Preferred sellers are professional industry vendors with a longstanding history of reliably fulfilling orders, sometimes referred to as a vendor of record. Becoming a preferred lab supply seller requires vendors to prioritize their customer service, build an impressive sales record, and continuously provide buyers with their orders in a timely fashion.
However, reaching preferred seller status is not the end goal for lab supply and equipment vendors. Large biotech and pharmaceutical labs might have several dozen preferred vendors due to growth and higher demands. Suppliers want to become the go-to choice for all researchers, and be so effective in meeting their needs that folks are driven to recommend them to other teams and colleagues.
Here’s how lab supply companies can stand out as a preferred vendor to lab supply buyers at life sciences organizations.
Why Being a Preferred Lab Supply Seller Isn’t Enough
In a time of ongoing supply chain shortages and disruptions, the importance of sustaining a supplier-buyer relationship is greater than usual. While becoming a preferred lab supplier is a goal by many vendors intent on building long-lasting mutual relationships with their clients, it isn’t enough to compete in the current overcrowded market.
The rise of digital marketplaces for procuring lab supplies has had an overwhelming effect on the lab supply industry. Online marketplaces provide smaller and emerging vendors with the opportunity to reach as many potential buyers as their larger and more established counterparts. By providing the latest technology, reporting, and expertise, suppliers can become researchers’ favorite source for ongoing supply needs, at no expense to your team.
With only 6% of companies reporting full visibility on their supply chain, it’s clear that the desire for vendor transparency has risen. For preferred lab supply sellers intent on continuing to sell at a high volume, they will need to make a concentrated effort to connect with their buyers moving forward.
5 Ways to Maintain Preferred Seller Status
When a lab supplier becomes a preferred seller for an individual or collection of buyers it sends the message that they are a trustworthy vendor. And while it’s true that trust is the backbone of any successful partnership, the mutual trust between a buyer and their preferred seller is dependent on both establishing a relationship of open communication and maintaining the quality of service on the part of the supplier.
Here are five ways to cement your status as a preferred seller for biotech organizations.
1. Maintaining ongoing check-ins with your buyers
Conducting ongoing check-ins with your buyers is the first step toward transparent communication. As a rule, if you are only hearing from your buyers when they place orders or file a complaint, you aren’t communicating with them enough.
Instead, use ongoing check-ins as a way to run regular temperature checks on your buyer relationships. Determine how they prefer to be communicated with, assess their ordering schedule in order to anticipate their needs, and provide them with real-time shipping updates to ensure that they are receiving the attention and support they need.
For scientist buyers, learn about their research schedule, when they might need certain supplies and their growth plans for the coming quarters or months. Gaining an understanding of the times where they will need supplies ahead of time or more urgently can help suppliers plan ahead and anticipate their buyers’ needs.
2. Conduct regular business reviews
How often do you ask for or receive feedback from procurement customers? Because your success as a vendor relies on how well your customers determine you run your operation, it’s essential to regularly ask for business reviews to see if you are making the grade or not.
Questions to ask during reviews can include:
- What do you appreciate most about our service?
- What would you change about our service if you could?
- What form of communication do you prefer using with us?
- How easy is it for you to find supplies using our website?
- Are we your first choice when you want to purchase new products? Why or why not?
Once you’ve collected buyer feedback, use it to guide the decisions you make as you move forward with your company.
3. Provide updated and accessible cataloging
In the age of digital procurement a vendor’s strength lies in the usability of their online catalog. When vendor products are accessible through a user-friendly, searchable, and organized platform, buyers have a much easier time procuring the supplies they need than through an outdated or manual system.
When preferred sellers provide their customers with updated and accessible cataloging they are able to establish a transparent partnership where orders are placed and fulfilled precisely when they need to be.
4. Run targeted product promotions
The more insights you gain on your customers while forming your relationship with them, the more targeted sales and life science marketing techniques you can use moving forward. Once you have established yourself as a preferred seller you should have a comprehensive picture of your customer’s buying patterns and general order schedules. Then, that information can be used to run targeted promotions and discounts on those products, ingredients, and materials that are in high demand for your buyers.
5. Take a data-driven approach to monitoring your performance
The final step toward solidifying your status as a preferred seller is to take the time to assess your own performance as a lab supply vendor. Run a self-audit and walk in the shoes of your customers to ensure their procurement experience is seamless.
After the self-audit, take a data-driven approach to monitoring your performance. Determine when you have experienced the most supply chain shortages, assess your shipping delay trends, and use sentiment analysis on your customer reviews. When you are able to visualize the full scope of your performance you are better equipped to identify areas for improvement.
The preferred seller-buyer relationship is delicate and needs to be nurtured. In order to ensure you are regularly providing your customers with the quality of service they deserve, streamline your e-procurement workflow. To see if hosting your supplies in a digital marketplace is right for you, get a free ZAGENO lab assessment today.