Much has been made regarding the expanding role of the Strategic Sourcing Group in the selection and or negotiations with Marketing Service vendors and the strain it places on both the process and the relationships between the Marketing Team and their resources. This scenario can easily be avoided if Marketing and Strategic Sourcing work collaboratively.
The following tips will enhance the level of cooperation and increase the chances for a successful process:
- Both the Marketing Team and their vendors must recognize and respect the Strategic Sourcing Group and their assigned role in helping the enterprise manage their sourcing initiative.
- All parties (including the vendors) must move beyond the notion regarding the “uniqueness” of Marketing Services and the fact that because these relationships often create intangibles that cannot easily be valued, they should somehow be exempt from the procurement process.
- Clearly define roles, responsibilities, timelines and desired outcomes and communicate these to everyone involved in the process.
- If you do not have Marketing Services subject matter expertise on your Team, consider the use of an outside procurement consultant or independent contractor with experience in this area to assist your group.
- Provide a clear process overview to the Marketing Team and their resources prior to the onset of the review and or negotiation activities:
- Desired Outcomes
- Scoring/ Valuation Criteria
- Roles & Responsibilities
- Establish compensation methodology guidelines upfront (i.e. value based, project based, fee based, etc…) and the benchmarks that will be used to assist in setting compensation levels.
- Lead the contract and compensation negotiation process, relying on the Marketing Team for feedback and insight into the impact of the negotiation outcomes on their deliverables.
- Work diligently to ensure that there is a level playing field for all participants.
- Remember, you have been charged with managing your organization’s Marketing Service vendor network. As such you should work diligently to support the efforts of your partners in Strategic Sourcing throughout the entire process… whether you lobbied for their involvement in the process or not.
- Clearly communicate your expectations of the process:
- Desired Outcomes
- Capabilities/ resources required of the vendor or prospective vendor
- Clear and concise scope of services
- Method and criteria that you will employ for evaluating the performance of the vendor
- Quantify the potential risks/ costs to the organization in the event that a change in vendors occurs and the impact on the roles and responsibilities of the other firms in your Marketing Services network.