Strategic suppliers show and (don’t just) tell

March 19th, 2015

One of my LinkedIn connections recently shared an article about strategic thinking and what that really means for marketers. It is a great piece, which got me thinking about strategic suppliers. (Check it out by following the link below.)

I often sit through presentations from suppliers that spend a lot of their presentation time telling me how strategic they are. They might even go through their unique strategic process to support this assertion. I thought it might be valuable to share what strategic suppliers do to actually convince me of their strategic value during an initial RFI response:

  • Once they receive the RFI, they do a lot of research before having an initial call to discuss the opportunity
  • They include colleagues with the most relevant experience and let them drive the call
  • They ask really good questions! Because they have done their homework and bring relevant experience to the table, they ask educated and purposeful questions – about the individual clients, personality, experience, expectations, main concerns and goals
  • They use the answers to prepare a targeted response based on what is most important and relevant to the client
  • They include concise and highly relevant case studies to illustrate specifically how they would support a similar successful outcome for your business
  • They pause while presenting to ask more relevant questions and happily dig deeper to provide additional relevant information

When they finish their presentation, they offer additional information as needed: what would make the client confidently engage this supplier? They also ask about potential roadblocks: what would prevent this client from engaging them?

When strategy is important to my clients – which is almost always – I look for suppliers that don’t bother telling me that they are strategic, because they don’t need to.

I welcome your opinion on what differentiates strategic suppliers.

Here’s a link ( to Graham Robertson’s article that inspired this week’s blog.

If you are looking for strategic suppliers, I invite you to join and use our RFI tool to receive credible and relevant supplier recommendations to support your business.


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