How well does your core vendor account manager know your bank?

Does he or she know your bank’s business strategies and goals? Has your vendor ever asked what those are? If not, then what kind of a relationship do you have with your vendor?

When I discuss this with my clients, I often hear this response: “My vendor shows up once a year to sell new software.” I hear this frequently from banks that have engaged me to perform a core vendor evaluation.

I understand that account managers have a job to do. Part of that job is to promote and to sell products and services. If your conversations revolve around products, services and sales, then your bank really doesn’t have a mutually beneficial relationship, does it?

At least not a relationship that is supportive of your bank’s goals. Simply put, your bank has become a cash cow. Your vendor’s internal sales goals are more important than your bank’s goals. In most cases, you will buy services from your core vendor because you have quite frankly, no other choice. And, your vendor knows it.

A meaningful relationship depends upon your vendor understanding your current objectives. For example, is the vendor aware that your 2016 objectives include increasing fee income, or entering a specific market? Will the vendor respond with recommendations to help you achieve those objectives? Vendors should become more supportive in helping their clients achieve their objectives by offering solutions to assist banks in meeting specific goals rather than just promoting their product du jour.

Unfortunately, some vendors don’t have the depth of service, expertise, communication skills, or intention to pull this off effectively. They have not evolved to this level of relationship building, and their sales and service structure does not support this initiative. If your vendor isn’t communicating at a level that signifies a deeper understanding of your needs and a more productive relationship, schedule a meeting with your account manager’s boss. It is time for a frank discussion. It will soon become clear whether your bank is truly a valued customer, or just a cash cow. With that knowledge, you can make a determination if this is a company that has earned your business.