Ever hit a brick wall when trying to sell to someone in procurement? These notoriously tough, highly trained professionals are experts at commoditising any offer.
That reputation leads many of us to step into a procurement negotiation with the hatches battened down, prepared for the worst. While there’s a benefit to preparing for the worst (as it tells you what point you should walk away), it’s not the right place to start.
Taking an adversarial stance means that you fail to uncover value for procurement or creativity that could differentiate you and close the best deal. Instead, you’re left to talk about price and volume.
Walk a mile in their shoes
To have success with procurement you must treat it with the same care you treat your buyer. Slow down your thinking, pause, and consider the people across the procurement team and what they really want.
We adapt tools from ethnography for this; during our workshops, sales teams take a fresh look at all the people they need to engage, including procurement.
This means that from the planning stages of a prospective piece of business, procurement teams are already being considered as an important partner, not a foe.
In turn, with their objectives considered from the outset, our clients are better positioned to work with procurement teams, and achieve a successful outcome.
This approach allows you to:
- Align your offer and positioning to their objectives — building value
- Co-create the steps to buy — building ownership and accountability
- Bring procurement in earlier and deeper — building advocacy, and control of the close and terms