Maintaining Vendor Relationships

August 2, 2018

It is crucial to find a common definition of 'value' in a buyer-supplier relationship. Value in the business market is the worth in financial terms of the technical, economic, service and social benefit a customer's company receives in exchange for the price it pays for a market offering.


If you want to have exceptional vendor relationships, follow these principles:


Problem Solving

- Learn what drives your customer's business and their challenges. Don't solely focus on your customer's needs, but also their requirements.

Value Optimization

- Be competitive in every aspect from product functionality, price and impeccable service.

Purposeful Flexibility

- For a strategic relationship, vendors must accept fair and reasonable terms, even if they don't fit the vendor's sales model. If a vendor is not willing to accept the terms, the customers only option is to 'exit' the relationship.

Risk Sharing

- Agree to terms that ensure risk sharing and accountability. This is essential for ensuring the vendor is as concerned about the customer's success as the customer is.


- The vendor is willing to discuss difficult issues and make everyone aware of possible problems that may arise. There must be open communication for a successful relationship.


How do buyers choose new vendors?

  • 1/4 of buyers skip the research 

    • Claiming they already know what they need when it comes to searching for a new supplier could cost  potential customers a lot of money.

  • Who is the competition?

    • There are typically three ways buyers search for new vendors:

      • Networking or asking a friend/colleague

      • Already know what you need to

      • Use formal process/internal list

  • Networking

    • Reputations and branding hold more weight than existing relationships when it comes to choosing a vendor, even though both are strong factors in the selection process. 71% of buyers turn to their business networks to single out potential suppliers, research their referrals and do some investigating on details of the supplier.

  • Digital Presence

    • According to Pardot, about 72% of buyers turn to google during their initial research for things like educational information and reviews. Once the initial research has been conducted, 41% of buyers consider good reputation, 16% more check the company's existing approved vendor lists and an additional 10% check referrals.



    Puera, O. (March 22, 2017). How Buyers Choose Vendors: Top 5 Selection Criteria. Retrieved


    Bryar, M. (August 18, 2015). 5 Principles for great vendor relationships. Retrieved From:

    Anderson, J. & Narus, J. (Nov/Dec. 1998). Business Marketing: Understand What Customers Value. Retrieved From:



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