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Vendor Manager Duties and Responsibilities

Daily job duties performed by vendor managers differ depending on the types of products being sold by the company and the number of vendors being used to supply the products. The core tasks associated with this job are universally the same in all companies, however.

Find Vendors Vendor managers research vendors to find the best products and prices available within a given market.

Establish Standards Vendor managers establish standards and guidelines for vendors, monitoring vendors to ensure these policies are being followed.

Hire New Vendors Vendor managers conduct interviews and meetings with new vendors.

Negotiate Contracts Vendor managers negotiate new and existing vendor contracts.

Cultivate Relationships Vendor managers cultivate and maintain relationships with vendors by communicating with them frequently to answer questions and check their satisfaction levels.

Monitor Sales Trends Vendor managers monitor sales trends, noting which items are selling faster than others, and write reports displaying this data.

Attend Company Programs Vendor managers attend company training programs and meetings.


Vendor Manager Skills and Qualifications

Vendor managers find the best vendor deals, negotiate contracts, and maintain strong vendor relationships while representing the company. When hiring vendor managers, employers look for candidates who can display all the skills needed to perform well in this career:

  • Sales – to hire vendors and monitor sales trends
  • Interpersonal skills – vendor managers interact with a variety of vendors, speaking with people of all ages and backgrounds
  • Critical thinking – to determine the best vendor prices and products available
  • Communication – vendor managers use written communication skills to write reports, vendor guidelines, and contractual language
  • Computer skills – vendor managers use computers to write reports, perform research, and monitor sales data
  • Negotiation skills – to discuss new contracts and rewrite existing contracts with vendors
  • Multi-tasking – vendor managers interact with several vendors every day and manage many different daily tasks

Vendor Manager Education and Training

A bachelor’s degree in sales, marketing, business, or a similar field is strongly preferred by most employers looking for vendor managers. Many employers are willing to consider candidates with less education who have past work experience in management and/or operations. As extensive amounts of travel are necessary for this job, vendor managers also have to have a valid driver’s license to pursue this career path. Little training is provided to vendor managers who already have the necessary experience and education to perform their job duties. Vendor managers typically begin to assume normal work tasks immediately upon being hired. In the first few weeks of employment, they work more closely with sales directors as they begin to learn their regular duties.


Vendor Manager Salary and Outlook

Employment statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents occupied more than 500,000 jobs in 2016. Their data shows that jobs for these professionals are likely to decline by three percent through 2026. Purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents earned $66,610 median annual and $32.02 median hourly pay in 2017. These professionals buy products and monitor purchasing agents, performing tasks that are similar to the normal duties carried out by vendor managers. PayScale data show that vendor managers earn $74,637 median annual income. Vendor managers commonly receive benefits packages from employers that include healthcare coverage with dental and vision insurance. Paid vacation days are typically included in benefits packages. Some employers also provide vendor managers with sales bonuses in addition to a base salary.


Helpful Resources

These valuable resources contain job listings, educational programs, practical tips, and workplace strategies for vendor managers who want to succeed:

The Global Contract Management Association – Visit this website to browse training programs, look for upcoming events, search for job openings, and use resources designed for all professionals who maintain business relationships. Vendor Management: A Comprehensive Primer – This book provides specific tips for vendor management, outlining important rules and offering strategies for solving common business challenges.

National Contract Management Association – Explore job postings, educational event dates, networking resources, and news updates for management professionals who work with business contracts at this website.

How A Vendor Manager Can Prepare For A Successful Negotiation: What You Need To Do BEFORE A Negotiation Starts In Order To Get The Best Possible Outcome – Read this book to discover multiple strategies for facilitating successful negotiations and achieving the best possible deal, skills all vendor managers need to master.

National Retail Federation – This website is designed for all retail professionals to provide job listings, event dates, and multiple resources for career advancement.

Supplier Evaluation & Performance Excellence – Learn how to evaluate vendors to lower risk, reduce costs, and achieve important business goals using the tips in this how-to book.