The Flip Side: Quarterly Business Meetings
“The Flip Side” is a buyers meeting point resource where we take sales training and information, along with direct input form our own undercover sales advisor to bring you a better rounded perspective on your own position.
Anthony Iannarino, writer of the “The Sales Blog”, recently wrote about how sales people can do more to prepare for (and benefit from) quarterly review meetings. There is plenty being discussed in procurement right now about the value we are expected to generate from our supply chain, and as such I think we could do more ourselves. Click here to read Anthony’s post.
Before I take the highlights from his post and share what I think the procurement learnings are, let me say this… you (should) want your suppliers to do well.
Once the contract is final and the implementation takes place, you are no longer in an “us” and “them” situation. If a supplier fails, and that failure is visible to the rest of the organization, you will be perceived to have failed too. This is true whether you are dedicated to procurement and hand the contract off to others to manage or whether you are a full time category or supplier manager. You and your process resulted in the award decision, so you should feel invested in that supplier’s success.
One of the challenges that may naturally arise is making the transition from an adversarial evaluation or negotiating position to that of collaborator. Believe in your process. If your account is transitioning at the supplier, and you feel the need for additional assurance of their capabilities, just tell them and give them an opportunity to erase your doubts – or at least work out the kinks in a less visible way.
The Sales Blog: “Collect & Resolve Dissatisfaction Ahead of Meetings”
This is a burden that should be shared equally. In business, no one should ever truly be surprised. If you wait until a meeting to air your grievances, you have lost an opportunity to resolve issues expediently, and that should be the primary goal. This goes back to my introductory statement about a shared fate: you can’t force your organization through a process which leads to an award decision and then sit in a room with that supplier 90 days after implementing and try to act like the supplier is a disappointment without casting doubt on your process and value to the organization.
The Sales Blog: “Your client wants to be heard”
Please – if you are arranging a supplier review meeting, have something TO SAY. You don’t have to be clever about it, just productive. If you don’t know where to start, go back to the contract. Is everything you agreed to happening as it should be? Is there anything the supplier is being measured on? If you hand off daily management of a supplier or category to someone else in the organization, did you check in with them to see if intent has become reality? If there are issues, be sure to bring documentation with specific examples. Give the supplier something they can actually fix.
The Sales Blog: “Dig in and resolve the issue”
Be part of the solution. Especially if an issue has arisen, be able to give regular informed updates to your stakeholders. If the solution to the problem is iterative, have a regular daily phone call if needed until the problem is fixed. Keep in mind that this also provides an opportunity for you to prove your value to the business. The more involved you are, the more you will learn. You are making yourself an asset to your company – which is always a good thing.