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Vendor relationship management checklist

Originally Published:
Jun 2018

This simple guide offers a methodical approach to selecting the best vendors for your organization, tracking your satisfaction levels, and maintaining strong partnerships.

From the checklist:

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, vendors are key to the success of most every information technology consultant. Strong vendor relationships help good consultants excel, but a dysfunctional vendor alliance can sink even the most astute of consulting firms. Thus, vendor relationships are critical, yet their importance is often (and easily) overlooked.

Why? Simple.

The time, energy, and resources invested cultivating vendor partnerships, reseller relationships, and distribution agreements don’t constitute billable hours. As a result, consultants often have trouble justifying the required time to establish and solidify vendor relationships.

Unfortunately, without strong vendors, few consultants can meet client needs. And without proven sources for delivering competitively priced software, equipment, renewals, services, and related components in a timely manner, consultants end up frustrating customers—and customers walk.

Worse, disgruntled customers share their stories with other businesses. “Consultant X couldn’t obtain Windows systems quickly.” “Consultant X couldn’t reduce my enterprise security software licensing costs!” “Consultant X took three weeks longer than planned to complete a new platform rollout because the hardware was late, supposedly.”

Consultants can blame vendors all they want—even if delays, snags, and other issues that arise ARE the vendor’s fault—but the burden to deliver remains with the consultant, not the vendor. Whenever a consultant proposes a project or initiative with a client, it’s the consultant’s responsibility to source the required software, hardware, and other elements, recommend vendors, and establish pricing.

So what’s a time-pressed consultant to do? This checklist can help. It’s a simple guide based on lessons I’ve learned owning and operating my own IT consulting firm for 12 years. Use this checklist to select the best vendors, track your satisfaction levels, and maintain strong partnerships.

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