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April 12, 2021

How to Run an Effective Vendor Evaluation, Part 3: Thorough Documentation

Stephanie Gerst

Check out parts 1 and 2 of this series, Identify Your Key Stakeholders and Define Your Results.

Once you have started the vendor evaluation, appropriate documentation keeps the process on track. While this may sound simple, the large volume of information you’ll be collecting can make it difficult to keep track of your priorities along the way.

Throughout the evaluation process, it is important to ensure that all of your team's documentation is organized in a centralized place. V2 has found success with a customizable suite of reusable templates developed to make evaluations more efficient - from initial vendor outreach to presenting a recommendation. If you do not have access to standardized forms, identifying and preparing documents before an evaluation period will save time and reduce the effort once the journey has begun. 

  • Consider creating form letters for communications with vendors and stakeholders at the various phases of an evaluation including introductions, invitations, and dismissals. 

  • Build a matrix of requirements from your initial stakeholder discussions to highlight priorities and measure vendor performance against.

  • Issue scorecards and evaluation forms/surveys to your stakeholders in order to standardize feedback and make the aggregation process easier as you collect data for a final decision.

  • Determine the format of your final recommendation document so that you can incorporate information from each phase of the evaluation as it becomes available.

As much as possible, limit the amount of administrative overhead that will need to occur during the evaluation by preparing your resources beforehand. That way, once you’ve started the journey, you’ll be able to focus on the results, not the logistics. 

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While there is no accounting for every scenario, by taking these steps to properly prepare for a vendor evaluation, you can set your organization up for success in selecting a vendor that is the best fit for you and your stakeholders.

Your vendor evaluation may hit unexpected hurdles, but you can take steps to reduce their impact:

  • Identify your stakeholders and their priorities early to mitigate potential conflict and politicking later in the evaluation. 

  • Structure your evaluation and define vendor qualifications to proceed to the next stage to allow you to quickly zero in on the most important factors for determining the right fit. 

  • Prepare your communication and output formats in advance to streamline the entire process, make coming to a decision that much easier, and allow you to capture all of the necessary data points to support that decision.

Of course, your time is valuable and internal teams don’t always have the bandwidth to lead their own vendor evaluations. Sometimes the first step in undertaking a vendor evaluation is to call upon those with the expertise to make sure the process runs smoothly. V2 has a proven track record of effectively managing vendor evaluations for clients and can help alleviate the months of preparation that these evaluations often take. 

Contact Us today to discuss how the expert team at V2 can help your team make the right vendor choice!

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Stephanie Gerst

Stephanie Gerst

Stephanie Gerst began her career at V2 Strategic Advisors in 2014 as a Senior Consultant and is currently the Director of Sales Engineering & Operations. Originally from Ohio, this New York City transplant converted her creative writing major into a decade-long career leading projects to build “worlds” of functionality in Salesforce and related systems for clients ranging from Silicon Alley startups launching a new CRM to Fortune 500 companies seeking to revitalize overgrown environments. When not dreaming up new SAAS solutions, you can usually find her collecting countries in her quest to visit the seven continents or tearing up the tennis courts around Manhattan.