Last time, I shared my first tip for increasing the efficiency, effectiveness and speed of your supply chain data collection campaigns: Contact the Correct Person.
Returning now to our data collection equation (How difficult is it to provide the requested data? vs. What is the incentive and priority for my suppliers?), we need to put some work into the “what’s the incentive and priority for my suppliers” side of things.
Show respect and motivate people from the start
Remembering that we rely on very busy individuals to help us complete data collection tasks, it may seem that I’m stating the obvious with this week’s tip…
Tip 2: Communicate the why and the how effectively
A clear understanding of what you need from them, and why you need it – as well as how it will benefit them - is key to motivating your busy suppliers to provide the data you need.
To help ensure clear communication of your requirements, it is vital that your request is well formatted, professional, and succinct. If you were sending a message to consumers and expecting engagement you would apply marketing techniques to ensure a successful result, so why not do the same here?
The message should be properly constructed and tested before sending. Even then, let’s not assume we didn’t leave out answers to some obvious questions that might prevent a supplier from completing the task easily and quickly. To capture and deal with any of these, an appropriate and effective support mechanism needs to be in place.
Ideally: Using a qualified marketing copywriter will ensure that your request for data has clear structure, including a compelling request message, an explanation of the benefits of participating and, in the case of email, a well thought out subject line. Your message should be proofed properly and if possible test mailed to a sample audience to monitor performance (number of opens, clicks, questions received, etc.). By the time you have contacted your suppliers, you also need to have put in place a strategy for dealing with FAQs. Pre-empting your suppliers’ queries will help them and also save you valuable time.
Typically: In reality, it is too often the case that messages requesting supplier data are compiled hastily by the department that needs the information. This results in confusing messages without any simple way to get answers to suppliers’ questions or effective means of follow up. The result is a low response.
In my next blog, I move on to the third tip to help you increase the efficiency, effectiveness and speed of your Supply Chain Data Collection Campaigns. This third tip will focus on the other side of the equation: “How difficult is it to provide the requested data?”