New website project on the horizon? Looking for a new printer or designer? A PR firm? Copywriter? CRM consultant?
Whether you have a rolodex full of contacts or you’re beginning a totally new project in the dark, finding the right vendor for the job is a project in itself. You need to find the best person/company for the project, but when the process starts taking too much time, it’s too easy to just throw up your hands and potentially hire the wrong team.
If your company needs to find a good marketing vendor, here’s a process to help you identify & analyze them efficiently and effectively.
I’m going to split this post over two days – first, here are tips for creating a list of qualified companies. Tomorrow I’ll write about RFPs, comparing apples to oranges, and making the final selection.
1. Know what you need. If possible, determine what you’re looking for before you start your search. You may want to set an initial budget, then develop a timeline for your search, especially if you have important dates to hit. You don’t want to run out of time and make a selection before you’ve finished your evaluation.
2. Identify your prospects. Don’t know a slew of people or companies already? Here are a lot of ideas for developing your list of potential vendors. Make sure you have enough to talk with – if you want 3 bids, you may need to review 10-20 (or more) companies.
3. Think carefully about your key success criteria. You don’t want to spend an hour talking with 20 people or companies. Instead, the first call is about pre-qualifying. What do you absolutely need for the project?
Make a short list of pre-qualifying questions that will give you a good flavor for the vendor’s experience and ability to handle your project.
4. Make your first cut. You may find a lot of your initial answers on those companies’ websites. If not, spend 10 minutes on an initial intro call. Explain the scope of the project, asking the same 3-4 pre-qualifying questions. Your goal is to narrow down to a manageable list of companies that deserve more time & energy.
From this point it’s time to evaluate in more detail – I’ll post my thoughts on that topic tomorrow! If you have any questions or issues you’d like me to address, please post a comment below.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR YOUR MARKETING PROJECT