Managing Vendors – Articles by Jim Everett

Tips on managing vendors, skills and competencies required

Leadership: Vendor Managers Careers

Posted on | September 1, 2011 | CLICK HERE TO COMMENT OR ASK QUESTION


When working as a vendor manager, or having responsibilities for the work done and delivered by a vendor, the individual should look at how that role serves and helps his or her career. It may hinder the career if the role is a relatively dead-end area, with little visibility, learning or scope to demonstrate skills. Or it may be a boost if the person develops and applies leadership skills. This continues from the previous post on careers.


Some positive ways a vendor manager role can help a career are:

  1. Opportunity to pursue a career in outsourced work and managing larger projects
  2. Bridge to managing other leveraged work, partner programs or reseller sales networks
  3. Greater responsibilities sooner than being promoted to line manager
  4. Gain business experience, building management and leadership skills for other career moves
  5. An opportunity to demonstrate those management skill and leadership to a greater extent than possible as a subject matter expert and individual contributor
  6. Visibility and access to broader parts of the company, building networks through dealing with stakeholders and client departments
  7. Gain broader industry knowledge through the vendor and their networks
  8. Gain experience working with other business models, countries and cultures
  9. Add vendor management and leadership to their repertoire of skills
  10. Build up the resumé.

It is important for a vendor manager to document successes and his or her role in that, initiatives taken, differences made, problems solved, examples of leadership and management in action. Where possible, keep emails as testimonials for his or her work, from the vendor, internal stakeholders, or other involved in the process.

What skills and areas expertise are built or strengthened in the process of managing and leading vendors? Here are just a few…

  1. Integrating work of different parties, and balancing needs and expectations
  2. Skills to run meetings with a range of interests and people from different areas
  3. Working with internal and external stakeholders
  4. Working with contracts and agreements is a broadly applicable business skill
  5. Seeing performance in terms of outcomes and final results, not just behaviors
  6. Analyzing and interpreting data and performance metrics
  7. Negotiation skills, and effective communication of needs and expectations
  8. Managing remote and mixed teams, other companies, countries and cultures
  9. Serving and communicating with stakeholders – internal and external
  10. Planning and problem-solving, working to deadlines

So, with all this in mind, a vendor manager, or their manager, need to do a stocktake of their job, the leadership component and potential, levels of expertise in leading others, and from that identify what further development is needed and how that will be best done. This will continue in the next post.


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About Think180

Think180 helps companies get best results with service providers (vendors). Our core product is an in-house customizable workshop for Vendor Managers, or entire teams who outsource. This has been run for many clients, including Palm, Philips, Harrah's, BP USA and Canada, Vantive, Alkermes, Avaya, Government of Canada, Fidelity Investments, Quantlab and others.

We now also can offer live and interactive videoconference services and webinars, Training Modules for team events, planning tools and consulting on Vendor Manager competencies, and 1:1 coaching for individuals with videochat (desktop and mobile) on managing vendors.

Call Jim Everett 310.346.8042 for more information to assess if these service are of value to you.

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