IT Staffing Approved Vendor Lists: 4 Things to Remember

How to Get on an Approved Vendor List

If you work for an IT staffing firm, put yourself, for just a moment, in the shoes of your target clients.

You have staffing needs, and you needed the talent yesterday — before your competitors snapped them up in the high demand market that dominates the tech scene. The job ads you’ve put out there draw in hundreds of unsolicited calls from staffing firms and recruiters, all with the same sales pitch, quotas, and fees. It’s enough to make you silence your phone and ignore the inbox for a day or two and until things cool off and you can get your recruiting game in gear.

Cue the IT Staffing Approved Vendor List. Suddenly the burden of the research and vetting process is lifted. Terms and conditions are pre-negotiated, discounted fees and payment terms are already agreed upon, and dedicated account managers are established.

Approved vendor lists may seem like a headache to the IT staffing firm that has yet to get their foot in the door with their target companies. But a mile in the other man’s shoes, so to speak, should make it clear why they exist in the first place.

So with that said, how should an IT staffing firm go about getting on the list?

What’s Your Differentiator?

Let’s be honest. The staffing scene is pretty saturated. There are thousands of recruiters out there zeroing in on the same top professionals and the same growing companies. It’s simply not enough to say you’re the best, that you have more experience, or that you have the right connections. That’s what everyone is saying.

So what’s your real value proposition? What really makes your IT staffing firm different or better than your competitors?

Not sure where to start? Take some time to do a real value inventory. Talk to your repeat clients and get the real answer as to why they keep coming back. Ask why they chose you in the first place. For the business you’ve lost, get honest and try to understand the real reasons those clients chose to take their business elsewhere.

Once you have an answer you’re proud of and passionate about, you have to be able to communicate it and prove it. Messaging is important. If your foot in the door to a target client starts with an RFP/RFI, spend some serious time on the content of your answers. Don’t mimic your competition. Let your messaging stand out and truly express your differentiation.

Know Your Target Market

As we’ve established, the IT staffing market is crowded. But that doesn’t mean you can’t own your expertise. We know how tempting it is to try and branch out to exaggerate your firm’s capabilities. A stray finance placement, industrial client, or healthcare connection shouldn’t shift your focus or expand your niche. Be true to your skills and deepen your expertise to get a laser focus on one area.

Doing this is the only real way to know your target market. When you’re focused on your true capabilities, you inherently know exactly what your target clients need. You know their pains, their challenges, and their threats. Which means you are positioned to help them succeed. Selling yourself as anything else will spread your efforts thin and quickly rule you out of the running to get on the IT staffing approved vendor list.

How Does Your Culture Tie into Your Performance?

There’s a lot of buzz in the business world about hiring for culture fit in addition to – or even instead of – technical matchmaking. There’s valuable insight in that conversation, and it’s true that most companies require a careful balance of both cultural and technical fit in a successful candidate.

But here’s the interesting part: the culture within your own company is also a valuable differentiator as a vendor. Culture is what sets you apart from just another IT staffing firm. And you can make it show through your RFP/RFI responses. After all, companies are built on people. And the more your people are invested in your company, your workplace, and your mission, the higher their performance. And clearly, the higher their performance, the more valuable they’ll be to your clients.

Do You Have Relationship Potential?

Ultimately, getting on an IT staffing approved vendor list depends upon credibility and relationship potential. It’s doesn’t depend on being a giant in the industry, on having all the connections, or on having a brand everyone recognizes. What’s going to convince decision makers to award you a spot on the preferred vendor list is the relationship you have with your contact or contacts.

Maybe your company is small and local. Maybe you’re a one-man shop. Maybe you have a remote workforce of recruiters. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a boutique IT staffing firm or a national, multi-office organization, you need to prove your credibility by building key relationships. Prove that potential, and you’ll get your foot in the door all the faster.

Of course, getting on the preferred staffing vendor list and finding out who to talk to in the first place are two different things. If you need a hand making the connections, we’ve got you covered. DiscoverOrg’s IT datasets for sales and marketing have all the info you need to help you get your foot in the door. Just let us know what you need, and we’ll make it work for you.

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Steven is responsible for Enterprise Sales at DiscoverOrg. Steve has grown with DiscoverOrg with positions in Research, more