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9 Tips for a Great Vendor/Association Relationship!

Hello, October! Just like any business, keeping a healthy relationship with you association management software vendor is key to being satisfied with the product and overall customer service. A great relationship will make projects, training, interactions, and anything in between, easier and more enjoyable. In today’s post, we’ll be discussing tips to having a successful relationship with your AMS vendor.

1. Choose a vendor with the same work culture and personality.

Before doing anything, is your organization even compatible with the vendor? While a solution may technically be perfect for your College or association, sometimes their staff may not be. Having to put up with a company you aren’t fond of for a few years can be stressful and cause conflict, which is not in your best interest. Talk with other clients of the vendor to get a feel and predict if your organization will fit in.

2. Tell them what you want from the start.

Like mentioned from our previous posts, it’s very important to take responsibility for your College or association’s needs and let the software vendor know from the initial conversation what you are looking for. This way, you cannot get in too deep with a vendor and then realize they can’t give your organization what it is looking for, resulting in a waste of time (and likely proposals) for everyone.

3. Trust, trust, trust!

Both the association and the vendor should mutually trust each other. Associations need to trust their vendor because vendors are full of knowledge and experience, especially vendors that have been around for years. Without that trust, association executives will waste time micromanaging and worrying their vendor isn’t good enough. If you have a feeling that it’s not going to work out with a certain vendor, don’t use them. It’s as simple as that.

4. Communicate!

Be direct and transparent with your vendor. If you are having any issues, or even compliments that are on your mind, let them know! An association/vendor relationship is just like a personal relationship; you need to be verbally open in order to keep it going smoothly. Be sure to communicate in a timely manner…letting your vendor know you didn’t understand something about their solution after using it for two months won’t do anyone any good, and will especially not benefit you. Ask for help as soon as you need it!

5. Respect vendor’s input and recommendations.

Just like number 3, along with trusting your vendor, you should respect their input and recommendations. Your vendor is like an elder who is full of wisdom and has seen many similar situations unfold throughout their years. If they give you advice about how to handle areas of your association that are relevant with their solution, don’t brush it off… consider using it! Just like you would when asking a fellow association executive for advice.

6. Understand the contract.

If a vendor requires you to sign a contract, review and discuss it until you fully understand what you are agreeing to. Get subject matters experts from different departments to review it as well, since they will likely be communicating with the vendor also. With a properly reviewed contract, everything is on the table and no unexpected surprises should occur.

7. Be able to give and take.

Don’t just be a taker! Yes, you pay vendors for their software and service, but keeping the relationship considerate on both sides is beneficial. This means to provide some flexibility when it comes to time, budget, support desk, etc. Don’t expect your vendor to be able to cater to your schedule all the time. Also, when it comes to request, send it to your vendor early. This gives them time to figure it out and fit it into their schedule right away. Making a last minute request, not giving the vendor enough time to reach your deadline can result in disappoint, especially if the vendor has a lot of projects going at once already.

8. Beware of vendor’s actions as well.

Make sure the vendor is delivering. Sometimes meetings every now and then are great to make sure your organization and the vendor are on the same page and on the right track. Also, when you have questions or concerns, does the company get back to you in a timely manner? If not, make sure you communicate this, it could be fixed in something as simple as a five minute conversation.

9. Thank each other!

There is hardly any feelings out there better than knowing you were recognized for doing an excellent job. So if you’re happy with something, let your vendor know! If any vendors out there are reading this, let your clients know you appreciate them!

Those are our tips to creating a great relationship with your association management software vendor! Remember, even after the business relationship is over, having a positive relationship can lead to referrals.

Is your organization seeking new license management or association management software? Please make sure to check out our software procurement checklist by clicking on the image below! With it, you’ll be able to compare all software in one place, with equal criteria.