Managing Vendor Relationships

Throughout my years in Information Technology and technical sales I've had a love-hate relationship with vendors; mostly hate. However, as I've come-up the power of leveraging vendors has helped transform our business for the better. Companies who value and cultivate their vendor relationships are better positioned to expand their marketing efforts, stretch dollars and differentiate from the competition.

To achieve sustained growth you must begin treating vendors like they're your partner. Through the use of market development funds, vendor assisted sales and white-labeling solutions we're able to undertake sales and marketing initiatives that would otherwise require more money and time than we could expend.

In my experience it seems most companies feel their vendors owe them something. After all, we're out in the field selling their products as solutions. In reality, for many companies it is the vendor that provides you the ability to sell something in the first place. Whether all vendors and their respective products are equal in value, however, depends on how you're leveraging the relationship to ensure its advantageous for your business.

Like most things in business it starts with fostering strong relationships. By regularly meeting with and aligning your companies goals you might be surprised by your vendors willingness to assist with marketing funds, better margins on products, and more importantly, providing you with opportunities to close deals before your competition even knows they exist. Set goals with your vendors and work to achieve them. The stronger your relationship the more likely you are to have sustained and predictable growth. Building these relationships takes time and effort but can pay off in big ways.

Engaging your sales team with your leading strategic solution providers and distributors can result in both increased sales and decreased marketing funds. At IQ, we offer many differing solutions based on data retention, disaster recovery and virus protection; to name a few. With so many disparate offerings it can be a challenge for any one salesperson or technician to disseminate what they know about a product to the rest of the team or our clients. By leveraging our vendor relationships we're able to obtain free training, funds for sales and marketing campaigns, as well as bring the top experts to Northern Nevada to help sell and expand our client's understanding of different solutions.

It is always good to put a face to a name and most vendors are willing to meet with your team onsite. Rather than forwarding vendors to voicemail consider them a strategic asset and work to foster mutually beneficial relationships for your business, employees and customers.