SaaS Vendor Relationship Management: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

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October 24, 2023
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Are you fed up with dealing with vendors who fail to deliver on their promises? Do you believe your business is not making the most of its vendor relationships? If that's the case, you are not alone.

Vendor relationships are more accessible to initiate, but managing them is where most businesses fall short.

Statistics reveal that inadequate relationship frameworks affect approximately 50% of vendor partnership initiatives. This results in several challenges that negatively impact their operations, including missed deadlines and cost overruns.

Signing a contract and hoping for the best isn't enough. Businesses must have a well-thought-out vendor relationship management plan. A process that considers the unique needs of each vendor to guarantee success.

In this blog, we'll discuss the significance of vendor relationship management (VRM). And list out the best practices to help you build strong, long-lasting partnerships with your vendors.

What is vendor relationship management?

Gartner defines vendor relationship management as a "discipline that enables organizations to control costs, drive service excellence, and mitigate risks to gain increased value from their vendors throughout the deal lifecycle."

Vendor relationship management (VRM) is the process of establishing and maintaining positive relations with vendors or suppliers. Strengthening buyer-supplier relationships aims to achieve mutually beneficial goals and build trust.

Moreover, this process involves managing conversations, agreements, and vendor contracts to ensure the relationship benefits both parties.

An effective vendor relationship management approach can provide many essential benefits. Ranging from quality increases and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) to innovations and a much smoother data flow.

VRM is critical in SaaS. Many companies depend on external providers for essential tools and services.

Why Must Businesses Pay Attention to Vendor Relationship Management?

Image featuring a quote from Laurie Brednich

It's easy to lose track of your vendor relationships while managing several aspects of your business. Here are a few compelling reasons businesses must pay attention to vendor relationship management.

  • Maintain the quality of products and services while ensuring vendor satisfaction.
  • Positive and productive relationships with SaaS vendors can result in improved services and timely issue resolution.
  • Effective SaaS vendor relationship management can ensure compliance with legal and regulatory standards.
  • A strong vendor relationship can pave the way for cost-saving opportunities and vendor discounts.
  • Effective VRM can help businesses avoid potential risks associated with using cloud-based software. Streamline risk management.
  • Increases transparency and accountability in the process.
  • Increase overall satisfaction among customers, vendors, and stakeholders.

You can maximize your SaaS procurement efforts and promote long-term success for your organization by effectively managing vendor relationships.

How do I manage vendor relationships?

Vendor relationship management is critical for long-term business success and increasing savings. However, managing vendor relationships can be complex if you don’t follow the right tactics.

Here’s how you approach the SaaS vendor relationship management process,

Choose the best vendor

Vendor relationship management begins with selecting the right SaaS vendor. The right vendor can make the difference between seamless and hassle-free business operations.

Potential vendors should be evaluated according to their expertise, reputation, and compatibility with your firm's aims and values.

Click here to learn more about selecting the right SaaS vendor for your business.

Clearly define the right clauses in your SaaS agreement

In a formal agreement, specify the key clauses, including scope of services, performance standards, SLAs, and payment terms. This will help ensure both parties know their responsibilities and expectations.

Businesses with poor vendor relationships are usually the ones that overlook SaaS agreements. Not paying close attention to your SaaS agreement will lead to various hassles. Also, it'll result in low-quality products, increased expenses, hidden costs, risks of data breaches, and more.

Defining your SaaS agreement will make it easier for your internal teams to manage the SaaS vendor effectively.

Establish a process for managing vendor relationships

Build a strategic procedure for managing vendor relationships, encompassing communication channels, performance reviews, and issue resolution. This will aid in the successful and efficient management of vendor relationships.

By adhering to this process, you can build strong and productive vendor relationships and help you reach your business goals.

Use SaaS vendor management software to enhance your process instead of relying on manual approaches. It can centralize all the vendors, their contracts, and other important information, making managing them easier.

Managing vendor relationships doesn’t need to be complex. An IT vendor management system like CloudEagle can ease things for you, as will the best practices discussed below.

Create a vendor relationship management process checklist

Follow this checklist to streamline your vendor relationship management process,

  • Clearly outline your business objectives and requirements.
  • Form a dedicated team for managing vendors.
  • Track vendor performance reviews and maintain score.
  • Utilize software for streamlined SaaS management and procurement.
  • Create a comprehensive list of SaaS requirements and potential vendors.
  • Choose vendors aligning with your needs and negotiate favorable contracts.
  • Continuously assess and remove redundant applications.
  • Develop and implement a robust process for risk mitigation.
  • Foster transparent and regular communication channels.
  • Collaborate with vendors to create strategies with realistic deadlines.
  • Regularly reassess business goals and vendor alignment.
  • Evaluate vendor performance during contract renewals
  • Plan for vendor transitions if necessary
  • Monitor and optimize costs through negotiations.
  • Facilitate training and knowledge transfer with vendors.

Benefits of effectively managing vendor relationships

The advantages of efficient SaaS vendor relationship management include the following:

1. Enhanced Reliability: Effective partnerships foster reliability and consistency in product delivery, risk mitigation, support, etc.

2. Cost Savings: Better vendor relationships make negotiations easier, and vendors will be more open to providing contract discounts, leading to cost savings.  

3. Risk Mitigation: Proactive relationship management helps identify and mitigate risks associated with vendor dependencies, reducing potential disruptions.

4. Improved Quality: Continuous monitoring and management ensures high-quality products or services that meet or exceed standards.

5. Efficient operations and better performance: Streamlined communication and processes lead to smoother business operations and empower vendor performance.

