Finding the right vendor or solution provider for your company is an incredibly important factor in the equation for success. The right service provider will save you time and money, both of which can give you an edge over the competition.
So, how do you find that genie in a bottle? The following are six tips to help you choose the right one for you.
1. Get clear about what you want from your vendor.
What is your end goal with this provider? Are you looking to set up a treasury management system? Do you need a vendor with faster delivery times so you can cut down on the time it takes to serve your customers? Being absolutely clear about your end goal will make it easier to narrow down the pool of potential solution providers.
2. Do your research.
What is their reputation? How do they treat their customers? Employees? How quick is their response time? Are they a forward-thinking and innovative company or a one-hit wonder? What is the character of their leadership? There are several ways to find these things out:
- Testimonials. What are others saying about them? And don’t just rely on those posted on their website as those will always be the best. Check on Google, do a search through the Better Business Bureau, and of course, social media.
- Peer Feedback. What do your peers have to say about this company? Asking around is a great way to discover the inside information about a company, plus you could learn about another provider you didn’t know about.
- Former employees. What do the higher-ups who used to work there have to say about the company? Particularly helpful are those who have moved on due to career advancement or retirement.
- Employee reviews. Employee reviews can be quite helpful in determining how the company treats its employees. Of course, take the reviews with a grain of salt, but if the bad reviews outnumber the good, it’s worth noting.
3. Check the vendor’s credentials.
Capability should be an obvious point, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook it. Take the time to research whether or not a vendor has the capability to achieve your end goal. Make sure the credentials are there, as well as the experience. What is the track record of those who will be in charge of your project or service?
4. Consider the cost.
You don’t want to simply accept the lowest bid, as too often it leads to the saying, “You get what you pay for.” Service providers are there to make your life easier, not harder. In addition to considering your budget/the cost of the product or service, you’ll want to consider the cost savings to your bottom line, time and labor.
5. Communication is critical.
Good communication is critical to great service. As you’re talking to potential vendors, pay attention to how they communicate with you. Are they clear? Timely?
Also, ask questions to understand how they would communicate with you if you were to work together. Would you get a project manager assigned to your project? Is there a team you can contact? Who is on that team? If you’re looking to work together long-term, will there be regular check-ins? And how will they be facilitated?
6. Partner with your IT team.
If treasury management software or financial planning and analysis software is your goal, be sure to include IT in the process. You may be looking at it from the business perspective, but your IT manager brings a whole other — and important — set of considerations to the conversation, including data points, capabilities, and knowledge of what your system already can and can’t do.
Your IT team also knows all the lingo, so they can build a bridge between you and the vendors. Including IT has the added bonus of helping the vendors better understand the functional processes behind what you’re asking for.
Resources for Your Vendor Search
When you find the right vendor/service provider, you’re adding an integral member of the team, so be sure to do your due diligence. To help you get started in the search, we’ve also provided you with some resources specific to treasury and finance professionals.
Year-round AFP Resources
- AFP Marketplace: Search for providers and products by a wide range of categories.
- 2022 TMS Buyer's Guide: Get a glimpse into the latest technologies and trends, so you make the right decision when it comes time to choose a TMS for your organization.
- AFP Collaborate (AFP members only): Ask other practitioners about their experience with a vendor or software in a safe, private community exclusive to AFP practitioner members.
Visit the Exhibit Hall at AFP 2023
- Exhibit Hall: Interact with 160+ vendors offering a wide range of products, services and technology solutions to meet your needs.