March 08, 2015

It's Here! Hillstrom's Vendor Academy

For the past two weeks, I've talked at length about a process for managing your vendors.

Now, honestly, I didn't think I'd spend this much time on this topic. But after speaking at the VT/NH Marketing Group in February, after hearing so many Executives speak about how difficult it is to get a vendor to listen to them, after receiving numerous calls and emails from CEOs and Executives complaining about their co-op relationship (going so far to ask me to fly with them to visit their co-op in person to help them), something had to be done.

Today, I introduce "Hillstrom's Vendor Academy", a booklet available from Amazon.
FYI, I earn the same $2.00 of profit on each book. This encapsulates everything that is wrong with print (this goes for catalogers, too) ... I create the book, I invest the time, I drive the traffic, and I get 17% of the revenue. I know, I know, there are other publishing choices, stop yelling at me! I want purchasing to be easy for you. Hence, I work with Amazon.

The booklet takes you through what I am now calling the "Vendor Academy". This is a year-long process that holds your vendors accountable for the components of your business that are important to you. There are four components of the Vendor Academy
  1. A Diagnostic Review of Your Business. More on that tomorrow.
  2. Setting of Annual Goals and Objectives.
  3. The Vendor Accountability Summit.
  4. The Vendor Evaluation Dashboard.
Each vendor, yes, each vendor, is evaluated (monthly) against the objectives that are important to you. Each vendor is rank-ordered, best performing to worst performing. As you get into the latter portions of the year, you need to have frank conversations with the vendors at the bottom of the table. If performance does not improve, you need to spend less money with the vendor, bring in a competing vendor, or fire the vendor. It's simple. You need to set a climate of accountability. Yes. You.

When vendors exceed your expectations and find themselves at the top of the table, please lavish them with praise. At the end of the year, graduate vendors in the top 20% of your table to "partner" status - you no longer call these folks vendors, for they do not perform like a vendor, do they? They are a Partner - and will keep the title of Partner until they sink to the bottom of the table in a future year (which hopefully will never happen).

The booklet walks you through the process, from soup to nuts, as folks say.

Buy the booklet - or print off prior blog posts. Either way, I'm asking you to do something to hold your vendor partners accountable ... treating the good ones like Partners ... while relegating Vendors at the bottom of the table.