemed as unnecessary, choosing to allocate their budget to other areas. Is purchasing a business development database the correct decision for your organization?

For people working in business development, their time is usually spent searching and profiling potential new partners to collaborate with. Some of these initial leads can be passed over from your marketing department, while others you may encounter at conferences and events, or you may have to find them yourself. The latter can be the most time-consuming activity, with a lower strike rate compared to marketing qualified leads and conferences, as the prospect may not be as familiar with your organization and its products or services – thus starting at the beginning of the sales funnel.

 This task requires research, involving amalgamating information from a variety of resources to see if there are ideal clients for you to initiate contact with. While this is time-consuming, it also poses the risk of the information being inaccurate. Depending on your organization’s size, this task is sometimes delegated to an individual within the business development department – which comes at the cost of an extra salary being paid. Most companies in the biotech and pharma industries opt to take advantage of third-party business development databases instead, which have the advantage of saving both time and money, while also adding an extra layer of efficiency to the overall organizational business development process.

When deciding on whether to purchase a business development database, it is important to understand if it will integrate with your current strategy. Your existing infrastructure may be adequate depending on your market size or if you operate in a very niche area where there are a limited number of partnership possibilities. In this situation, you could create your own database manually, offering you the most cost-effective solution. Although as mentioned earlier, this comes at the price of being extremely time-consuming, spending hours searching for data on companies that are generally private entities – with the possibility that the information is inaccurate or outdated. This choice will also force you to continuously update the information regularly, where that time can be better spent on other business activities as your organization grows. In a similar vein, your company may simply not be heavily involved in business development, instead adopting strategies such as nurturing existing relationships with a few high-revenue partners.

It is also of course crucial to understand the disadvantages of a database in your organization. One of these is that it may serve as a crutch for your business development staff, potentially causing a decrease in productivity. An over-reliance can lead to employees solely depending on the database for company updates, neglecting periodically contacting the organization itself, and omitting the nurturing aspect that goes into the continuous development of customer relationships. This is something that can differ depending on your company and its overall business strategy, with there being no one-size-fits-all answer.

Conversely, there are many advantages when it comes to using a database. First is that you have access to high-quality information that is regularly updated, which in turn saves the user a vast amount of time in their business development activities with all the data collated into one place. The implementation of a database can serve to further enhance your organization’s business development process, allowing you to not only find new leads and prospects but also stay informed of your current customers and be notified of any changes to areas such as their asset development, management or licensing deals. Furthermore, instead of retrieving this information manually, you can take advantage of implementing an API into your CRM, like Salesforce. Due to many biotech and pharma organizations casting a wide net when it comes to conducting business development, a database can serve to give you that information advantage against your competitors, while also reducing both time and costs for your existing staff. With profit margins in life sciences on average being higher than other sectors, it only takes a small number of leads for you to see a return on investment.