Vendor (noun): ven·dor | \ ˈven-dər 1) One that vends; 2) vending machine. See also broker, dealer, merchandiser, seller.
Partner (noun): part·ner | \ ˈpärt-nər 1) One associated with another especially in an action; 2) a person with whom one shares a relationship; 3) a member of a partnership, especially in business; 4) one of the heavy timbers that strengthen a ship’s deck to support a mast.
When you need to make a purchase, whether it is for business or a personal purchase, you will weigh return policies, support options, shipping costs, pricing, among other things. And during that process, you have to determine whether or not you need a partner in the purchase, someone that will be around after the initial transaction, or just a supplier, someone that will hand over your service/product and have little else to do with you or your business. That is the main difference between a business partner and a vendor, so what option is better for you? Let's take a deeper look at the differences between the two and what it takes to make that ultimate decision.
Most purchases we make are simple transactions made with a Vendor. We choose between vendors based on comparative analysis, return policies, shipping costs, competitive pricing, and/or speed of delivery/accessibility. Generally speaking, most vendor purchases come down to the cost and risk associated with product quality and return policies.
The higher the investment required, however, the more the need for future support alters the decision-making process. Manufacturers and vendors add limited repair/return policies or warranties in order to minimize your perception of risk, but do little to address the need for long-term support as your needs evolve, change, or expand. Business decisions almost always involve the three key factors of cost, risk, and long-term support.
Vendor relationships are temporary for the duration of the sale and any return policy window. Typically, we as consumers assume the risk of a product purchased (e.g. Buyer Beware) with the recognition that ongoing support for the product generally is limited to warranty agreements. The return policy becomes your primary means of problem resolution. Once you are outside of that, the risk is all yours with no support from the original Vendor and/or the Manufacturer.
A Business Partner, on the other hand, is very much like the support timber of the same name that strengthens a ship’s deck and mast (definition 4 above). They are there to support and strengthen your purchase decision for the long-term. Business Partners value the relationship that is formed by understanding your company’s needs, sharing their expertise and knowledge, and working with you to achieve your business mission, both now and in the future.
So, what do you need? A Business Partner or simply a Vendor?
Business Partner vs. Vendor
Long-term vs. Temporary
Low Risk vs. High Risk
Relationship vs. Transactional
Consultant vs. Salesman
CS3 Technology and CS3 Advisors work to establish a Business Partner relationship with our clients. We are here to provide the ongoing support of our team so that critical decisions regarding business process improvement, software selection, education, and mission-critical investments can be made with confidence. CS3 offers Protection Pricing, Confidence Contracts, SERV Support Plans, and a Plus7 Process to reinforce and strengthen our relationships with clients, making us the choice for Business Partner relationships.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming our Business Partner today and never worry about your company's software needs again.
Photo by Letizia Bordoni on Unsplash
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