In Part 1 of this brief series, I discussed why companies outsource. Part 2 outlined several common scenarios (in pharma sales training in particular) when outsourcing makes sense.
Here, I’ll give you four things that I look for when deciding on a good “fit” for an outsourced partner. Not surprisingly, these are the critical things I seek when building partnerships for my recommendation service (“matchmaking” clients with optimal vendors).
- Customer focus – every supplier says they practice this. But most commonly, it is seen with 3 traits – listening; flexibility; and exceeding expectations.
- Stable, long-term presence in the field – a good outsource partner has been around long enough to have a track record of success, and to have happy customers who will attest to their expertise and relationship management.
- Unique competencies – often, when I make a recommendation to a customer regarding an optimal supplier, there are several companies that could potentially do the job. But generally one rises to the top because of some unique core strength(s).
- Cultural chemistry – yes, it matters. A lot. This is a very intuitive thing – understanding your corporate culture, and finding suppliers that have a similar culture so that a good “fit” comes more naturally. I have circulated within many pharmaceutical companies over the years and I assure you, there are definitely differing corporate cultures!
By and large, I don’t recommend to my clients that they entrust important projects (especially long-term endeavors) to new and unproven companies. Some suppliers have fabulous technologies or other unique capabilities, but little if any pharma knowledge, and an uncertain track record. It’s dangerous to fall into (what one Training Director I know calls) “Shiny Object Disease,” where something new and “cool” is dangled in front of you and you take the bait without considering carefully whether this is going to be a healthy partnership.
So, to sum up, outsourcing is a valuable and, at times, highly desirable option. But it does have its unique dangers. Impactiviti exists, in part, to help you make those decisions with greater clarity and success.