Discovery: 3 Tips to Make Negotiating Partner Contracts Easier

March 30, 2018

So, you’re the person at your institution tasked with working with a wide variety of course material vendors. From publishers and digital content providers to EdTech companies, each has its own unique requirements and specific way of doing business. There are many moving parts. Which means you have plenty of things to juggle, keep track of, and not let fall through the cracks when negotiating a contract. Geez, it can feel overwhelming.

Working with multiple partners with different contract terms is a big job. How do you keep it all straight?

It’s a question I asked Courtney Kral, Ed Map’s Integrated Content Network Team Lead. She knows firsthand the ins and outs of negotiating an important partner contract. And she understands how working with an outside partner can have a positive impact on your institution’s mission and ultimately support all students’ success.

Watch the quick video below. Learn from Courtney as she shares how to reduce the workload for the accounting department, avoid costly late fees, improve student experience, and overall just make life easier when negotiating your next partner contract!

Coordinating multiple course material partners during a contract negotiation can feel a little out of control. There can be pitfalls. Confusion about contract terms may result in late fees if you miss a payment date. And then there’s the possibility of unnecessary manual work for the accounting department to provide the publisher’s specific reporting needs — that’s never a good thing.

Using our three tips will make your next partner contract negotiation go smoother and make your life easier!

#1 Decide What Your Ideal Payment Policy Is
Would you like an invoice for each purchase order or would a monthly statement be better? Do you prefer to pay Net45 or Net60? Use the contract negotiation process to establish the same payment policy across all publishers and partners. This will make it easier to keep track of due dates, thus avoiding late fees. Cha-ching!

#2 Establish Service Level Agreements During Contract Negotiation
It’s never a good feeling to hear that a student received an eBook that is missing 15 pages. You will be able to provide a much better student experience if you can confidently inform him or her that the publisher will address the issue within “x” number of hours. When possible, establish a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the publisher’s initial response to the student and a second SLA for issue resolution. Be as detailed as possible and try to keep the same SLAs across all partners. Everyone wants happy students!

#3 Include Data That Is Easy to Provide
During contract negotiations, you can also streamline your external reporting. Learn what information most publishers typically require and make a list of the data points that you can easily provide to them via reporting. Explicitly list those data points in the contract during negotiations. You can also negotiate and codify the reporting frequency. These steps can result in pulling the same report for each partner’s specific sales. That’s time savings!

Want to learn more? Be sure to check out a few spotlight stories highlighting our partnerships with educational trailblazers from The American Women’s College at Bay Path University, Hodges University, and Thomas Edison State University.

Mark Christensen

Senior Director of Marketing

Mark Christensen has worked in K–12 and higher education in various roles throughout his career from teacher to administrator to ed-tech marketing communications. He currently works with Ed Map, helping institutions navigate today’s dynamic and changing content landscape. He holds his MBA in Marketing from Rivier University and his Ed.D. in Curriculum & Technology from Plymouth State University/Argosy.

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