Why Working with a Partner vs. a Vendor is the Best Choice for Your Business

Posted by Clover Imaging Group EMEA on Jun 28, 2021 10:00:00 AM
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The mass disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on a number of industries — forcing businesses to look for new and innovative ways to meet changing customer expectations. In addition to dealing with shifts in consumer behavior, smart companies are also seeking new ways to differentiate themselves from competitors. Shrinking markets, supply chain difficulties, and more demanding customers mean that only businesses that can provide truly unique buying experiences can remain competitive in the long run.

For many operations, particularly those in the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) range, working with third parties can assist in rapid scaling of products or services without a large outlay of capital. For many EU businesses suffering from lowered revenues following the onset of the pandemic, this lower-cost boost to competitive ability can offer much-needed relief for lagging performance.

For print and imaging businesses, the impact of the ongoing pandemic has deeply affected most organisations, regardless of their unique specialisation. Lockdowns, supply chain breakdowns, continued shortages, and other concerns continue to burden these businesses, influencing their ability to meet consumer demands.

The power of third-party cooperation can make a positive impact for struggling print and imaging companies, allowing them to not only meet — but exceed — the changing needs and expectations of their customers. There is, however, an important caveat: Choosing the right third party is essential to success — and choosing the wrong one can have a negative impact on your bottom line.

Two Types of Third Parties from Which to Choose

Third parties that can provide additional support in terms of technical knowledge, exceptional products, or other services can be a boon to any business, especially those struggling to expand under dwindling budgets. However, there are two types of third parties you can turn to, vendors or partners, and the choice you make between them may be the most crucial decision your business has ever encountered.

Before we outline the differences, let’s start with a simple definition of each:

What is a Vendor?

A vendor is simply a supplier — a seller, if you will — of goods and services. Their business goal is to encourage you to purchase as many of their offerings as possible, whether you need them or not. In fact, it is to their benefit to support your investment in products or technologies, even if they do not provide an appropriate return on investment (ROI) for you, since such investments will bring them increased profit.

What is a Partner?

A partner is a company that builds a relationship with your business over time that results in mutually beneficial positive results. Through implementation of long-term strategies and continual, proactive engagement, a partner is committed to helping you make the right decisions for your long-term business goals. Partners profit by helping you increase your competitiveness and achieve a higher level of profitability.

Those are very basic definitions — now let’s take a closer look at the advantages a partnership has over a vendor-based agreement.

Why Choosing Partners vs. Vendors is a Crucial Step Toward Business Success

There are always choices to be made, and none so critical as the organisations with whom you conduct business. When considering working with a third party, it’s important to understand exactly how your relationship is structured.

For example, a relationship with a vendor is reliant upon certain delineated terms from which there is no deviation — regardless of business challenges, shifts in the market, or other factors that can affect your business’ profitability. Working with a business partner, on the other hand, will help you make purchases that promote realisation of your business goals rather than encouraging investment in unneeded or overpriced technologies to get a quick sale. Your business partner will act as a coach, helping you choose the right services and technologies to support a stronger and more competitive future.

Other reasons to choose a partner include:

  1. Partners Grow Your Business — Vendors Grow Theirs

With the kind of long-term relationship a partnership entails, your partner is focused on growing your business since your success is tied to their own. With vendors, however, the focus is on their own bottom line. Instead of committing to your success, they commit to making as many sales as possible, regardless of what is best for your organisation.

The sales-only focus of a typical vendor relationship means vendors are often looking for new ways to get value from their customers, such as demanding information in exchange for discounts. The data you share is valuable to them and allows them to fine-tune their sales processes even further, and yet you will receive no benefit from sharing it.

  1. Partners Provide Support — Vendors Dictate Terms

A partnership is based on providing continued support for the products and services you purchase, without demanding recompense. This committed and ongoing engagement means you can focus on perfecting your own business processes to meet your organisation’s — and your customers’ — goals.

Rather than providing support, vendors typically dictate that their clients follow a number of exacting guidelines to restrict the ways in which their products can be offered or promoted.

  1. Partners Hang Tough During a Crisis — Vendors Can Cut and Run

During a crisis such as the recent coronavirus pandemic, many vendors showed their true colours through continued inward focus on their own bottom-line health, leaving many businesses at odds for how to make needed purchases during hard economic times.

Partners stand with you in a crisis, extending terms, cutting costs, and providing additional support where needed to help support you through difficult times.

Make Clover Imaging Group Your Partner for a Stronger, More Resilient Business

At Clover Imaging Group (CIG), we take business partnerships — and your success — seriously.

When you partner with us, you gain access to a team of print and imaging leaders that are laser focused on helping you fine-tune your offerings and grow your business. Our team has in-depth industry knowledge to help you navigate market changes and consumer trends and we provide the kind of flexible business terms that help you conserve capital — without the burden of minimums and restrictions.

To remove the issue of direct-to-consumer sales, we sell exclusively to our partners, without requiring data sharing to gain access to our program offerings. With our focus on lower cost, higher margins, and customised marketing and program support, we provide you all the tools you need to succeed through good times— and bad.

Clover added an Imaging Environmental Calculator to their website that allows dealers to show their customers how much they can contribute to sustainability by purchasing a Clover reman over OEM. Together with our partners Clover puts its circular economic ethos the front and centre of everything we do. Clover’s eco-calculator is available at no cost to our clients and is a great example of why you want a partner vs. a vendor. Click here to see the calculator.

Partner vs. vendor? The choice is clear. Contact a Clover Imaging Group representative now and join our profitable family of successful dealer partners today.


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