In my previous post, I wrote about the impact of choosing the wrong DMP. Once we can agree that choosing a Data Management Platform is a critical decision your company will make, we must look at ways to make the best possible choice. And before you can make a good choice, you first have to define what you really need. A good way to do this is to create a job description for your DMP.
We have all seen bad job descriptions in the past. These are the ones that have a long list of requirements for the job that most people will never have. When reading these job descriptions, you think to yourself there is no way that anyone can meet all of the requirements.
I have seen the same in RFPs that I have received. 150 questions that go into great detail. Who is reading the response to all 150 questions from each vendor? Do you really need everything you asked for? And do you need it right now, or in some future if you are successful with earlier stage needs?
Having a long list of requirements in either a job description or RFP dilutes your evaluation by giving you an overload of information. Instead, you should focus on what your real needs are. Your requirements in a job description or questions in your RFP should all be focused and tied to the following questions:
Spending the time to distill your real needs into a few big questions will make sure you maintain focused when it comes to evaluating the various candidates. You won’t get distracted by some cool feature or experience that doesn’t really contribute to your core needs.
Once you have narrowed down your needs, the next step is to define the requirements that a person or application would need to fill your needs. These are the “must-have” skills or features. While it is tempting to have a long list, this section should be focused as well. For a job applicant, it should be no more than 10 items. Any more than this and you are going to have a hard time finding someone who can meet all the criteria. If you are willing to accept someone who doesn’t meet all the criteria, then it wasn’t really a “must have.”
Similarly, for an RFP you should limit the number of questions you ask to ones that will really fit your “must have” requirements. Having too many questions will generate way too much data for you to process and compare against the other vendors. It will also make it harder for you to really get a sense of differences between the vendors and if they really fit your needs. The list of RFP questions should be no more than 50, and getting this down to 25 would be even better. It may require you to be more broad in your questions, and asking open ended questions will help you tackle multiple needs with more efficiency.
The ultimate purpose of a job description or RFP question set should be to give your candidate or vendor enough information about what your needs are to judge if they should even apply for the job. It should also give you a good structure to make a first cut of the candidate based on the resume or response. If they don’t meet your needs at this stage, it is pretty easy to cut them off from the rest of the process and make sure you don’t waste time with people or solutions that aren’t a good fit.
Once you have the job description or RFP published and have collected the responses, it’s time to take the next step: to evaluate your applicants to make sure they can be successful working for you. We will explore the next steps, the interview process, in the next post.
This article was written by Lotame’s Director of Client Solutions, Marc Gluck, and is the second in a series about selecting the right data management platform (see The Impact of Hiring the Wrong DMP here). Connect with Marc on LinkedIn, or check back for his next blog post to learn more about choosing the right DMP.