Welcome to the latest segment of RSG's "Real Story Vendor Procurement" (RSVP) best practice series. At this point in the process you should be ready to create a targeted "shortlist" of plausible vendors.
Initially, you want to look at as many potential suppliers as possible to give yourself the best odds of finding an optimal solution. The ideal way to do this is to use RSG's custom shortlist builder service. Put in your responses to the queries and give as broad a set of answers as possible. The tool will generate a custom report for you. You can then filter and review the vendors in the report in more detail.
Pay special attention to strategic considerations: product, vendor, and ecosystem intangibles. During this process, some of these vendors are going to fall off your list, but you should also navigate to the competitors that we identify for each vendor and some of those in turn may get added to your list.
As always you'll want to supplement with research, e.g., consult with your peer group about their experiences and check references. Ultimately, you want to narrow your way down to a short list of recipients for an RFP.
Don't be too literal about "short." We find that anywhere from one third of the vendors who receive an RFP are actually going to respond to it. So if you have six on your short list, it's possible that you'll only receive proposals from two to four.
In the end, there's no magic number to how many vendors should be on your target list. Just don't leave any stones unturned. We're often surprised at which vendor ends up being the right fit for a customer and you may be too. If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to contact us.
If you're selecting digital marketing / engagement technology, be sure to check out RSG's hard-hitting vendor evaluation research.
The next part of the RSVP selection series covers Communicating with Suppliers Stay tuned...
Other Posts in the RSVP Selection Series
Establish Business Foundations
Identify Needs and Opportunities:
Conduct Market Analysis:
- Researching the Marketplace
- Creating a Target List (you are here)
Communicate with Suppliers:
- Developing your RFP (coming next week)
- Issuing an RFP Tender (coming later)
- Bidder Questions (coming later)
- Evaluating Vendor Proposals (coming later)
Try Before You Buy:
- Conducting Demos (coming later)
- Filter to Final Lists (coming later)
- Run of Competitive Proof of Concepts (coming later)
Make the Right Choice
- Pilot Solution (coming later)
- Negotiating Pricing and Contracts (coming later)
- Implementation (coming later)