February 26, 2015

Aligning Objectives via Diagnostics

When I worked at Nordstrom, I held an annual Vendor Accountability Summit. Given that this was in the pre-Google days, the primary attendees were the co-ops, list organizations, printers, paper reps, and database vendors (until we moved our database in-house in 2002).

I received permission to share the profit and loss statement with our vendors. I know, I know, you'll never do that. But imagine if you did do it?! Your vendor partners deserve to know if your business is dying, or if it is thriving. How else can your vendor partners possibly give you optimal support if they have no idea what you need?

At the Vendor Accountability Summit, I would share the profit and loss statement. In the case above, I'm going to show my vendors just how miserable business is.

Next, I'm going to dig into the findings of my Diagnostics project. I'll gladly illustrate that my company is having a hard time selling new items.

If you have a website optimization vendor, don't you think that vendor wants to know that your new item productivity is in collapse? Don't you think they want to help you make new items as productive as possible? These people care, they want to assist you. They cannot assist you when you're not honest with them.

Show your vendors that the twelve-month buyer file is dying.

Show your vendors that to keep the business afloat, you're trying to prop up the business by raising prices.

Show your vendors that customer order frequency is in decline.

Show your vendors that you are promoting the living daylights out of your customer file, trying to keep the file afloat. Tell your vendor partners that there is no more room for promotional strategy.

Show your vendor partners that your business started to die in September 2013, and continued to struggle through October 2014.

Show your vendor that you simply cannot acquire new customers - you have a real, fundamentally business problem here.

Yes, it is time to open the books. Share the plight of your business with your vendor partners. They deserve to have information necessary to grow your business.

In upcoming posts, I'll get back to linking this information to the Partner Dashboard.