Procurement for Chiefs of Staff: Vendor Search

Procurement for Chiefs of Staff: Vendor Search

Procurement for Chiefs of Staff: Vendor Search

Procurement for Chiefs of Staff: Vendor Search
Read time: 

Building on our last article about the requirements gathering phase of the vendor selection process, today we’ll explore how Chiefs of Staff leverage the comprehensive requirements list they built to search for and evaluate potential vendors, ultimately crafting a Request for Proposal (RFP). This process is not just about filling gaps and meeting requirements—it’s about empowering the company to surge ahead with the best tools and partners at its side.

Step 1:  Requirements into Search Criteria

With a prioritized list of needs and goals in hand, our CoS and BizOps professionals begin translating these requirements into specific search criteria for potential vendors. This step is crucial as it sets the parameters for the vendor search, ensuring that only those who can potentially meet the company's needs are considered. This isn't just about what a vendor offers now but their ability to scale, innovate, and partner with the company as it grows.

Convert your requirements list into criteria by grouping like items together, dropping irrelevant requirements, and ranking what matters the most. 

Step 2: Conducting a Targeted Vendor Search

The search for vendors must be informed by the search criteria. Based on the above, CoS and BizOps professionals use a variety of tools and methods to find vendors.

They may consider desk research such as industry reports, public company financial filings, and even competitors’ partnerships to identify who is leading the pack in their respective fields. Review sites such as Trustpilot and G2 can often provide useful data as well as demo automation sites such as Testbox

Additionally, they might solicit recommendations from peers or network at professional conferences to uncover valuable insights and leads.

Step 3: Evaluating Potential Vendors

As potential vendors are identified, plot them on a spreadsheet to see how well they match the set criteria. This is where the cross-functional vantage point of CoS and BizOps becomes invaluable; they can assess how a vendor's capabilities might meet the needs of different departments, from marketing and sales to operations and tech. This holistic view ensures that the vendor can support multiple facets of the business, not just a single function.

Step 4: Crafting the Request for Proposal (RFP)

Once a shortlist of potential vendors is established based on the above, the next critical step is crafting the RFP. This document is far more than a formality; it’s a key tool to elicit detailed, actionable responses from vendors. 

The RFP outlines the company’s requirements, the scope of work, desired outcomes, and criteria for selection. It also asks vendors to provide specific information about their solutions, including case studies, support structures, implementation timelines, and pricing.

Furthermore, an RFP provides a good way to pit vendors against each other, often resulting in faster responses, cheaper prices, and even commitments for extra support or feature development.

Step 5: Distributing the RFP and Managing Responses

The RFP is distributed to the shortlisted vendors, and then the real magic begins. As responses come in, CoS and BizOps professionals manage and assess them, comparing how well each vendor understands and proposes to meet the company's needs. This step often involves follow-up questions, meetings, or demos to clarify details and see the vendors' solutions in action.

Step 6: Narrowing Down the Options

Based on the detailed proposals and interactions, the options are narrowed down to the best fit. This decision-making process is collaborative, involving key stakeholders from the impacted departments to ensure all perspectives are considered. CoS and BizOps lead this discussion, using their comprehensive understanding of the company's goals and the nuances of each proposal to guide the conversation towards agreement on the best vendor.


Throughout this process, CoS and BizOps showcase their unique ability to not only see the big picture across the company but also understand the finer details of what each department needs. This enables them to be both exhaustive and precise, ultimately choosing a partner that aligns with the company’s goals and enhances its operational capabilities.

By translating company needs into an actionable RFP and managing the vendor evaluation process, these professionals do more than procure; they align external resources to the company's long-term vision. Their role is pivotal, ensuring that each new vendor relationship is not merely a transaction, but a partnership fostering growth and innovation.

Chief of Staff Network

Get weekly CoS goodies!

Join 20,000 other strategy and operations professionals to get the weekly OpsJobs newsletter, sharing the latest job opportunities, exclusive events, and other useful resources.