Now I am always a proponent of review and change when needed, but too often I am asked about change, especially a change in a vendor, but what I find is the change is happening for change sake, or even worse, done by “gut” feel instead of data driven decisions.
Change can be very liberating. Change can get one out of a poor situation into a new, better, more beneficial one. But too often change in vendors happen just because, “Well we have to. It is the end of the year”.
So let’s address, why should you change vendors you are working with? First quick reaction would be because you feel you are not getting the results you desire. But wait, first you need to understand what results were expected, what results were delivered? Was it the vendor’s lack of execution or internal execution that failed?
A client of mine put it best when we were recently reviewing results. He said, “Some times it is easier to blame the outside versus the inside.”
Here are a 10 questions to ask before making a change in vendors.
- Why exactly are you changing?
- What results was the vendor supposed to deliver?
- What results were delivered?
- Do you have a start up form for this vendor with exactly what they promised they would do / deliver?
- Did you discuss with them how to measure what they are doing?
- Have you discussed this before or is this a new problem you are addressing?
- Who will the new vendor be and what are they specifically claiming they can do differently than your current vendor? **
- What other aspects of your business does this change affect? (do you lose relevancy with Google for advertising accounts or a new website?)
- Have you reviewed your internal process that this vendor affected to see if your own execution was perfect?
- Are you basing the decision just on price?
** Make sure you compare both vendors correctly. “Apples to Apples”. Many times claims of similar results for less money many times result in less than desirable results and buyers remorse.
One of the most important things you can take away from these questions is the need for specific, measurable data. Without it, you are guessing or possibly using feedback from your team that may not be a reality.
Once you have that data, then it becomes a process check both for your vendor and your team. You need to make sure that any team that impacts results is held accountable. For instance, if your marketing team is supposed to increase calls for your sales team, but sales are low, was it a lack of calls delivered or a lack of execution of the sales process once the calls were received.
Ask both sides and they may be pointing fingers at each other but data will tell you
If calls increased, well then the vendor did their job. If not, then they didn’t. Pretty simple but if the calls did increase are you monitoring the progress of what your team did with the calls or just letting them tell you it is the vendor who is failing.
As I mentioned earlier, change is fantastic. If you do not inspect and make adjustments with your business, then you will end up losing market share. Changing vendors should not be something you take lightly. You should be looking for long term partnerships, not jumping from place to place to save a few dollars up front, yet losing thousands over time.
Remember change must be driven by data, not a date on the calendar.