I seek as much as I can to mitigate risk.
– Marine Gen. John R. Allen
It’s amazing to me that many sales people, and their executive teams, continue to (for lack of a better word) lie to buyers. It should be no surprise that the phrase “burn victim” is commonplace when describing the mental state of many organizations within a sell cycle.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that this won’t change; therefore, seeking as much insight on suppliers as possible, before engaging them, is a logical step in risk avoidance.
As a preeminent provider of Supplier Lifecycle Management solutions, our customers often tailor their environments to manage supplier risk, supplier performance, supplier compliance, etc. All wise; however, these focus areas are after a supplier has been engaged – and, as we too are a supplier, I’ve been thinking about how organizations can gain insight before contracting with a supplier.
Aside from the basics (e.g., SER score, financials, reference checks, etc.), there has to be more. I’ve written about such topics as how to interpret VC funding, and down rounds, and how certain key figures can provide insight into the confidence investors have, or don’t have – but what about new media channels?
To illustrate, here are some examples (note: partially redacted to ensure anonymity)
What I read: The solution may be difficult to use; The solution may not do what the sales people claim; Their organization may only have 8 customers within 10 years.
What I read: Their organization may be unethical; They may have a high turnover, which can impact performance.
What I read: Their internal systems may be in disarray; They may have a lack of experience within their employee-base; They may have trouble hiring qualified people.
What I read: Management may be dishonest.
What I read: The product may be “buggy”; Their cloud solution may be having production issues; Implementation may be a struggle.
Granted, these examples do not tell the full story – and many of these organizations have positive reviews as well. I’d raise a red flag, however, if 50% of the reviews are as above and 50% are all “the company is perfect”, as those are obvious plants by management/marketing.
Net-net: Alternative sources of information on suppliers, like these, should be considered with appropriate context. But, I also think it is more than fair and reasonable to question suppliers about their publicly available reputation.
And… After selecting the right supplier, our Supplier Lifecycle solutions can help mitigate your risk moving forward.