Last year, a T2 Systems customer went through a major vendor change. When it came time to determine who to partner up with next, they took some very deliberate steps toward identifying their needs/wants list, spoke with similar organizations to see what vendors they used and how those relationships were working out, and made an on-site visit in order to see firsthand if this vendor’s products and services could be a good match. (If you’d like, you can read more about the University of Nebraska Omaha’s process in our Customer Success section).
General wisdom dictates that when shopping for new vendors, businesses always look to the Big Three: Price. Quality. Responsiveness. Are their prices within budget scope? Does the quality of their product meet or exceed our standards? Can they deliver products and services in a timely manner? And, if necessary, are we willing to sacrifice any one of the three, or must the new vendor hit all the marks?
While those three are the gold standard for making a vendor choice, there’s a fourth that needs to be added: team.
Is your new vendor willing to be part of your team?
Having a vendor join your team doesn’t mean you have to create office space for them and find a spot for them on the company baseball team. What it does mean is this: you want to make sure they listen. That they don’t walk in with a one-size-fits-all approach they’ve used for all their other customers, determined to shoehorn your organization’s needs into that same cookie-cutter approach.
You can check off the price, quality and responsiveness boxes when looking to switch vendors, but unless you can check off the team box, you might be making a mistake. The best way to know if you’re looking at a team player? Do the same homework that the University of Nebraska Omaha did: talk to other businesses who’ve contracted with your prospective vendor. They’ll tell you if their chosen vendor works with them hand in hand to achieve desired outcomes. Or not.
Don’t just look at a vendor on paper. Dig a little deeper to discover how they partner with their customers in action. Then you’ll be ready to make the successful choice.