Partners, Vendors and Competitors

In this lesson we look at Partners, Vendors and Competitors, including when you would use each of these, and how to set them up. We talk about the partner and vendor centers, and allowing them to log into NetSuite, and talk about partner commissions and vendor terms, as well as using vendors across subsidiaries. We wrap up by covering the competitor record, and how you can use it to track competitors’ strengths, weaknesses and products, your strategy against them, and then how you can use all of this to help increase sales.

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Partners, Vendors and Competitors are all three entity record types in NetSuite, and they can be used to help you manage your business. We’ll take a look at each of them in this video. I think it’s pretty easy to understand what these are and what they are used for. Partners can be found under Lists, Relationships and Partners. If I click on this, I get a list of partners I currently have in the system. I can create a new one by clicking on New Partner, or I can edit an existing one by clicking on Edit in the corresponding line. These records are similar to most other entity records. We can enter various information up here in the header section, and enter information into the subtabs. We can attach contacts to partners, just like we can with other records. Partners are special because of the role they play in the system. Generally, partners are those entities that bring business to you, but do not work directly for you like sales reps do. Partners can be assigned commission schedules, and we looked briefly at this in the last chapter. You can view how much business a partner has brought in through various reports. Partners can also be granted access to NetSuite, through the partner center. In this way, you can give them access to the system, and have them bring customers directly to you, while not having to expend too much effort. Since the partner center can be customized, you can also provide them with access to resources to help them generate more business for you. If you have partners, and you are serious about having them generate revenue for you, I strongly recommend investing some time in getting them and the partner center setup. The things you can do with them are pretty remarkable, and most of it comes built in and is easy to setup. Vendors are companies that you purchase something from. This can be merchandise that you will use internally, stock and resell later, or even drop ship to customers. Vendors are located under Lists, Relationships and Vendors. Here again, we see a list of all our vendors. Just like with partners, we can create new ones, or we can edit existing ones; I’ll click to create a new one. Vendors are mostly straight forward, and there are only a few things I feel are necessary to point out. Unlike some other relationships that have to belong to one subsidiary, vendors can interact with multiple subsidiaries. There is always going to be a primary one, but you can add all of your other subs. This avoids the problem of having vendors listed multiple times just so that different subs can purchase from them. For example, maybe you buy vehicles from Ford. You can have a single Ford vendor record, yet have multiple subsidiaries interact with, and purchase from, this vendor. The rest of these tabs contain information you would probably expect to see. The only one that may seem a bit out of place is the marketing tab. Usually, most companies don’t market to their vendors, though you certainly could. Under the Financial tab, you can enter the terms and credit limit you have with the vendor, and this is later used for AP aging. Like partners you can also give vendors access to your NetSuite system, using the vendor center. This center role is similar to the partner center as well, though the functionality differs. Competitors is kind of unique to NetSuite, or at least I have not really seen it in any other systems I have worked with. Basically, competitor records allow you to keep track of what your competition may be doing. They are found under the same Lists and Relationships menu, where these other records were found. I’ll go ahead and create a new one. This layout probably looks similar to a SWOT table, and it is used in a similar manner. We can list the primary strengths and weaknesses of our competitors, as well as what strategy we will use against them. This products and services field is usually used to list your competitor’s products, since you should already know your own. In the ideal world, the way this works is that your sales team can view your competitors. The competitors can be attached to opportunity records, and the sales team can use this information to convince potential customers they should buy from you, as opposed to your competition. This also helps keep your sales team on the same page, so if a potential customer speaks with your organization, everyone is towing the same line. Another benefit to using the competitor record is, if you keep track of why you won a sale, you can add that information to competitor records, for the competitors that were involved. This means that next time you face the same competitor, you are more likely to triumph. You should now have an understanding of Partners, Vendors and Competitors, as well as how they work in your system.
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