Suitable Vendor: To ensure the wellbeing of your business, you might have to go through the process of selecting a suitable vendor more than once. As with in-house talent, the most successful vendor relationship results from a good match, which includes a culture fit, the knowledge and expertise you are seeking and, naturally, a reasonable range of prices.
After meeting with prospective providers, you will have notes, proposals and collected information to make your choice. Unfortunately, sometimes what a client is sold is not quite what ends up being delivered. Here are a few red flags to consider when you are facing such a decision. While these points are from an IT Managed Service perspective, these examples could also be relevant to other types of vendors.
The smiling sales representative on the other side of the table who doesn’t ask any questions but promises confidently that his company can do everything and anything for you should raise a flag. While he may be able to deliver everything you are asking for, he shouldn’t make any bold promises without exploring your request in detail. There is also something to be said for an honest, “I am not sure if we are the right shop to deliver XYZ,” or “I am not sure you should be spending XXX and you may be better off keeping XYZ in-house.” If the sales rep can be candid and honest about the vendor’s strengths from the beginning, the chances of being over-promised and disappointed later are reduced significantly. Look for active listening, insightful questioning of your needs, signs of understanding, and clearly thought-through answers and promises.
While it is always wise to try to keep expenses low and look for the most economical choice, considering only the price may blind you and result in less value and more expenses in the long run. Sometimes you genuinely have only so much to spend, but realize that spending very little and then not getting the necessary work properly will result in spending much more in the long run. Once you narrow down your bidders to those in your price range, try not to let the price be the primary deciding factor, as that can blind you to missing qualifications, inadequate time allocated to your assignment or essential corners being cut in some way.
Especially in the IT industry, where urgency is usually the name of the game, there has to be a system in place where no matter when you need it, assistance is available and someone is at hand to help you navigate through the trouble. Power outages and other problems never happen on schedule and no matter how proactive and prepared you are, there will be times when you will need attention and assistance ASAP. You may be promised around-the-clock help, but make sure there is no small print with unexpected limits or additional fees. It is also wise to determine what the average response time will be, because when you need help, you need it right away.
We hope that as you search for the right help, you find a vendor who will not only deal with your ad-hoc issues but also grow with you. As always, MBC will be happy to answer any questions you may have on your journey toward finding the perfect IT partner for your business needs.