Why do so many sales trainers and sales directors convince you not to focus on procurement and sourcing professionals? Why is procurement often degraded in the sphere of influence? And why is procurement unfortunately, only part of the discussion in the end? After reading this post, you will be able to recognize how valuable procurement professionals really are. And you will start putting procurement, at the very center point of your sales account planning and prospecting initiatives.
Exposure to more sales deals and projects via procurement
I personally strongly disagree with the strategy, not to focus on procurement at all. As a matter of fact, I have made some of the best deals together with, and thanks to procurement. Also thanks to my extensive network of procurement contacts from the past, I have been invited to participate in many great Request For Proposals. Projects that otherwise, only would have gone straight to the competition.
If you develop and maintain great relationships with your procurement contacts, you will always be able to get ahead of your competitors in a new job. You can just make a phone call and reach out to your existing network of procurement contacts, who already know and trust you. It is easy to meet them and to receive new requests for proposals. Immediately and without wasting any time.
Therefor, You should start investing in your relationship with procurement officer right now.
Easy to meet and to gain further introductions via procurement
Nowadays it is extremely difficult to get the right decision makers on the phone. It is almost impossible, as I have already explained in detail in one of my previous posts , describing that cold calling does not work anymore.
Neither can you rely on a vague verbal indicative commitment from these decision makers, that a project may be coming soon and that they will contact you. It is the type of feedback you usually get, once in a while when one of your cold-calls accidentally break-through.
The decision maker on the phone, is just trying to get rid of you. It is bad for forecasting accuracy and bad for time management. Instead, if you manage to get close to the right procurement experts, they can often give a firm date when a new project will be released.
Importance of category managers
Also these procurement officers will work close with various category managers. These category managers are the true sourcing experts in their field of expertise. These category managers know exactly what requirements need to be sourced from the market, when and based on what criteria.
This is why I truly value prospecting and business development initiatives via procurement and category professionals. It is much more effective, than trying to get all sorts of potential decision makers on the phone and waste time cold-calling. Also it is much easier to make an appointment with procurement.
Faster introductions to real decision makers
Via procurement it is much easier to schedule a follow up appointment, with one of the real decision makers. Procurement will often refer you and make introductions, if you can provide the right value to the company.
Emphasize and sell total value in your meeting. And how you will help them solve a problem. How you will enable them to save costs, increase efficiency and increase profitability. But also do not be afraid, to emphasize that you want to help procurement source it all, at the best possible price.
Sales and procurement: a deal-making duo
Procurement professionals are responsible to source a product or service, against the best possible price and terms. And get the best value and solution for the company. Many incompetent sales- and micro managers argue that procurement’s sole task, is just to get the price down and get massive discounts. This is just not true! The moment you accept and recognize, that procurement is just like Sales, trying to get the best deal and value for money, it changes everything.
I recommend that you work close with procurement, find out what you can do to help them. And discover what is expected from them by the higher management. What are their targets and individual objectives? Help them achieve their goals and in return, they will help you in deal-making and becoming the preferred supplier.
Large organizations with a complex sphere of influence, are best approached, via direct communication with procurement first and at the center of all your business development efforts. That does not mean that you should stop contacting other key decision makers. But by putting procurement first and admitting in your meeting with procurement, that they are most important. You will automatically set yourself up for success and ultimately will close more deals.
Your opinion on selling via the procurement department
So what do you think? Are you a believer in the traditional model of direct selling and classic business development? Looking to map and engage with a very large and complex sphere of influence? Or are you now looking at procurement differently? And will you start focusing on procurement more often? I will be looking forward to hearing from you!
This is an excerpt from the book “The corporate sales winners guide: Transform your life and become a top sales performer” by Gerrit Jan de Vries. View the ebook and the paperback version on Amazon.