/ OEM

The Difference Between a Customer and a Partner

When making a big technology purchase for your business, there are many facets to consider. Often, there’s a lot of thought put into the “what” of what you’re buying. Does the product have the features you need? Is it compatible with all of your existing systems? And how much will it cost us? But there are also lots of other factors to consider, one of which is your relationship with company you're buying from.

Most companies have the typical customer/vendor relationship and operate on the quarterly business cycle. This model comes with a number of benefits, like predictable sales cycles that aim to get you up and running quickly. But the typical quarterly sales cycle also has a number of drawbacks.

By focusing on the short term and accelerating the sales process, you create a lot of disconnects between your two companies. Your salesperson won’t likely take the time to do a lot of pre-sales activities or fully understand your needs. You’ll typically be shuffled off to an engineering team to complete the sales process, then handed off again to a post-sales team once the deal is finalized. In the customer/vendor model, there is rarely any alignment between the two companies. Customers are often in the dark when it comes to future features and there’s only limited access to the product management team to ask questions about the product roadmap. When renewal time rolls around, many customers find a lot of surprises they weren’t expecting.

For smaller purchases, and purchases that don’t involve a lot of complexity, this customer/vendor model can work quite well. But for larger, more complicated products and platforms, companies need to expect more from their vendors.

At Qrvey, we take a different approach. We don’t even have customers, we only have partners. In a partner relationship, your vendor isn’t just looking to make a quick sale and move on. Instead, they’re in it for the long haul. The sales process isn’t focused on making the sale, it’s based on the mutual success of both parties. In fact, the sales process is completely driven by the partner’s needs and timetable.

By fostering an ongoing relationship rather than a limited one, there is far more collaboration on the product roadmap and partners are often actively involved in the decisions of where the product goes next. You’ll never be handed off from department to department, instead, you’ll have access to the entire product team, including the people who started your relationship and know your company the best. There aren’t ever any surprises, because both sides always know exactly where the other stands. This is because as partners, both sides are working together.

Unlike customer relationships, partner relationships are based on the long-term, mutual success of both parties, a simple truth that both companies will come to depend on as their business grows.

  Customer/ Vendor Relationship Partner Relationship
Sales Process

High pressure, focused
on quarterly sales goals.

Low pressure, focused
on long-term success.

Evaluation

Limited in scope.
Narrow needs analysis

Broad scope.
Thorough needs analysis.

Pre / Post Sales

Isolated. Multiple
departmental handoffs.

Continuous. The right contacts
are always available.

Product Roadmap No collaboration. Extensive collaboration.
Renewals Mostly vendor controlled. Collaboratively agreed upon.
Lockdown Yes. Multi-year contracts. No. Opt out at any time.
Business Model

Many customers.
Quantity matters.

Only select partners.
Quality matters.