Develop Your Vendor Relationships
For SMBs that want to take their business to the next level, you need help from your vendor partners. Unless you have this help, your business might not reach its potential. We all know vendor partnerships are key to strategic growth and longevity. Therefore, we need to become actively involved in that partnership.
Why do we need strong vendor relationships?
Having a strong partnership with your vendor is vital to continued business growth. It will mean your clients receive better service and will provide PR opportunities that raise your business profile.
Without a strong relationship, your business can stall. It might lack the resources or momentum to get to the next level. Securing and continuing to build a great relationship is critical to growth. Vendor management is one of the most underappreciated, yet critical functions you are responsible for. Luckily, this is something that can be easily addressed. So, how do you get that secure relationship where you become the vendor's favorite partner? Let’s find out!
Make the vendor the center of your growth strategy
If you give your vendor relationship the central place in your growth strategy, you’re headed in the right direction. To be successful and grow, you need your vendor to think of you as a partner and not just a customer. A key approach is building up the relationship you have with your vendor account manager. Needless to say, this a very important step, so don’t let the relationship dry up.
Oftentimes SMBs will avoid emails or telephone calls from accounts managers as they see them as irritating. They’re trying to avoid sales pitches trying to get more money. But, if you take the opposite line of attack, you might see things change in your favor. For example, don't wait for a sales call from your vendor, call them yourself and ask how you can become their favorite partner. With this approach, you show the vendor that you're willing to make this a two-way relationship that can help them as well as you.
Take a forward approach
Being forward in this way can be quite surprising for vendors. They mainly spend their time dealing with SMBs that ask for discounts or favors. What's more, they don't often have them asking to help them.
In this regard, it’s good to have a bit of inside knowledge of how vendor account managers are measured in terms of performance. It might come as a surprise to learn that it’s not only their sales volume that is considered. Additionally, vendor account managers are measured on the sales pipeline visibility and how many new SMB partnerships they get.
Furthermore, it's a good idea to open up communications lines with vendor account managers so they see the sales opportunities that arise. This will also mean that the vendor account managers can report sales pipelines accurately to their management.
Making direct introductions
Remember we said this is a two-way relationship – help your vendors by making introductions directly. Talk to your peers about the work you do with your vendor partners. Tell them what you enjoy about working with the vendor and how your business has grown thanks to the good relationship.
These activities might seem unusual as recommendations usually go the other way. After all, not many are doing it, which is why you can become your vendor partner's favorite client quickly.
Does this yield results?
With this sort of helpful attitude, you will notice your partnerships flourish. You build trust. This trust will result in quicker resolutions to technical and supply issues more quickly – a bonus for your clients.
There really isn’t a downside to building a strong relationship with your vendor. Correspondingly, your relationship will become a real partnership with mutual commitment leading to success for both.
If you want to move your business to the next level, approaching your vendor relationship in a different way can help to achieve growth. Without such a relationship, your growth could hit a wall that you might struggle to get beyond. If you have questions or need help managing your vendors, please contact us to discuss how we can help in this area.