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Executive Editor

Tips for acting as a vendor reference

News Analysis
Nov 24, 20032 mins

A few ideas about how to successfully work with a vendor as a reference.

•  Weigh the pros and cons of each reference opportunity. Acting as a reference can improve a company’s relationship with a vendor, but it requires a time commitment and can result in unwanted attention. “Every big user has horror stories, and stories where it worked to their advantage,” AMR Research CTO Scott Lundstrom says.

•  Be candid with your peers. As a rule, Paul Galliher, vice president of distribution at Skechers, doesn’t sugarcoat his opinions. “I’m inclined at this point to share experiences, and it just happens to be a good one right now,” Galliher says of his wireless rollout. “I would be equally inclined to do this if we had some bad experiences.”

•  Find out how often you are expected to act as a reference. “We try to set the expectation that on average it would be once a month,” says Tamara Hart, customer and partner programs manager at Ipswitch. “And we track very carefully when a reference was last contacted.”

•  Know who at the vendor company has access to your information. Ipswitch salespeople don’t have direct access to Hart’s database of referenceable customers, which allows Hart to control how often and by whom a reference is contacted.

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