Three Ways to Separate True Tech Partners from Mere Vendors

With better technology elevating consumer expectations every few months, there’s never been a more exciting or terrifying time for bankers and lenders. Consumers expect you to know everything about them, anticipate their next big life decisions, offer the right products at those times and make it all feel unobtrusive and super easy. Plus, you must keep fixed costs low and keep your sales team focused on bankable strategies instead of overloading them with tools. 

This fintech golden age gives you options to meet all these goals, but it’s a very noisy time. So here are three ways to separate vendors who offer some cool bells and whistles from true tech partners who can power your brand and customer vision. 

Vendor Red Flag #1: No Strategic Tech Partnerships 

Too often, software is built to serve individual functionalities or isolated use cases, but banks and lenders need solutions that consider the entire customer and sales team experience in the context of the entire tech stack.  

Be wary of companies that haven’t built strategic tech partnerships. If they don’t have relationships with fellow tech companies, they’ll fall behind as current and future competitors gain momentum working together. Ideal partners don’t recommend individual functionalities or isolated use cases without first understanding the tech stack you depend upon and building (or already having) mutually beneficial relationships with those other partners to better serve you. Having this strategic mindset also means they build functionalities in a modular, open way that makes for easy integrations across the tech stack. This means easier implementation, faster adoption and more measurable ROI.  

Vendor Red Flag #2: Slow Product Improvements 

If a provider’s products are difficult to use or are unreliable, this is a red flag. The market is evolving so fast that if the product isn’t easy to use today, it’s likely to get harder to use tomorrow. This can come from the product trying to do too many things, or from the UI/UX being too cluttered. Once this complexity mindset is embedded into a software developer’s culture, it’s hard for them to simplify.  

If you are paying for a product, you shouldn’t have to worry about simplicity of user experience. It should just work, and your users should be able to learn it quickly.  

Those that can’t demonstrate an ongoing commitment to improving their solution based on your feedback likely don’t care about your feedback or long-term success. Closely examining their innovation and release cycle before you enter into a contract can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the long haul.  

Vendor Red Flag #3: A Fixation on Price and Schedule 

Steer clear of vendors that only look at the project in front of them and think in simple cost-savings. This red flag often signals a failure to focus on the long-term relationship and overall ease of use for your customers, sales team and other users. This class of vendor may force you to pay for customer service or even forego it altogether. 

Look for technology partners that provide you with all of the knowledge needed to master their tools at no additional cost to you. This includes self-serve resource libraries and access to customer service at no additional cost to you, so you never have to fend for yourself and can, instead, focus on the higher value work that will impact your bottom line. 

Pick a Partner Not a Vendor, Seek a Solution Not a Tool 

A true partner takes on the mission of your company as their own. They will adapt fast when unforeseen challenges surface. They will believe that the hard work of innovating for you is never done. And most importantly, they will measure success by how much of a hero they can make you and your organization to your customers.  

Staying ahead of customer expectations shouldn’t be terrifying. With the right partners, it should be the most exciting time in history. So, don’t assess vendors only by lining up features and functions. Instead, find real partners by testing them on how well they understand your vision to stay ahead.