Rapport and loyalty still remain major factors, however the criteria that buyers and decision makers use to make purchase decisions has become a little less subjective over the last decade and will become even less subjective in the future. After all, business is business and knowledge is power. I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't meet your buyer for lunch, or that you shouldn't know the name of their children or where they plan on going for vacation this summer. Bonding will always be critical. However, every bit as critical are quantifiable success factors.Customer relationship management (CRM) has rapidly grown over the years to become an important part of every other business - most of which have put CRM software to good use. Marketing as we all may know is crucial for the success of every business since the amount of profit gained from the sale of a company's products and or services is directly related to how well they are being marketed. As businesses improve their marketing and advertising strategies the number of sales they experience start to increase meaning they have to cater to a larger number of customers and clients than before.This is where customer relationship management software comes in to provide a great management solution to businesses of all sizes. Those quantifiable success factors are now captured in vendor report cards. Sometimes buyers will produce that document based on their criteria from their information, or sometimes they want you to produce that document, based on their criteria but with your information. If they are the ones producing the document, the last thing you would ever want is to be surprised by the contents! It is essential to be aware of your critical success factors with each key account such as turns and gross margin, whether sales are up or down on each product, what promotions were successful and why, how co-op marketing dollars have been allocated and the success of the related marketing campaigns. If you're not utilizing vendor report cards with your key accounts, you should be!