Supplier Communication 101 - The Black Hole Theory (Tracking the performance of your email)

Why do we email suppliers? It’s certainly not for the fun of it.

If you’re feeling a sense of déjà vu, there’s no need to worry. This is the line which opened the first instalment of the Beat the Chaser blog series. This was followed by my answer:

We email suppliers because we want them to do something.

Every email has a goal – something that you’re trying to achieve as a result of clicking send. And in business, I’m a firm believer that every goal should have measure. How do you measure the success of your supplier communications? My experience working with retailers tells me that this is very much a finger in the air affair. And I believe this is all down to the Black Hole theory.

Don’t let your goal fall into the Black Hole

The Black Hole theory is all about what happens to your email after you click send. Most of the time it disappears into a Black Hole. And by that I mean there is no way of telling what has happened as a result of it – there is no way to measure success.

Let’s say you’re are sending an email to drive a group of 400 own brand suppliers to participate in a supplier scorecard. There is no way of easily knowing which suppliers have acted upon your email. Heck, there is often no way of telling if they have even received it! The result of this is your projects taking much longer and needing many more of your hours to get them done.

Funnel your energy

My solution to this problem is using our ENGAGETM  tool which allows us to track suppliers as they progress through the funnel in real time:

  • Have they received the email?
  • Have they opened the email?
  • Have they completed the action requested within the email?

This level of visibility empowers you to target your energy based upon what a supplier is actually doing (or not doing).

Case study and point

Returning to our own brand supplier scorecard scenario – I have a confession to make. This actually happened. By being aware of the Black Hole theory and ENGAGETM to measure email performance, we managed to complete this retailer’s supplier scorecard seven times faster than the previous year. Not only that we used 90% less resource and increasing supplier participation four times over in the process.

Next week I end the Supplier Communication 101 series with a small piece of advice that may seem more at home on a dating blog. But the power of your personality is just as relevant to supplier communications. 

Tags: Supplier engagement

David Taylor

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