29 year partnership helps F500 pharmaceutical company stay ahead of the competition

Client Profile

Large multinational medical device and pharmaceutical leader that specializes in nutrition, diagnostics, medical devices, and branded generic pharmaceuticals. Read more

CASE STUDY: Reaching key opinion leaders faster by leveraging an international secondary research team


The marketing department for a medical device company needed help finding as many key opinion leaders (KOLs) as possible from across three countries to champion the company’s products. The KOLs were needed for regional sales and marketing teams to maximize sales quickly.

The challenge in this case was that the company had no support and a limited budget to identify and locate these KOLs. Moreover, patent protection time constraints and annual sales targets placed a great deal of pressure on the sales teams to successfully sell as quickly as possible. Finally, the information needed to find these KOLs across three different countries was in different languages. Given the budgetary and time constraints of this company, the client needed to choose a vendor with an alternative approach.

Analysis of Alternatives

Ideally, an international directory of highly influential doctors, organized by disease area or specialization, would be used to contact KOLs. However, the standard approach is to simply have a marketing agency track down each KOL and organize an interview for approximately $250 per contact.

When budget is a concern, a company can elect to have its own regional teams generate these leads themselves. However, this is burdensome and creates an extremely high opportunity cost since it forces employees to put their own tasks and goals on hold, creating a work backlog.

Given the budgetary and time constraints of this company, the client needed to choose a vendor with an alternative approach. The company came to BURG Translations to perform secondary research and find KOLs without incurring high costs.

Recommended Solutions

BURG Translations realized that since the purpose of finding KOLs was to sell to them, the net for finding KOLs should be cast wide rather than narrow. To maximize cost-effectiveness, two approaches were used to find KOLs:

1. Search through relevant conference programs.

  • The client provided names of conferences, as well as reference materials they had on relevant conferences.
  • The conference programs were procured, translated and sent to the client. Machine translation was used to help the client understand what was relevant. Human translation was then used for relevant information.
  • The client selected the appropriate KOLs in order to minimize budget impact. The KOL contact information was then researched and delivered.

2. Assign a separate team to simultaneously locate relevant research articles.

  • To reduce time spent on research, the client provided key terms to find relevant journal articles and a separate team simultaneously located these articles.
  • The research team procured journal information and titles, machine translated abstracts and sent them to the client. Human translation was then used for relevant articles.
  • The client selected KOLs in order to minimize budget impact, and the research team delivered KOL contact information. With BURG Translations focused on all lead generation activities, the client’s regional teams were free to stay focused on their own goals and tasks. Furthermore, in an effort to minimize budget impact, BURG Translations offered its services at an hourly rate rather than per KOL, resulting in a much lower cost/KOL contact rate.


The client provided BURG Translations with a list of conferences, programs, and keywords needed to find relevant journal publications. Using these data, BURG Translations identified documents and resources that would aid in selecting KOLs. Researchers delivered the translated documents as they were completed to minimize turnaround time.

Journal article titles and abstracts were machine translated and passed to the client for selection. The client then selected which journal articles and which conference topics were relevant. This is where the client had the most control over the cost of the project – the more articles and KOLs that were selected, the more time would be required to find the information. To manage the budget, BURG Translations researchers spent no more than 10 minutes per contact to retrieve three types of information:

  • Work address
  • Work email
  • Work telephone number

After the information was delivered, per BURG Translations’ standard operating procedures, the language service provider remained available on call in case the client requested additional guidance, clarification, and/or other services.


In just seven days, BURG Translations helped the client glean contact information for more than 100 KOLs, at an average price of less than $30 per contact. Specifically, the team delivered a database of 3,442 physicians including work location and proof of relevance. Of those, 167 were identified as KOLs with the remaining identified as sales-relevant sales prospects. We also delivered 289 relevant articles including author email and/or telephone number. This allowed the regional sales team to get an early start on scheduling appointments with KOLs, which is usually a very time-consuming task. The company was able to deliver KOLs to its sales team quickly and at a fraction of the usual cost ($30/KOL compared to the typical $600/KOL). Also, finding the KOLs accelerated the client’s ability to sell to other clients by four months.

Industry Application
Moving forward, the application to similar clients across industries is far-reaching. Essentially, BURG Translations has developed a new way of identifying KOLs for our clients at a mere fraction of the usual cost (BURG Translation cost is $30/KOL, while the industry standard is $600/KOL). Internally, it is important to note that some translators did not work as quickly or efficiently as others. In an eager move to offer a new service, translators often times still charged the same rate, but of course the quantity of output was different. More efficient translators needed to pick up where other translators fell behind. Since the deliveries were rolling, the delay was not noticed by the client. The use of spreadsheets to scope the tasks for the translators helped this process run smoothly.

About BURG Translations

Since 1936, Chicago-based BURG Translations has been dedicated to providing superior technical translation services across multiple global industries. As a privately owned corporation now in its second generation of ownership, the company offers a wide variety of language services to Fortune 500 clients ranging from prestigious medical journals, legal firms and leaders in biotech and manufacturing to new tech startups, universities, healthcare groups and life science organizations.
With more than 80 years of experience as a language service provider, BURG Translations has the expertise to integrate into your workflow, resulting in proven quality, lower costs, and reduced project turnaround times. The Client Managers serve as your sole point of contact and aid in finding key information in foreign languages faster by conducting online research on your behalf. Tight deadlines require you to work quickly to maximize your success, but the fact that key information is often found in foreign languages can slow down your workflow. We work as an extension of your team, identifying key information from a variety of online sources such as region-specific web searches, online files, country-specific search engines, key contact information and online databases.

More information is available at https://www.burgtranslations.com or by calling (800) 959-BURG.best-practices-for-translation-and-desktop-publishing