Despite the straightforward question, comparing services objectively can be very complex, as they cover a wide range of specifics, often requiring specialized knowledge. Luckily, there are several best practices to follow.
Earlier, Yuriy wrote about vendor consolidation and advantages. This post focuses on the steps that a company may take to adopt single SMS source and achieve competitive edge via one SMS provider. Taking it further here are some things to consider in the decision making process.
- Define the correct SMS service you need, together with your potential partner. Be clear about the quantitative values or measurements of the services needed to keep your business up and running across all geographical markets, and within all of the products you own.
- Meet with your potential partner to ask questions and outline the services required. Meet them again after the decision has been made to make sure both of you are ready to work together. Meet regularly once the service is running to address all potential questions promptly and effectively. It is best practice to have a business review with your partners at a minimum every fiscal quarter, whether it be for 15 minutes to say, “everything is good,” or an hour to address issues, but more importantly, share the direction of your company.
- Involve your team and all stakeholders early in the process. A lack of initial communication is almost guaranteed to happen, especially if it is the first time coming up with the evaluation criteria for a particular service. Hence, communicate as often as needed to fully understand specifications and to avoid the incumbent curse. In addition, be sure to fully understand your company’s purchasing process.
- Carry out multiple tests and fully evaluate the partners before making a decision or making any fundamental changes. Make sure that there is a realized difference in products or partners and it is not work of coincidence.
- Do not rely on the price alone. Ask your potential partners a set of relevant questions related to your SMS needs, evaluate the technical documentation and development process, run preliminary tests, ask for support and market intelligence, ask for references, and dig deeper until you feel confident about your decision.
- Do not underestimate the importance of great support. Businesses are aware that they will become more dependant when consolidating to a single supplier, which also encourages long-term investments from the partner. Any failure in maintaining the relationship will create a negative impact on the service’s performance, and therefore, timely feedback of any problems from either a side is important.
There will always be pros and cons in choosing a single SMS provider, but undoubtedly, single sourcing has changed the character of the traditional services relationship model. While it is important to ensure great relationships and communication between you and your SMS partner, things like market intelligence, on demand support, global market coverage within an appropriate cost range, quality, and deliverability are equally important.
After all, it is never too early, or too late, to start new partner relationships.