5 Values to Look for in Your Next Technology Partner
Every year, there are more technology solutions asking for your consideration. Choosing your next vendor not only takes time, it also makes you continually redefine what you are going to value in this new partnership. Sticking to these values as your foundation will help you quickly thin the herd. But when it comes to choosing a technology partner, what matters and what doesn’t?
In this blog, I’ll show you five values to look for in your next technology partner to fuel growth.
Ask Yourself, What Sort of Investment Am I Trying to Make?
Understanding the differences between long-term and short-term motives behind your decision-making process will help you determine what differentiation matters for your unique needs. For example, if you want to invest in technology you won’t have to rip and replace or re-evaluate in 12-18 months, then you are thinking long term. In this scenario, you want to make sure scalability is a primary focus. Which technology and which vendor will grow with me? Which can I grow into and get the most out over the course of my journey? Which ones will I grow past or run into walls with? Worry less about investing in something that requires a bit of learning, and more about outgrowing your investment and being stuck with less. Also, make sure to not only evaluate the technology but the vendor itself. This will help you make a more complete investment decision beyond capabilities and checkboxes.
What Does it Mean to Be a Customer?
You should feel pride and identify with the brand qualities of the technology you purchase. This investment needs to complement what you believe in, and the vendor should also feel the same about you and your choice. This is either a healthy partnership, or it’s not. You know how you feel as soon as you consider putting pen to paper, be honest with yourself. You are not just choosing technology, you are choosing people and a network of other customers. Find out how they treat their customers. Do they have fantastic events for you to take advantage of? Do they have a community of other customers that you can belong to and learn from? Do their customers stick around? How will making this investment impact your career over time? These are the things to think about when defining how you value being a customer.
Have Their Customers Achieved What You Want to Achieve?
To have a fulfilling customer experience, you must have a clear path to success. Learning from others and seeing their momentum is the best way to feel assurance in your investment. After all, before purchase it can all feel very abstract. It’s clearer when the road to success is already presented to you, by customers willing to talk and by a team dedicated to supporting your growth after you buy. Along those lines, don’t be afraid to get right into the depth of use cases and workflows. This is just around the corner when you begin to implement, so it’s beneficial to explore how a solution can be used like you have already signed the deal. Putting your potential partner through the paces is the best way to find out what their customer experience looks like, ahead of making any considerable investment.
Do They Understand Your Business and Speak Your Language?
This is relatively intuitive but often goes untested, causing challenges down the line. Building off of our third value, do not be afraid of digging in to validate that a solution can support your unique use cases. This will determine which companies not only want your business, but also provide clear evidence that they understand your business, and how to partner in your success. Red flags are easy to spot. If the points are not clear and the value isn’t fine-tuned with a short path to execution, then you have one fewer vendor to consider because they don’t really get you. However, be mindful that you’re offering up the opportunity for everyone to know you in the first place. Have you provided clear guidelines on your goals? Are you transparent about your needs? No one can demonstrate they understand you without your thorough involvement in that mutual discovery phase. If you want openness from your partner, be open with them too.
How Do They Invest Their Revenue?
Investment track record is a telltale sign of where your potential partner may be headed. Back to our first value, make sure you and your partner have similar goals when it comes to innovation and growth. Perhaps the revenue is invested in growing the team. Great! Wait, which team? Are we talking about more salespeople, more engineers, and support, or more customer success? Do your own investigating to validate what you’re told. Here’s a golden nugget: go on Glassdoor and on to the company’s career page. The reviews will tell you where they need help improving, the careers page will tell you if they are trying to attend to those matters based on the positions they are filling. Bottom line here is that you want to understand your partner’s goals and the most telling way to see them clearly is by seeing where and how money is being spent.
When it comes to choosing a technology partner, it’s important to ask yourself these questions. Consider your motivations and goals for your own business. Are you considering adding any additional technology partners in 2018? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments.