Choosing a Database Vendor
By Target Marketing Staff
How to evaluate your current database services supplier—or select a new one
ow do you find the right company to provide all the database services you need—from cleaning and maintaining your current database to building a new one from scratch? You do a comprehensive evaluation of each supplier you are considering.
To create the evaluation and RFP forms included here, we turned to a recent database services survey conducted by Purdue Research and underwritten by KnowledgeBase Marketing. By studying the responses direct marketers gave to survey questions (such as "what do you look for when you choose a database services company?" and "what does a supplier have to do to give you good service quality?"), we were able to construct the evaluation form at right.
"In recent years, the focus of the marketplace has been on technology and tools," John Roberson, senior VP marketing and sales of KnowledgeBase Marketing, says. "We were pleasantly surprised by the number of respondents who were looking for better customer service, accessibility, reliability and other high-touch service qualities from their suppliers." Roberson notes that this kind of information is the epitome of usefulness for a survey: results that help you make smart business decisions.
The same criteria you use to select a new database services supplier will also be helpful for evaluating your current vendor—not a bad idea to do from time to time to make sure you're working with the right partner. This will help you decide whether: (a) you're happy with your current supplier; or (b) it's time to put it out to bid.
"Is my supplier doing all it can to offer excellent service? Is my account team accessible? Will they be able to accommodate my future needs?" are among the questions Roberson suggests you ask.
Once you've evaluated a number of firms' capabilities, the next step is to submit a request for proposal (RFP) to each firm you're interested in, Roberson says. At right is a basic RFP form to get you started.