SaaS Vendor Relationships Are (Still) Important

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Getting long-term benefits from your SaaS purchases

When you add a SaaS app from a new vendor to your stack, you have (hopefully) done two things:

  • Provided the solution to a business problem
  • Begun a SaaS Vendor Relationship

SaaS vendor management is greater than just knowing what tool will solve a particular problem best, the best SaaS vendor relationships means working closely with your vendors as both companies and products grow. But many company contacts with their vendors begin and end when they renew their SaaS subscriptions or make an upgrade.

How does building a close relationship with your SaaS vendors benefit you and your business? Read on to find out more.

Once your business has started using SaaS tools, you’re faced with a new set of challenges like price spikes, licensing and security issues. Every new SaaS tool you add to your stack comes with a vendor relationship. Like in human relationships, the satisfaction you get depends on the time and resources you give to it.

What is a SaaS vendor management? Who is in charge of building relationships with your SaaS vendors? What are the benefits of maintaining a close relationship with your SaaS vendors?

What is SaaS vendor management?

You’re buying software, but behind the software are humans, like you. When you sign up for a new SaaS product, you’re outsourcing part of your business and IT task to the vendor.

For most SaaS users, the only contact between them and the vendor is the user interface of whatever tool they are working in. These users are scratching the surface. It’s well worth having a dedicated product owner to guide the vendor relationship and make sure your company and users are deriving the most value from the tools they are using.

A good SaaS vendor relationship involves establishing and maintaining contact and communication with your SaaS vendors regarding your interests, goals, and feedback on the product, and to better understand the vendor’s roadmap of what changes and improvements are coming to their software, so you can be set up for future success.

Who is in charge of SaaS Vendor Relationships

Procurement, IT, or/and Finance oversee SaaS vendor relationships. At larger companies, there is usually a vendor manager who either works with the vendors directly or manages those who handle this relationship on behalf of the company, i.e. the account owners.

There should always be an account owner to a particular vendor, and this person is the communication channel between the vendor and your company.

The account owner handles:

  • building relationships with SaaS vendors
  • managing SaaS usage for that particular vendor
  • strategizing renewals of subscriptions
  • reporting on value and performance
  • understanding pricing models for the licenses and
  • optimizing expenses

Why SaaS Vendor Relationships are (Still) Important

Maintaining an open line of communication and building a strong relationship between your company and your vendors gives you better negotiation power, and aids your overall SaaS spend optimization strategy.

The tech space is always changing. Your SaaS Vendors are growing at the same time as your company, and, when both of your goals are in alignment, this can be a roadmap to partnerships, joint projects, or (at the very least) locking in an “early adopter” rate and saving money as your business provides other resources (feedback, logos, testimonials) to the vendor you are working with.

An open line of communication between you and your vendor ensures you’re a part of all changes that are made to the software. Ensuring your interests, disappointments, and expectations are communicated to the vendors. This can lead to the introduction of features that will help your business scale and customizations to meet your specific business needs.

How do you effectively build SaaS vendor relationships?

You should start by having an account owner with internal responsibility for each vendor. Your service level agreements should be comprehensive and properly outlined to the last detail. Make sure you and the vendor agree on your needs and the services their tool will deliver. This will help in your communications and measurement of performance as you continue to use the tool.

The key to SaaS usage is looking at it in the long term. The satisfaction you get from a particular vendor depends heavily on the relationship you build with the vendor over the years.

Very small businesses may find this easy to handle as they’re only using so many SaaS tools. Many times, a simple spreadsheet or word of mouth will do the job. But as an organization grows, even just to a few dozen employees, the number of tools and, consequently, vendors used grows exponentially. You may quickly find it difficult to track and stay in close touch with every vendor using a spreadsheet.

Blissfully can help

Company-wide visibility into the various tools that you’re using, documentation, pricing, and usage is key to building a strong relationship with your vendors. Knowing the basics is how you build to something bigger.

An automated complete SaaS management platform like Blissfully, that comes with all the features that help you stay in front of your SaaS usage, spend, and suppliers solves the problem for medium and large scale organizations.

Blissfully (a total SaaS management tool) is designed with features that put all your SaaS vendor’s information in one place, and lets you see your company-wide SaaS environment in one glance.