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Questions to Ask Your Service Providers for 2016

December 21, 2015 | By Cheri Keith

  • The new year provides an opportunity to regroup with service provider and agency partners
  • In your planning meetings, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate new approaches
  • Use these questions to make sure you start the new year off on the right foot

As Oprah always says, “new year, new you.” Right? You might not be personally revamping yourself in 2016, but there are ways that you can improve your organization. One place to start is with the outside service providers and agencies that you use to supplement internal resources and technologies. Even if you’re not considering a switch, there is the opportunity to improve the relationship. Here are three questions to ask your service providers so that you can highlight what you can (and should) get better at in the new year to make sure that you hit the ground running, in sync with your providers:

  • What can we learn from last year? You may be saying to yourself, “But I already have a 2016 plan where we course corrected!” This is a different question – thinking about what you learned through your partnership goes much beyond tactics. Was there important information about workflow or timelines that should be cataloged or considered when the contract comes up for renewal? Or perhaps you learned that your service provider has other services that may be of use to other team members?
  • What are our competitors doing better? Rather than being in reactive mode to respond to something your competitors are already doing, ask about your competitors now so you can plan for what’s next. The information gleaned from the service providers’ answers to this question can be great fodder for discussions with your counterparts in sales, marketing, product and business development.
  • What aren’t we doing that we should at least consider? Service providers and agencies are usually on the cutting edge. As they complete work on behalf of multiple clients, they have insight into trends that it would take the client organization years to see on their own. Even if the latest and greatest trend isn’t right for your company, you should take advantage of the knowledge of your service provider to get smart on new trends and insights.

The new year always opens the door for reflection and fresh thinking about the previous year. Even organizations that aren’t considering switching partners can always find ways to improve their existing relationships, drive better results and find new ways to work together. Use these questions as a way to guide kickoff meetings with your service providers so that you can crush your 2016 goals!

Cheri Keith

Cheri brings more than a decade of marketing experience to SiriusDecisions’ Demand Services team. Her background includes experience serving b-to-b organizations at communications agencies and tenure working within marketing organizations. She is a respected and results-oriented leader with a proven track record of moving people and programs forward. Follow Cheri at Twitter.com/@Cheri29