Engaging with Procurement
Procurement Departments, sometimes called Buying, and increasingly Supply Chain Management, or SCM, have grown a great deal in the last few years. Often, this function is seen as “the enemy” by sales people, and of course, there is quite a chasm between what both sides want from a deal. In reality, though, we all have to spend our money wisely – in our own businesses and in our personal lives. Spending wisely should be the watchword, though: major pieces of engineered equipment, or business-critical services that don’t work, or are unreliable, or not properly supported, can have catastrophic effects on your customers’ business.
It is easy to become cynical, especially when SCM people keep telling you that everyone has the same offering so they just buy the cheapest. It may very well be a genuine perception. Whether sincere or not, it is up to you to ensure they recognize the differences.
I’m not going to go all rose-tinted specs here. Most customers train their people on procurement, and many are quite confrontational. Sometimes, it seems like a battle. If it is, does it make sense to send your (often part-time) soldiers into war with no training and no weapons?
Successful sales teams get behind this, though. They understand that each customers’ Supply Chain Management is there to provide proper support for that customer’s own business – and that comes from reliable suppliers they know will deliver. There is room for alignment, and you don’t have to be a major supplier to achieve this. You just need to know how to do it.
SCM, or Procurement, or Buying department, want you to think it is all about price, but there is much more to it than that. Uncover what really matters, and you can move to a different place.
Understand what proper SCM is and your job is far easier. They have to deliver, as well!