The six qualities of a great software vendor

Janette Nicholson is a Learning Technologist at McMillan, LLP, an international law firm specializing in business law, financial services, commercial real estate, competition/antitrust, and natural resource law. A longtime client of Firmex, McMillan uses our virtual data rooms for their secure document sharing needs. We asked Nicholson about what goes into picking a vendor at McMillan, and she gave us these tips.

Having to spend a good portion of your time working with vendors in the knowledge management industry can be challenging, but having a great vendor that works hand-in-hand with you along the way can really make the ride both enjoyable and effective. The following is a list of important qualities that business managers look for in a vendor relationship.

A great vendor must…

Be your ambassador

The confidence you have in your vendor to be your ambassador gives you a voice back to the product team of the vendor’s company. Being able to report specific requirements to your vendor can dramatically shape the product that they provide to you and even to other customers.

Ask what you think

A great vendor values the opinions of the customer. This shouldn’t be a new concept, but the reality is that you’re the industry subject matter expert and are using the product! As a client, doesn’t this type of camaraderie also make you feel valued?

Say hello frequently

A good vendor doesn’t show up onsite moments before your annual subscription is due to say “Hey, how’s it been going these last 11 months?”. A healthy conversation between client and vendor should be ongoing throughout the life cycle of a product.

Understand what you’re doing with the product

Sometimes we take a product and do some pretty unconventional things with it. A vendor who has been in constant contact with us throughout will have this insight and share these good news stories with other customers. It’s just being smart in business.

Poke around in your business

As someone who is often too busy to stop and provide feedback, I appreciate a vendor who’s not afraid to roll up their sleeves and use their own resources to find out what I’ve been up to. To say this is reassuring would be an understatement; often times this type of vendor activity has resulted in me not making a mistake or saving me time and energy.

Have a long term plan that they’re excited to share with you

Not knowing what the future holds in this day and age can be frightening for businesses. Having a vendor who is happy to share their product road map with you keeps everyone aware and excited for the future.

Wishing you all a great vendor experience!


McMillan has trusted Firmex as their virtual data room vendor for six years. For more information on using VDRs for client extranets, corporate document sharing, and M&A deals, go here.


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