Business Bridge Supplier Toolkit

Becoming a Contract-Ready Corporate Supplier

Researched and written for Business Bridge by Strategic Insights Inc. | Thursday, March 14, 2024

There is no bigger goal than landing major corporations as clients. The most commonly cited frustration from suppliers is, “We had the best solution and yet we were not awarded the contract!”

If you can relate to the above example, what could explain these corporate contract award decisions is that large corporations typically have a set of contract-readiness evaluation criteria that go above and beyond the product and service solution offered by the supplier.

This article outlines the most common supplier vetting criteria used by major corporations. This knowledge will help you better evaluate your company’s ability to compete for corporate contracts beyond your offerings and work toward building on your strengths from an organizational and financial readiness standpoint.

Size by revenue relative to contract size

Corporations look at your company’s total revenue relative to the contract size. It is important to keep this in mind when assessing opportunities, or make a case for why your company would not be a risk to the client.

Experience with other large companies or other companies in the same sector

Experience with other corporations of their size or slightly smaller companies operating in the same industry sector is another way that corporations assess a new supplier’s ability to perform on a contract and add value.

Competitiveness of a supplier’s sector

Confirming that the field is not saturated ensures less risk to the buyer that a supplier has underbid the contract. For example, if you are operating in a sector that a buyer likely believes is saturated, proactively address this by explaining why your market niche is not saturated or how your business model allows for narrower margins than your competition.

Reliable delivery and adherence to standards

As a contract-ready B2B supplier, you must demonstrate a proven track record of delivering quality products and services on time. It is critical to provide evidence of a robust supply chain and operational process so clients know your company is consistent and reliable. It is also important to demonstrate your commitment to adhere to cybersecurity and other systems-related requirements that protect the corporation’s data from any threats and breaches.

Competitive pricing

With price a key decision factor for corporations, you must offer competitive pricing. Consistently conduct market research and ensure your prices align with your competitors. Be as transparent as possible about your pricing structure and be willing to negotiate terms to land a long-term contract.

Quality assurance

Adhere to strict and consistent quality control measures to ensure your products and services meet the required specifications for your industry. Prospective buyers may want to see proof of these measures. Having valid certifications and accreditations available demonstrates your commitment to quality. Do what it takes to avoid getting a reputation for cutting corners.

Flexibility and scalability

Contract-ready suppliers must be flexible and adapt to changes quickly and efficiently. Your buyers’ needs can change from one order to the next, so they want to partner with a supplier that can handle these adjustments. You need to have the proper infrastructure to manage increased volumes of orders without compromising the quality of your product or delivery timelines.

Your buyers will also want to know that your company is stable enough to stay afloat if their volume dips during a season. Smaller suppliers are less likely to be able to handle a decrease in volume, so you need to prove to larger clients that you have the stability to handle whatever comes your way.

Strong client support

To create that personal connection, aim to provide the best client service possible. No matter how small your business is, you should have a dedicated account management and client support team that is knowledgeable about the products and services you offer. They should also be readily available to address all questions and concerns client staff may have. Familiarity with corporate payment, invoicing and work order systems such as Coupa, Ariba and Maximo can also be an added advantage in adding to strong client support.

Financial stability

Buyers want to see financial stability from their suppliers, and they’ll take a close look, especially with smaller suppliers, to ensure this stability. To land a major corporation as a client, you need to show them that you have the capacity and financing to fulfill long-term contracts of large quantities while sustaining your operations.

Ethical and sustainable practices

Ethical and sustainable practices are more important than ever before. Buyers want to work with suppliers that are doing their part to lower their environmental impact and engage in ethical labor practices. As a contract-ready supplier, you need to be able to demonstrate your commitment to social responsibility, environmental sustainability and ethical sourcing. Ensure your company follows all relevant environmental and labor regulations and standards, including those that are optional in your area, to make the best impression on buyers.

Strong communication and collaboration skills

Collaborations are relationships. Like any successful relationship, they grow stronger over time when both parties act ethically, fulfill their commitments and respond to the other’s needs. That’s why strong communication is vital for the success of your business relationships. Your contract-ready company should communicate clearly, concisely and consistently and respond to questions in a timely manner. Strong connections with existing clients will keep them around while also impressing potential buyers.

Legal and compliance adherence

Clients need to know that the supplier they choose isn’t adding extra risk to their company. The best way for them to do that is to ensure their supply partner is compliant with all regulatory standards. Buyers want to know that their chosen supplier treats their workers fairly and legally, as well as meets all requirements for insurance coverage.



As a smaller B2B supplier, there are challenges to pursuing contracts with major corporations. If corporate sales are part of your company’s growth strategy, with hard work and determination, you can tailor your company to be exactly what your target buyers need. You can build your company’s revenue structure and financial stability to meet corporate contract-readiness requirements.


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