6. Compliance Assurance: Strong vendor relationships aid in ensuring vendors adhere to legal and regulatory requirements, ensuring compliance.

7. Flexibility and Adaptability: Responsive vendor partnerships allow adaptability in changing business landscapes. Vendors will be more open to changes.

8. Long-term Growth: Better vendor relationships prolong the partnership, leading to better agreements and cost-savings.

9. Enhanced Reputation: Strong vendor relationships positively affect a company's reputation and brand image.

Vendor Relationship Management Best Practices

Image of a quote by Tom Reid

This section will explore vendor relationship management best practices to manage SaaS vendor relationships and achieve business success.

Communicate Regularly

Poor communication is the primary reason for most vendor relationship failures. Failure to effectively communicate with or receive critical information from suppliers can undermine the fundamental foundation of a business's SaaS vendor management approach.

Corporate buyers must maintain good communication with their vendors. To ensure efficient SaaS vendor management, allowing them to convey their needs better and understand their suppliers' abilities.

Don't breach the SaaS Agreement.

Having clear and explicit service level agreements (SLAs) and contracts is critical while managing vendor partnerships.

It is critical that both parties grasp their commitments and obligations under the agreement entirely and that these conditions are strictly monitored. Breaching the SaaS agreement might have serious consequences, including strained relationships, legal conflicts, and financial losses.

By creating and keeping a robust agreement, you and your vendor will better understand what's expected. You will be able to construct a more effective and sustainable partnership.

Be transparent

Transparency with vendors is key to trust and effective collaboration. Open communication about goals, challenges, and changes ensures alignment and accountability.

This honesty fosters better problem-solving, innovation, and a foundation built on trust for successful partnerships.

Track KPIs and collaborate for improvements.

When you establish key performance indicators (KPIs), you set measurable goals aligned with your business objectives. These indicators enable you to monitor your vendor's performance and discover possible concerns before they become serious.

You may uncover areas for improvement and chances for collaboration by regularly assessing your vendor's performance against these KPIs.

Working with your vendor to fix these problems can enhance service delivery and product quality. This approach can also assist you in developing a stronger and more beneficial long-term relationship with your vendor.

Use a SaaS vendor relationship management software

Technology can significantly enhance SaaS vendor management's productivity and efficacy. Investing in vendor relationship management software like CloudEagle can streamline the SaaS vendor management process. From vendor research and onboarding to communication and performance tracking.

Platforms like CloudEagle can centralize your vendors in one place. You don’t have to visit each application to analyze usage or track performance. You can do it all on one dashboard. ‘

Through integrations, it’ll provide detailed insights on every vendor, including spend, usage, contract details, and pricing data. It’ll also enable you to be more transparent with the vendor and make collaborative decisions.

Regular Risk Assessment And Transparency

It is vital to conduct periodic risk assessments and maintain transparency with your vendors to establish and maintain great partnerships. A thorough risk assessment can aid in identifying possible concerns and their mitigation before they become significant problems.

Transparency with your vendors about your expectations and potential risks fosters confidence and collaboration. It also allows vendors to provide recommendations on improving the relationship and avoiding potential risks.

You can build vendor relationships and assure long-term success by maintaining transparency and conducting frequent risk assessments.

Looking for more best practices? Check out this blog on SaaS Vendor Management Best Practices to Follow in 2023

CloudEagle: The Ideal Vendor Relationship Management Software

CloudEagle is a SaaS management and procurement platform that can streamline your SaaS vendor relationship management process and make managing vendor relationships easier for your team. It provides enterprises with a single system for handling all vendor-related tasks.

Our platform’s comprehensive SaaS vendor management features make it the ideal tool for businesses seeking to establish and maintain excellent vendor relationships.

One of CloudEagle's key features is its ability to assist businesses in negotiating better agreements with their providers. Better deals can be negotiated to strengthen vendor relationships by lowering costs and enhancing efficiency.

An image of vendor management dashboard

With the assisted buying feature of CloudEagle, businesses can streamline their IT vendor management process. It can handle everything from vendor selection to contract negotiations.

This solution saves time and money for businesses by reducing the purchasing process and letting them concentrate on their primary business activities.

Centralized management

CloudEagle will gather and organize all the information in one centralized location, be it applications, contracts, or vendors. You can easily see how much each user or team spends on vendors, access license utilization metrics, and make necessary cost optimization decisions using CloudEagle.

Vendor research

The above sections stress the importance of selecting the right vendors. CloudEagle’s vendor recommendation module will help you research vendors. Also, it'll help you compare vendor features and pricing side-by-side. You can analyze the latest reviews, pricing benchmarks and, talk to their customers and make the right purchase decision.

Expert assistance

The most overlooked aspect of vendor relationship management is negotiation. If your team lacks the bandwidth to negotiate effectively, leave it to our experts. Nailing your negotiation tactics will pave the way for healthy buyer-supplier relationships.

Our SaaS buying experts will analyze your usage and requirements and engage with the vendors on time, building a healthy rapport. This will lead to better deals during contract renegotiations and help you save 1000 hours per year your team spends on procurement and negotiations.  

Check out our customer Sophie Wang from Wefunder recalls how CloudEagle experts negotiated with the vendor and saved on SaaS spend:

They’ll perform vendor research for you, assess your team’s requirements, negotiate with the vendors, select the right vendor, and help you build a strong relationship with them.

So, are you looking to enhance your vendor relationships? Then what are you waiting for? Book a demo and talk to our experts to streamline SaaS vendor management.

Written by
Vibhu Jain
Product Manager, CloudEagle
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