A quantitative decision matrix for increasing value for both buyers and sellers: THE METHODOLOGY part 3

Step 5: Allow for criteria knowledge gaps among the voting practitioners

During the development of this model it was found that certain voting members felt that they did not have the knowledge or experience to judge or compare the vendors in certain criteria. This was most evident in the criteria of ‘actionability of research/segments’, ‘differentiable, measurable, substantial segments’ and ‘analysis’.

To accommodate this knowledge and experience gap, and to ensure that the vendors were not unfairly rated and affected by it, a zero rating was factored into the equation that calculated the criteria value. In other words, if any voting member felt uncomfortable rating the vendor on any of the criteria, they could enter a score of zero, and it would eliminate that criterion value in the calculation of their total vendor score.

Step 6: Fine tune criteria definitions with all voting members and vendors

In Step 1, the voting members of the project team developed their criteria for measuring potential research vendors.

Furthermore, a common set of definitions was developed for each criterion in order to ensure that a consistent set of clearly defined criteria were applied in the evaluations.

In Step 6 the group released the matrix criteria and definitions to the potential vendors along with the request for proposal. The reason for this was to create a criteria definition refinement process with the vendors to ensure that the vendors and the team members had the same understanding of each definition. This process turned into an iterative approach for refinement whereby time was spent with each vendor to explain the criteria definitions and then refine each of them through constructive discussions. Each set of refinements was then forwarded to all voting members and vendors until a final set of definitions was agreed upon.

This iterative process was valuable in that not only did it enhance the understanding of research and segmentation among the team members, but it also made the vendors feel that they were involved in a credible and fair approach to competing for the project.

Step 7: Obtain buy-in from senior management

The final step in developing a quantitative vendor selection matrix was to obtain ‘buy-in’ on the process from senior management. There were three primary reasons for this step in the process.

One is that it provides the marketing team members with the internal support for the approach to be taken. The second is that it ensures that senior management is aligned with and in approval of the criteria upon which the team members are making a decision or recommendation. The final, and perhaps most important reason is that the disciplined process evidenced by the quantitative vendor selection matrix helps to engender trust by the senior management in the team members’ ability to make quality decisions. This is particularly so on this project which not only carries a certain degree of risk in terms of effectiveness and implementation but also is likely to involve significant human and financial resources.

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