The following checklist is based on
a white paper created by the Performance Improvement Council, a
division of the Naperville, Ill.-based Incentive Marketing
Association; (630) 369-7780; www.incentivemarketing.org
Define Your Needs
What is your firm’s current volume of
business and what are its goals?
What type of business is it?
What is preventing your firm from
achieving the desired results? Have you identified the factors that
are inhibiting performance?
Find the Right
Start the search by getting referrals
from peers who have used performance improvement services (more
commonly known as incentive marketing firms).
Conctact industry organizations such
as the Incentive Marketing Association (630-369-7780; www.incentivemarketing.org) and the Society of
Incentive & Travel Executives (312-321-5148; www.site-intl.org)
and obtain lists of their members.
Ask prospective performance
improvement firms for references; contact clients that have used
them for performance improvement or incentive marketing
Visit selected companies in person.
Meet with the supplier’s key team members, not just a
As they assess your company’s
business needs, ask prospective suppliers what general solutions or
range of solutions they would recommend, and why.
Find out who will be on the program
team and if your company will have any choice in the
Ask what percentage of the supplier’s
services are performed in-house.
Ask what services are outsourced, and
Find out how long the supplier’s
outsourced partnerships have been in place, and how many programs
they have worked on together during that time. What types of
programs were they?
It is generally agreed that the most
foolproof method for validating the capabilities of a performance
improvement provider is to interview several of the firm’s present
or former clients. Among the questions to ask them:
What was the nature of your company’s
marketing or performance improvement challenge?
What was the quality of the expertise
that this supplier provided?
Did the supplier demonstrate an
in-depth knowledge of your particular industry? If yes, how
How well did the supplier listen to
your concerns and understand your needs?
Did the supplier provide an
innovative approach to your business challenge?
Was the supplier fair in all business
practices and pricing?
Did the supplier become a true added
value to your organization’s mission and process?
Was the supplier able to meet the
mutually agreed-upon deadlines?
Did the supplier help you meet your
Do you intend to continue using this
Is the supplier a member of any
industry associations? Do staff members participate in industry
conferences and functions? Have any staff members received
certification from an industry organization?
How does the company educate staff
and stay abreast of industry news and research?
What is the supplier’s tenure in the