6 Steps to Optimize Your Vendor Relationships

Vendors – they don’t always receive a lot of attention within the larger scheme of IT strategy, but a CIO with the right relationships can tap into undiscovered vendor potential. A article by Bob Ronan offers six tips to make your IT outfit vendor-smart.

6 Tips for Vendor Relationships

  1. Quality over quantity
  2. Make it a date.
  3. Give them more business.
  4. Come to them with performance questions.
  5. Invite them to meetings.
  6. Share your strategic hopes and dreams.

The first thing to remember is “quality” over “quantity.” Like someone who keeps more friends than they have time for, the more vendors at your disposal, the less likely you are to build strong relationships. Once you’ve got a manageable set of quality vendors, it becomes possible to build relationships. What Ronan recommends is to actually meet with vendors, to arrange a social outing to stay on good terms.

Your vendor might now be kind of like a “friend” to your organization. Friends help friends; therefore, seize the opportunity to give yours additional business:

You know what is going on across your company, and you have friends at other companies with problems they need to solve. Have you ever picked up the phone to tell one of your vendor partners that there might be an opportunity outside of your organization? Of course, you only want to do this if you know the other area would want you to do it. If you have a great vendor and you know they could be an option somewhere else, why not be a matchmaker?

Having close ties with a friendly vendor means you can come to them with your problems… er, performance issues, that is. Although it is their job to ensure optimal performance, they’ll surely go the extra mile for a friend in need. As for on-site contractors, include them in your “all-hands” meetings. And lastly, share business strategies. You never know if a vendor sitting at your company presentation may have the solution to one of your most pressing challenges.

Read the original article at:

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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