12 Ways a Vendor Network can Strengthen Vendor Relationships
The vast world of multifamily can be difficult for vendors and contractors to navigate. Vendor networks offer companies that provide services relevant to apartment operation a way to find the thousands of properties who often need help.
But the success of vendors – and the ultimate benefit they provide to property managers – depends on the strength and support of the system behind the scenes.
Using a Vendor Network to Build Success
RealPage, Inc.’s Vendor Network, provides access to more than 12,000 apartment communities through a secure online platform. The company has focused intensely the past couple of years on enhancing the way vendors do business with property management companies by providing extensive back office support. The company employs a team of eight experienced support professionals who assist multifamily vendors and service providers, large and small.
“We’ve changed the way we do things,” says Jennifer Lester, RealPage, Inc.’s Vice President of Vendor and Spend Management. “We proactively reach out to (vendors) and help them understand that they have opportunities with customers. Our success is their success.”
A strong network provides assurances for vendors and PMCs
Lester says working through an established network provides assurances for vendors and property managers, especially in recent times, when the multifamily industry has experienced tremendous growth. The speed of business is swift, and vendors and property managers need the confidence and support that vendor management systems and networks offer.
For property managers, vendor credentialing provides secure, centralized storage for all critical documents, background checks, insurance paperwork, policy renewals and more, eliminating the need to send to multiple properties.
For approved vendors, the network platform provides online ordering, online invoicing and bid management in one location, with integration to other software.
A big benefit, Lester says, is how the system embraces vendors so they can provide a high level of service to their customers. Large vendors have a dedicated account manager available to answer questions or discuss possible solutions. Monthly calls and quarterly business reviews are designed to help vendors better navigate the system and get the most out of their relationships.
Other vendors are encouraged to attend monthly training webcasts and give feedback so they can be better served, in addition to using the tools offered for all on the network platform. They have access to a number of features that help them navigate through the system, and support is always a phone call or email away.
The right tools and support improve sales
Giving vendors all the tools and support they need – from online training to personal tutorials and service – has helped many vendors boost their business. Many vendors have tripled their average sale in the past two years, Lester says, thanks to a proactive approach that helps to identify opportunities with multifamily customers.
“We’re partnering with vendors and showing them how to be successful,” Lester said. “We’re helping them to understand how to use the system, showing them the value, reaching out to them. We’re all in this industry together, and we’re all working together for the betterment of industry relationships on both sides.”