Mutual Trust and Respect are the Building Blocks of Effective Vendor Management
As we move into digital-first work life, chances are you will need to manage multiple technology vendors. No matter what industry you’re in, working with external vendors, suppliers or contractors is imperative to the success of your business. Managing these relationships effectively can play a big role in achieving your company’s goals and proving your worth in your organization.
Vendor management is ultimately about working with people to achieve a goal. If managed well, the relationship can develop into growing more business. Conversely, poorly managed vendor relationships often result in inadequate service, costly setbacks, and your job, the worst-case scenario.
Mutual trust and respect are the building blocks of any good relationship. The same applies to effective vendor management, especially when digital transformation is involved. In simple terms, developing healthy relationships with vendors is no different from building a personal relationship in your work or personal life. You ensure a mutually beneficial partnership by cultivating a solid foundation of trust and respect with your vendors.
5 Tips on How to Manage Technology Vendors Effectively
1. Do Your Homework Upfront
No one wants to do more work than is absolutely required of them. Well, maybe, except for that kid who always sat in the front row and requested extra homework for the weekend. Fast forward 20 years, and no doubt that same kid has “is this worth my time?” on their mind. This brings me to my first point; do your research and contact the right partners. Vendors can interpret you reaching out to them in several ways, even if you are not trying to sell something. The best way to get what you want from a vendor is to do your research upfront. Partner with the right partner. carefully evaluate potential vendors to ensure that their work meets your expectations. Make sure you are offering them value and vice versa. Don’t waste anyone’s time.
2. Have Long Term Goals
It is obvious long-term partnerships hold more advantages than one-time transactions. Finding a reliable vendor and a contact within that organization that you feel comfortable with is optimal for both parties. Think of the costly time you can save if you need similar responses. Plus, you’re likely to receive better follow-up service if the supplier knows it can count on you for additional business. Try to make authentic connections. It always helps to understand a vendor’s business needs and how you can help. Call upon the simple values we learned in kindergarten. Be respectful, understanding, and considerate. And a little personality never hurts.
3. Set Clear Expectations
Establish clear expectations upfront. Lay out the scope of work to be performed, the process, timelines, how the parties will communicate moving forward, how decisions will be made, etc. Put yourself in the mind frame of the vendor. Provide concise detail of each piece of information they may require that will facilitate a successful outcome, ultimately leading to a successful partnership. Although phone calls can produce quicker responses, be sure to follow up. Always put information in writing, so there is no confusion or misunderstanding. Organize your emails so that they are clear, organized, and easy to reference.
4. Communication Is Key
When vendors are waiting to hear back about a potential deal or feedback from a client, there is no such thing as too much communication. Projects can last for weeks or months. I find it helpful to set up a schedule for regular updates. If you set the example of keeping your partner in the loop, you gain the advantage of them possibly doing the same. Be courteous, update vendors if anything changes—timelines, expectations, whatever—inform your vendors right away. Communicating early and often makes it easier for both parties to adjust quickly to any evolving circumstance. You are, after all, managing vendors. So take the initiative to manage communication.
5. Analyse Performance and Provide Feedback
Even if the outcome of a project or evaluation is unsuccessful, try to provide meaningful feedback. In Olive, we issue a detailed analysis if a vendor is not selected for shortlisting. Our goal is to provide vendors with insight into how they compare to their competitors in relation to a particular set of requirements. The partnership should be beneficial to both parties no matter what the outcome. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors for their feedback and insight into the health of the relationship and how it can be improved.
Need Support With Vendor Management?
Managing your digital transformation may require extra help with vendor management. We provide vendor management services, so you can let us take that off your plate. Our platform helps you find the right vendors that will transform your organization for the better. Using Olive, you can collaborate with key stakeholders to develop the requirements you need to pin down your perfect vendor. Our process and platform help you eliminate vendors who won’t meet your business needs and built-in due diligence helps create mutual trust with your technology vendor and starts the relationship off on the right foot. You ensure a mutually beneficial partnership by cultivating a solid foundation of trust and respect with your vendors.