Dealing with Difficult Vendors

Many companies engage with multiple social media and marketing vendors as part of managing their social media communities. From creative partners (who provide visual content) to technical vendors (who build sweepstakes or social apps), it’s amazing how quickly your vendor roster can grow!

Having a variety of strategic partners can be beneficial and add value; however, this also adds the need for more control. Added expensive and complications result over time if you don’t implement standards or create a qualification program. Also, you can find yourself facing issues that make interactions with your vendors uncomfortable and unsatisfactory.

To help make your vendor relationships more successful, implement these recommended best practices:

  • Evaluate your current roster of vendors: Are there multiple vendors with the same specialty? Are there vendors on the roster you have not used in the past 12 to 24 months? How about those that did not produce satisfactory work? By asking yourself these broad questions, you can easily pare down your list.
  • Develop a governance or qualification program: By incorporating your company’s security rules, brand needs, and legal guidelines (among other things), you can develop a set of standards that all vendors need to meet in order to perform work for your company. You can even incorporate third-party certifications, such as those from Google or Facebook.
  • Incorporate all standards into your legal documents: Word all contracts, statements of work, and other agreements carefully. Make sure you include service level agreements (SLAs), roles and responsibilities, as well as escalation points and key performance indicators (KPIs). When working with a vendor for the first time, include language about a probationary period--often 3 to 6 months. Ensure that your legal department reviews these agreements prior to both parties signing.
  • Set up a review process: Review vendor work each quarter or fiscal year. Ensure they have delivered their work properly, on time, and that it has been effective. Verify they are meeting SLAs and KPIs.
  • Keep it competitive: Encourage competitive pricing and quality work by engaging with more than one vendor.

By letting vendors know upfront what is and is not acceptable, you can have the tough conversations more easily when needed. Vendor failure to meet success measures means you have an objective reason to cease work with them. When you set up this competitive environment, you expect--and get--the best work from the most qualified third parties.

Corbus can set up any of the above processes or services--please contact us today for more information.

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