Whether it’s your tech suppliers, marketing agencies, or sales enablement vendors, most CEOs don’t maximize the value sitting right under their noses. If your business is like most, you’re spending a significant portion of capital on outsourcing critical functions within your organization. If you’re like most leadership teams, you push the management of those vendors down to middle management. Who has the time?

If this is how you’re using your vendors, you are missing a big opportunity. Your vendors are a tremendous source of knowledge about your sector and often have thoughts on how you can improve your business. But, if you don’t know how to engage them, this knowledge and insight will be lost.

Here are three tips on how to engage your vendors and turn them into partners.

#1: Engage at the leadership level

We talk a lot with our client-partners about ensuring you are getting the “A” team from your suppliers and vendors. That’s still important. The next level of partnership is engaging your supplier’s leadership team. Their leadership team is as strategic as you. Their leadership team spends as much time (if not more) building go-to-market strategies about your sector.

#2: Use their diverse knowledge as a research input

When developing your go-to-market strategies, leadership teams often turn to third-party research for their primary data. We’re not saying you don’t use those sources. Instead, add additional insights from your partners. Third-party research will give you the general answer to your questions; get you in the ballpark. Since they know you, your partners will apply their sector knowledge to your specific business objectives.

#3: Give context

A fatal mistake we see within organizations utilizing outsourced talent or vendors is they isolate them. You provide them with specific tasks critical to ensuring you meet your business goals. Without context, the chances of success are low. It’s called “mushroom management.” Engage your vendors in team meetings, team events, and after-hours get-togethers. This interaction will give them the context to be a partner in driving your growth strategy.

Maximize the capital you are investing in your vendor partners. Turn your vendors into partners.

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