If you are a business services firm and you want to get off the feast-or-famine treadmill, preferred vendor status with big companies is the best way to avoid one-off assignments.
Winning preferred vendor status requires access to stakeholders across all lines of business. Large companies seldom award this type of contract until all stakeholders around the decision are aligned.
Trusting a “champion” inside the firm to sell your story rather than doing the spadework yourself can lead to unexpected potholes.
Third-party stakeholders such as user groups, suppliers or subject matter experts in unlikely places have a great deal of influence with the executive signing the cheque. Senior leaders understand the risk from these quarters during project roll-out. If the implementation team isn’t involved in the early stages of the decision, internal resistance can undermine your solution.
Having learned the hard way, I start with the most senior executive, trickling down the through referrals to the team leads the executive provides. Therefore, each new access point is based upon permission and is more likely to be receptive.
We shorten development time by negotiating a preferred vendor agreement at the same time as the first project contract is being signed.
Once the first assignment is secured and a company-wide vendor agreement is in place, an investment in multiple points of entry begins to pay off. Smaller companies cannot afford long sales cycles.
Once your firm has been awarded an assignment by one business unit, you can go back and brag about it to the others who may be taking a “wait and see” attitude.