Don’t be a Vendor, be a Partner

Success in any relationship is measured over time, it’s not transactional. Don’t be a vendor, be a partner.

If you do or have worked at a company that offers a service you’ve probably heard your clients refer to you and your company as a vendor. Traditionally this has had no negative connotation, however, in today’s shifting business landscape, the idea of being a vendor is starting to take on a diminutive meaning. 

As Andre Durand, founder and CEO of Ping Identity points out, “…Vendors get replaced like that *snaps fingers*…”. So dn’t be a vendor, be a partner. Easier said than done right?

While there is no clear-cut way of positioning yourself or your business as a partner, it’s certainly possible to have this as a goal and keep it mind with everything that you do.

When making decisions or choosing a course of action, consider how those outcomes will add or detract from positioning you as a partner. Sometimes you have to do things because they’re the right decision, not because they’re the most profitable. But don’t worry, a strong relationship as a partner in success means those rewards will come back to you tenfold. 

Success in any relationship is measured over time, it’s not transactional.

Andre Durand – Founder & CEO, Ping Identity

Steps to Partnership

The mutual success of you and your customer is the beginnings of a beautiful partnership. Obviously, when your customer is successful as a result of your tools, they will keep using it which in turn makes you successful.

Look out for them

As a CSM make the time to be proactive about your accounts. You have access to a plethora of information your customers don’t, about how other customers are using your tool or implementing strategies. Take advantage of this, analyze and predict outcomes that you can either avoid or encourage with your own clients.

This will help ensure their ongoing success.

Provide candid feedback

A partner does not just sit idly as their other half does something stupid. Speak up when you see an opportunity, ask questions to create clarity and don’t be afraid to question actions from time to time. Your perspective is unique, your experiences are different, and sometimes customers just do things because they always have and they’ll love your input on how to do things differently.

Do the right thing

In any organization, there is pressure to perform financially and it should be the role of anyone in Customer Success to maintain and increase revenues. But you’re not sales, as a CSM your increased revenues are going to come from sustainability and natural growth.

This sometimes means taking a short-term hit for long-term benefits. Do what’s right by your customer, always. This will build trust and position you as a person and a business they will believe has their success at heart.

In the end, you’ll have customers that are happier for longer and not only stick around but bring in their friends (more sales).

As a CSM, what steps do you take to postion yourself as a trusted partner with your customers? What has gone well, what’s blown up in your face?

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