The Difference Between a Strategic Partner and a Vendor

Over the years, the solutions developed by the Hoopis Performance Network have been field-tested in our “living laboratory”. This philosophy of being built “by the field, for the field” has served us well since its inception. As we transitioned into the sales training and management development space, we reluctantly had to accept that we were now considered a “vendor.”

Our HPN team has joked over the years about how we’ve been relegated to vendor status. However, our team has never accepted the role of just “vendor” for a variety of reasons.

We’ve built an organization that’s truly a strategic partner for our clients, not just some vendor who is peddling products. It begs the question: What’s the difference between a Vendor vs. a Strategic Partner?

Extension of Your Training Department

Working with a Strategic Partner provides benefits to the organization beyond just the solution itself. A Strategic Partner serves as an extension of the training department. How? By providing a dedicated account team that conducts regularly scheduled onboarding and implementation calls to ensure each region, branch, and stakeholder is adopting best practices. Strategic Partners guide facilitators and coaches through their certification processes and ensure each is fully equipped to execute. They work closely with companies to create implementation and delivery calendars that provide structure yet enough flexibility to adapt to the local training culture. Strategic Partners provides turnkey marketing and promotional materials companies can use to build excitement around the execution.

Commodity vs. a Comprehensive Solution to Drive Execution

A Vendor will simply provide you with their program or content with no consultation or strategy on how to best drive adoption. The Vendor is a commodity and only concerned with getting paid for their content and will allow you to incorporate it into your LMS without a comprehensive strategy on how to drive adoption. A Strategic Partner consults on the best ways to drive adoption and will even challenge clients when content or program is being treated as a commodity vs. an integrated, comprehensive solution.

Credibility Through Field Experience and Proven Track Record

Many vendors either come from outside the industry or have never worked in the field or home office in the past. Therefore, they provide solutions that are developed in a “vacuum.” It’s prudent for home offices to leverage Strategic Partners who have a proven track record in the vertical. Not only a solution that’s been field-tested but also past field expertise so the Strategic Partner can also serve as a consultant to the home office on what typically works and doesn’t work at the field level.


There’s a big difference between a Vendor vs. a Strategic Partner. With more and more pressure being placed on time and budgets, home offices should leverage true Strategic Partners who provide comprehensive, field-tested solutions while serving as an extension of the home office team. This ultimately creates a solution in the most cost-effective, time-efficient approach possible.