Pitch Match: A New Way to Collaborate

Editor’s Note: Innovation doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Partnerships and collaborations are required to improve clinical research and, ultimately, develop new medicines. This is the first in our two-part blog series by Lilly’s digital patient recruitment team exploring their pitch match event—a novel process that was implemented to identify, assess and select vendors to partner together with Lilly on developing future programs for clinical trial recruitment.

Collaboration is a pillar of innovation in health care, but finding the right vendor partners is often challenging. It can be difficult to identify a single vendor who excels at all aspects of the various necessary capabilities. That’s why we decided to form a team of best-in-class vendors to partner with us on our clinical trial recruitment programs. 

To prepare for our assessment of vendors, we identified six core capabilities: creative development, outreach, microsite development, referral management, call centers and project management. We then kicked off the process of identifying potential partners by sending out 94 requests for information (RFIs) to vendors across the industry, asking them to outline their interest for the six capabilities. Based on their responses, 74 requests for proposals (RFPs) were sent out. We then shortlisted eight vendors based on their experience, approach and expertise, most of which were contenders for more than one capability.

Pitch Match Flow_1


Bringing multiple vendors together to work on digital patient recruitment programs is a novel concept within the industry. The most important attribute required to make this new way of working successful is the ability of our vendor partners to productively and efficiently collaborate together. So we set out to find a way to make sure that vendors were willing and ready to change how they currently work: Why not bring the vendors to Lilly and assess how they work together in real time and in person?

This is how the idea of a vendor “pitch match” was formed. We invited the final eight vendors to Lilly, split them into three teams and assigned each team the task of delivering one cohesive patient recruitment pitch for a diabetes study. Through this event, we believed we could assess how well the vendors could collaborate to prepare and present their pitch, with each vendor contributing their own capabilities to the presentation. From there, we felt confident that we’d have enough insight to determine the final vendors to invite on as our partners.

Here's a peek at the pitch match rules of the road:


Tune in next week to learn the results of the pitch match and how many vendors were selected to join the team!