Procurement – Friend or Foe? (Part II)
Following on from my last blog on the role of procurement I wanted to share some insight and strategies to help identify a win-win outcome with procurement.
Procurement Managers are under increasing pressure at present to deliver real cost savings. When positioning a solution make sure you can show a savings benefit that he can position with the business i.e. make him look good amongst his peers. Also try and get a clear view on procurement’s relationship with the business as you could win a useful ally if you can bolster his position internally by arming him with new innovative ways to tackle a problem that he can sell to the business.
Understand the process that procurement go through internally with the business from detailing specifications, assessing the market, going through formal evaluation process and selection and negotiation with preferred supplier. Understanding this is as important for you in setting expectations internally in your own organisation as to the effort involved and timelines of a sales opportunity.
Getting procurement to map out their sourcing process from start to finish will also enable you to identify and plan how and where you can differentiate yourselves from the competition. It is important to remember that evaluations carry a price and non-price element and a good relationship with procurement will enable you to get an indication in some instances how the evaluation is weighted.
My final conclusion is that traditional selling approaches of selling to the business and then defending your position at the very end of the cycle is not effective, particularly in today’s economic climate where the spotlight is on procurement. Be brave – invest the time with procurement as early as possible in the cycle and you can reap the benefits of selling through and not at procurement.
What are your views and experiences on the above? Let’s hear from Procurement people as well!