Vendor Selection & Contracting Deliverables

From a long list of several dozens of solutions to a final contractual agreement with one solution provider is a long way. But the time investment pays off through a maximized chance of the solution to perform as required.

Also, don’t underestimate the learning effect throughout such a project. If the company is given the opportunity to not limit their choices by only looking at the 2-3 most obvious solutions, it will be rewarded with a much deeper understanding of the current opportunities and potential future evolution of the solutions landscape.

Speaking of which: sustainability and innovation potential should be on top of the selection list for a provider. History shows how fast and complete the systems landscape has changed and you don’t want to be stuck with a solution from yesterday in a year.

An end-user driven innovation process, financial stability and vivid networking among actual and potential clients groups like associations and societies is a good indicator that the solution provider is a strong partner to their client base.

 

Final demo

A level playing field and a strong focus on requirements: finalists should be well prepared for their final pitch.

Scripting the final pitch from the customer perspective can be helpful for the vendors but also for the project team to re-focus on the essentials.

A demo script should at least include the following elements:

  • General rules of the demo (timing, format)
  • Functionalities
  • Usability
  • Data, content
  • Technical, security, legal

 

Recommendation brief

Evaluation & analysis looked into use cases, user interface design and satisfying user personae and content needs. The final pitch provided the insights to select the final two candidates now.

Just in case negotiations unravel or a hidden hurdle pops up, it is wise to keep two contenders in the race until the very end after a very intense and expensive project thus far.

You might look into a 3-4 months time span from project initiation until this point and it won’t hurt to keep two solutions active for a little while longer.

The recommendations brief or profile will prepare management to take a well educated final purchase decision.

 

Negotiation strategy

There is a tension between a long term partnership with the solution provider and the economic interest of the company. In many cases none of the project team members is a trained negotiator but there must be plenty in the purchasing group.

This tension can be well managed if ballpark figures were already explored throughout the evaluation phase. The vendor’s price elasticity and willingness to meet their customer’s special needs and contracting preferences would also be better known then at that point.

The aim for the negotiation is to not damage the relationship to the vendor or weaken their economic health but also to achieve a favorable cost/value ratio. Price breaks, rebates for features that are under-utilized throughout the pilot and implementation phase or milestone payments can be part of the construct.

It could be beneficial to evaluate a neutralized contract from the vendor to detect contract clauses that need special attention during the negotiation or find elements that create additional opportunities to bring flexibility and robustness into the contract.

 

Vendor proposal

This deliverable is entirely the vendor’s but it is a stage gate moment and should be well timed for budget and approval sequences.

 

Contract

From first draft to the final signature might be a bulky and time consuming exercise. Ask your legal department and the vendor for their timing expectations based on their experience and use this input for timeline planning.

It can be frustrating for any project to delay implementation and roll-out steps just because legal papers keep flying back and forth. It is better for all parties involved to manage expectations and allow for this sequence to take place in the background while other activities can progress in the meantime.



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