3 steps to make time with prospective vendors more productive

If you’re a corporate practitioner you probably get upwards of 3 calls and 10 emails a day from prospective vendors soliciting their services or products.

It’s important to keep a pipeline of innovative partners, but how do you appropriately consider them without making it your full time job?

Here are three practical steps that can make you and your team more effective in this regard.

First, define your top 3 priorities both for the next 6 months and the year ahead. Use this as the lens by which you assess potential vendors for relevance. You can relax this requirement once or twice during the year to inspire your team’s thinking.

Second, for vendors that appear relevant based on the first step, ask them to share how their offering links to helping you gain on these priorities or solve problems in the way. Never just ask them to come in and give you a pitch. Demand they demonstrate their link to creating value.

Third, set aside a half day every other month to allow prospective vendors to share how their solutions will help you gain on your top goals and solve your top problems.

This helps you stay focused on what’s important and ensures the perspectives you gain are aligned with value creation. Even if you never decide to work together, you’ll be strengthened with fresh perspective.