Sales Productivity

How to make procurement your best friend in the sales process

You spend a huge amount of time building a strong relationship with key sales contacts in the enterprise sales process. Then when it comes down to crunch time and a buying decision you have to then also start dealing procurement as well.

Over the years,  I have been on the end of huge wins and just as big losses. What has always been vital is the strength of the relationship and the trust that you build with procurement. Most people ignore this opportunity and just follow a process. Here are some simple ways to help make procurement your best friend in the sales process.

Understand their main objectives and how they measure success

Remember they have a manager and are part of a team just like you.  They have objectives and a targets to achieve as well. You do not need to stop selling just because you are dealing with procurement.  Ask them what their main objectives are. You need to very quickly find out what they are most focused on and how they will be measuring their success. Is it finding a vendor with the best service? Lowest price? Biggest return on investment?  When you know this you can really work on  showing them the value in that area first.

Involve them in the buying process early

When you’re going through the sales process, especially if your know it will eventually end in an RFP or Tender, get your sales prospect to start inviting procurement to your meetings. This way you can start to build a working relationship with them. You can get ahead of your competitors by starting to read your contacts personality and learning the best way to work with them.

value quality diagram concept hand drawing on whiteboard

Speak to them at every opportunity

Often you will get asked to email all your questions to them by X date so they can send  a standard response to everyone.  If you have any questions, always reach out to your contact via email and ask to speak to them. Set up a call. It’s simple, just say you have a detailed question and would like to talk through it. They will nearly always say  “Yes”.  This gives you another chance to get  to know them and understand how they operate.

Get them to see your product or service

Dealing with procurement when they do not understand how your product or service actually works is most frustrating. You need to help them understand the value of your offering. And why they should select your solution. Believe it or not, just by reading a proposal they may not see the benefits of how you can help without seeing your product or service for themselves. There is no rule to when this must happen.  At some point in the process you MUST, and I repeat,  you MUST get them to see and use your product to give yourself the best chance.

Don’t try to be smart or difficult

Put yourself in their shoes. Have empathy with the job they are trying to do.  Procurement may be awkward or difficult. This can especially happen in the negotiation phase. Don’t try to fight fire with fire. This will not help you get your desired end result.  Once you know what they are trying to achieve, work with them to get to a fair result that will make you both happy. If you make their life easier and have a give and get mentality, your outcomes will be much better for both of you.

I hope this helps

One last thing.. Introducing #SalesShaketv

Sales Shake TV is launching in April to answer questions on all things sales, want to feature on the show email your questions here or tweet them to @TomLavery7 with the #salesshaketv


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