Avoid supplier switch-up

August 13th, 2015

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Supplier turnover is a reality in our business. When clients invest so much in supplier relationships, why would they switch partners? It’s a difficult and time-consuming process! Here are a few reasons our Matchbook team has been hearing from clients:

1) The people I hired have moved on to other suppliers, and I’m just not as confident with my new team.

2) My supplier just doesn’t listen. I feel like I am constantly repeating myself and never get what I ask for.

3) I negotiated great hourly rates but seven people have to be involved in the process, which has increased the cost significantly.

4) The quality of the work just isn’t there.

5) I need a partner that thinks strategically about our business.

6) I hired a senior team, but my account was quickly passed down to entry-level account people.

7) I inherited a supplier and I’m not comfortable with them.

Sound familiar? The time and cost associated with changing suppliers is significant. So what can clients do to avoid it? Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Set clear goals and non-negotiable criteria. Make sure you involve your team in this process.
  • Cast your net wide to capture a lot of strong supplier options. Reach beyond those you know. tealbook’s VET – Validation Expertise Tool – can quickly identify strong recommendations based on your specific needs.
  • Choose a partner that understands your business and objectives. Focus on relevant experience and how an agency meets your critical criteria.
  • Invite a select few to present their high-level thinking and recommendations. This will give you a good sense of the agency and key players without demanding an early investment from either side.

Our sourcing and procurement team works with clients and selected suppliers to establish clear expectations and measurements against established goals. This working session is done before the kick-off meeting, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Our procurement team approaches pricing negotiation as a partnership, because suppliers need to generate revenue to grow their business and retain talent, while clients need to get the best value for their budget. We also facilitate regular check-in meetings (3, 6, 12 months) to address potential issues quickly and make sure expectations are being met.

Your supplier partnerships can lead to great success! As in any other relationship, choose wisely, communicate clearly, be open and honest and give it some attention. A little work goes a long way.

Steph (slapierre@tealbook.com)

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