For anyone that has ever run an eSourcing project, there is a typical flow that most processes follow. The project kicks off, and everyone’s focus is split between costs and known issues with the incumbent suppliers(s). Procurement uses historical spend to put together a list of line items with quantity and specification data. The company’s standard list of supplier questions is loaded into the eRFX system, along with any additional questions for suppliers that relate to the category of spend in question or new developments in the industry being sourced from. Everyone works frantically until the day the RFP opens and then – you wait. The project comes to a complete standstill for the two weeks (e.g.) that the RFP is open. Then the mad dash begins again as you wade through and evaluate supplier responses, pricing, and attachments.
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One of the interesting things about consistently reading and hearing content from quality sources is that you start to notice trends. It is amazing how often the same topics arise at the same time in different places. We use this blog as a way to help you stay on top of the major themes in procurement and supply chain management.
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”
― John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury (1834 - 1913)
This week's trip to the Flip Side is a humorous - and visual - look at the many perceptions of sales people. We came across an image last week that represents how sales people are perceived by their friends, customers, and society as a whole as well as the way they see themselves versus what their job is really like. We also had our undercover sales advisor, “The Sales Guy” interpret the reality of the situation. Visuals are a great way to communicate subtle differences, and this will allow you to laugh as well as to gain some additional insight into the complex, multi-faceted world of being a sales account rep.
Without further ado, here is the picture:
This week’s Flip Slide notes are from ValueSelling Associates, a sales training and professional skills development organization. The audio from the webinar as well as the slides are available on their website.
As with the other content we cover on The Flip Side, the message of this sales training session is absolutely applicable to a procurement audience. In fact, if once I’ve shared the list of the ‘5 Keys’ with you, it doesn’t even really look like advice for sales.
Last week, MyPurchasingCenter hosted a webinar called, ‘Innovating With Suppliers To Cut Costs, Support Growth, And Navigate An Uncertain Economy’. The main speaker was from Vantage Partners, a Boston-based management consulting firm specializing in negotiation skills development. We don’t usually cover events presented to a buy-side audience on The Flip Side, but this particular event shared a significant amount of supplier perspective on innovation between buyer and supplier.
You can view/listen to the event on demand on MyPurchasingCenter's site.
As part of Buyers Meeting Point's ‘Flip Side’ resource, we often read sales blogs and attend sales webinars to take the trends we see and apply them for the benefit of supply management and procurement professionals. A recent post by S. Anthony Iannarino, author of ‘The Sales Blog’ covered the foundational and secondary skill sets possessed by most successful sales people, then went on to describe the additional competencies that will be required for ‘The New Consultative Salesperson’.
In the Flip Side, Buyers Meeting Point takes knowledge from sales training, webinars, blogs, and whitepapers and flips them so supply management professionals can apply the information to their own challenges. Negotiation is one of those areas where this concept works particularly well. After all, negotiating is negotiating, regardless of which side of the table you are on. This week we will hear from ‘The Accidental Negotiator,’ Dr. Jim Anderson about negotiation.
We have all been in stores when the sales clerk comes up and asks if they can help you. What is our standard response? "No thanks, I am just looking."
As a procurement professional, we use different terms but the message to the sales teams is the same. I am not parting with any funds until I am good and ready!! With the Sales Guy interview last week, I thought it would be good to look at sales blogs for some basics on how they get beyond our "No thanks, just looking" excuses.
On January 31st “The Sales Guy”, BMP’s undercover sales advisor, was the featured speaker on the Strategic Sourcing & Procurement Group Call. We recommend that you become a member of the SS&P Group if you aren’t already.
If you are interested in learning more about The Sales Guy and the insights he has offered through Buyers Meeting Point, you can read our Posts from the Flip Side or submit a question to him to be answered in our blog. You can also listen to the call recording on demand.
Thanks to the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, one of today’s largest procurement/sales challenges is easy to put into words. We talk about the need for partnerships and collaboration, but how often do we successfully take the effort beyond talk so that it includes open and productive conversation with our reps and supplier account managers?
In our past conversations with The Sales Guy, he reminded us of the important role the calendar plays in a supplier’s sales strategy and execution. So as we start a new calendar year, we caught up with TSG to see what we should expect our sales counterparts to be focused on right now…
Last week I attended a webinar called “Negotiating To Win: Strategies And Tactics For Sales Professionals”, presented by ValueSelling Associates. Even though the intended audience was sales professionals, negotiating is negotiating, regardless of which side of the table you are sitting on. As a reminder, if you like the “Flip Side” perspective, check out our sales blog and resource directory for our favorite sources of sales information.
This week’s trip to The Flip Side is brought to us through a webinar held last week by the TAS Group, a sales methodology and training company. The event was called “Maximizing Renewal Revenue – Continuing to Deliver Value to Earn the Renewal”. Just so we’re all on the same page, Renewal revenue is sales speak for what we consider awarding business to an incumbent supplier.
Other than a brief introduction of each panelist at the beginning of the event moderated by ES Research, this was an entirely unrehearsed, unscripted discussion among four industry experts in the area of selling and negotiating with the corporate procurement function. Live questions were taken from the audience via telephone. There were no slides. One of the speakers on the call described procurement and our processes as being "like trying to get a peek behind the curtain of Oz".
“Do not arouse the wrath of the great and powerful Oz. I said come back tomorrow.”
-- The Wizard of Oz, 1939
Last week’s featured event notes were focused on the challenges specific to the procurement of complex services. As a continuation of that, I did some reading on the differences in SELLING professional services.
One of my favorite places to go for sales white papers is Huthwaite’s resource library. If you are interested in more, you can download their whitepapers and read them yourself – no registration process required.
Last week I attended a great webinar (sponsored by the Next Level Purchasing Association) on Procurement Innovation where Peter Nero from Denali Group discussed just how critical a customer service orientation is to the future of procurement within the organization. While I listened to him discuss some of the changes procurement will need to make to improve the status quo, I couldn’t help but think about how sales reps deal with demanding customers on a regular basis. And for them, not satisfying those customers often means not getting a sale.