SARomics Biostructures is a contract research organization (CRO) that provides structural biology and drug discovery services to the biotech and pharma industries. Looking back and analyzing our experience, the question we want to discuss here is, what makes a successful services company? This was one of the subjects of a discussion we had a couple of weeks ago with Givi Kokaia (Kunskapspartner) and Kajsa Nordström (Digital Scorecard). It was a very fruitful discussion, with Givi and Kajsa providing valuable insights into the company’s digital marketing strategy choice.

In trying to answer the question, a central piece in the puzzle is the analysis of the “journey“ of a potential client. The client’s journey through the so-called “sales funnel” starts with awareness of the vendor’s existence. The most common way of finding the required services is by a general web search or a search on social networks like LinkedIn. The search will bring us to the vendor’s website, where we may get “engaged” - study the site content and even read some blog articles, download a pdf file, watch videos, etc. The idea is that the information will help us evaluate and compare different vendors and, eventually, decide to contact some of them. When we do that, we become “leads” for the target company. During this process, the target company’s task is to differentiate itself from competitors, show its strengths (selling points), and look attractive to help us make the desired choice.

How did we assess SARomics’ strength, the primary selling points? Among the obvious ones is our habit of swift replies to contact requests and fitting projects within realistic timelines. An essential factor also named during the discussions was that starting from the very first contact, our leads meet experienced professionals, not just salespeople. Our extensive professional expertise (the majority have Ph.D. degrees) and many years of experience working with hundreds of structure-based drug discovery projects (with more than 500 disclosable entries contributed to the PDB) have been essential drivers in building our success. This has helped us understand customers’ needs better, create tailored business proposals, and ensure the best quality services. Such broad experience and expertise would be impossible to gather at any single biotech or pharma company, which usually works with a limited number of projects.

Our service quality and our service-minded staff have helped us establish credibility and trust, which often result in longer-lasting relationships with customers, who return to us with new projects time after time. This is an apparent indication of customer satisfaction, an essential component of success. Moreover, our customers often recommend our services to other companies, which generates even more business for us.

All these factors together contribute to building a solid brand identity. The strong brand identity is also reflected by the quality of the projects we handle – the few published often end up in highly-ranked scientific journals like Cell, Nature, PNAS, etc.

Another essential selling point is the variety of experimental methods we offer on our technology platform. Thanks to this, we can handle all aspects of structural biology services at competitive prices. Our offering also includes the proprietary fragment screening technology based on Weak Affinity Chromatography (WAC), owned by us and our in-house partner Red Glead Discovery. This is an example of a “unique selling point”.

Location is also often mentioned as a selling point. Our labs are located at Medicon Village, a vibrant life science cluster just a couple of kilometers from the MAX IV synchrotron, one of the best synchrotrons in the world!

Summarizing the above, we can list our selling points:

  • Swift replies to contact requests and realistic project timelines
  • Strong brand identity
  • High quality services
  • Highly experienced and service-minded professionals
  • A high degree of customer satisfaction
  • Robust technology platform with a wide variety of experimental methods
  • Unique proprietary method for compound screening
  • Excellent location in Medicon Village and proximity to the MAX IV synchrotron

When starting a business, we don’t know much about all the practical aspects required for success. Building a solid brand identity and generating a convincing list of selling points takes time. On our way up, we learn what is essential, what we need to focus on, what to improve, and what main principles and values are required for building a solid brand. An essential factor is always being open-minded – there are many successful examples from which we can learn a lot! If you are reading this post and have a service or a product on the market, it is always worth spending some time defining your selling points.