Make a Vendor List
Start off by making a list of vendors with whom you’ve already had relations. Ten vendors would be a good number to start with. Add to those recommendations from other franchisors and any other reputable vendors that handle clients in your industry, both locally and nationally. Local vendors may be convenient, but you’ll want to make sure they have the capacity to handle effective nationwide marketing. Finally, you should do some research online to learn about any new innovative vendors. Technology is always evolving and you want to distribute the latest and greatest products.
Local vendors may be convenient, but you will want to ensure they have the capacity to handle nationwide marketing
Once you’ve identified an initial list, try and get as much information as possible about each of the vendors. Request direct information, check their website and other online resources, ask for feedback from industry connections, and if individual franchisees that have already worked with the vendor. Your main goal is to confirm whether the vendor’s offerings will help you accomplish your objective. This is your first impression of the vendor so be sure to learn about their communication, responsiveness, adaptiveness, as well as their interest in your franchise brand.
Refine your list
After some experience with vendors, you should consider refining your vendor list based on vendors not responding. Reviewing the information by those who respond will no doubt make it clear that some companies simply are not a good fit. Either the details of the services offered do not match your objective, they are not responsive, they are not innovative, they are too expensive, or they simply don’t connect with your brand. If you can get your refined list down to 2-4 vendors you will be content.
Meet and Demo
For the vendors on your final list, you’ll want to dive right in and learn about every intricacy of what they can offer your franchise. Both you and your vendors should have the intention to build a long-term partnership that is mutually beneficial. You should understand not just what the vendor offers, but what exactly they’d offer your franchise system and how it would help accomplish your objective (never lose sight of your initial reason for exploring marketing vendors). Here are some questions you may want to ask:
- What are the two greatest strengths/differentiators your company has?
- What are the unique benefits your company can offer us?
- What quantifiable results have you achieved for other franchises?
- How will we measure the success of your efforts?
- How will this work for individual franchisees? How can we optimize franchisee adoption/compliance?
- How does this work with my existing efforts and systems?
- What is a projected timeline of results we should expect to see once we start working together?
- What franchise experience do you have?
- What experience do you have in my particular industry?
- Who would be our key account representative and what is his/her commitment to our account?
For vendors to provide the best answer, it is essential that you also share your objectives, challenges, ideas, and concerns. This is the stage where trust needs to be built to establish and develop a possible long-term relationship.
Make Your Final Vendor Selection
Now’s the time to make the final choice between vendors. The goal would be to achieve a long-standing arrangement. At the very least you should commit to one vendor. In today’s fast-moving world, standing still means taking a step back as competitors won’t be waiting for you. After going through this process, you should be confident you’re making the right choice and on your way to accomplishing your franchise marketing objectives.