We are so fortunate to have such an amazing group of vendors and this works for us because we focus heavily on relationship marketing, it is one of the pillars of our business. We are blessed to have maintained relationships with our vendors over the years. We often refer to them as partners and we would not be able to do our work without them.
From our inception we have applied an outsourcing model to Big Mouth Marketing and this model has worked very well and have proven to be successful because of the vendor relationships that we have established and maintained are of the highest quality.
There are so many vendors to choose from and it can be overwhelming. Here are a few of our suggestions for selecting high-quality vendors and some suggestions as to how to have great relationships that are a win-win for everyone.
The best vendors demonstrate significant flexibility with their models, their work style, their delivery approach, their technologies, their staff and their pricing.
Some vendors have a set model, approach or structure that they will not adapt or change — those are vendors we typically avoid. Early on, we evaluated highly reputable suppliers. Many of these vendors had all the bells and whistles but insisted, we do business their way offering no compromises or suggestions as to how to make the relationship work.
Companies are all different, and solutions need to be customized based on individual business needs. Initial interactions with vendors are good indicators of their flexibility — look for signs that demonstrate adaptability and willingness to embrace change and modify their solutions to fit your needs.
It’s important to assess the cultural fit of all vendors before they are exposed to your management and employees. If you work in a highly structured organization and the vendor has a very unstructured approach, it doesn’t matter how great the content is, it is not going to be a good fit for your organization.
Test vendors’ knowledge of your business, your products and your employees. They should have a good understanding of your company and your organizational culture if they want to work with you. Interview them as you would any employee — make sure they have skills, knowledge and fit with your company. They will be a part of your staff, and they need to work well with your team.
Be resourceful, and do your homework. Try to find clients the vendor has worked with that are representative of, or aligned with your industry, market, business or company culture. We believe the best vendors are those that have a wide range of clients from various industries, which can bring you diverse perspectives and broaden your learning.
The most valuable and trustworthy vendors are sincerely interested in being your business partner.
They have a long-term view of their relationship with your company. They work hard to collaborate with you, your team and your clients to make sure that everything they deliver is of the highest quality and relevance to your organization.
You need to discuss with vendors how long they have worked with their clients, how many engagements they’ve had with each of them and how they work together with internal staff to deliver business solutions. Many of the vendors we use are willing to take risks, be innovative in their approaches and try new solutions because its a good fit for our style of business.
A successful vendor partnership is beneficial for both you and the vendor. If a vendor isn’t willing to create new solutions along with you, it probably isn’t the best partnership. True partners grow and learn from each other, and that’s the key to having a successful vendor relationship.