What is The Flip Side?
As a buyer, have you ever noticed how much effort sales teams put into the training, strategy, and education of their people? If you type "sales training" into Google, you get well over FOUR MILLION hits. In order to put that figure into perspective, typing "procurement training" into the same search engine pulls only 235,000 results.
So what does this mean? Does this mean that we as procurement professionals are such fearsome opponents that sales people need over 18 times as many programs to keep up with us? As hard as we have worked to get where we are, that's probably not the case. A more likely explanation is that it is easier for companies to see the connection between the success of their sales force and the bottom line than it is for them to make the same connection with procurement. And if they aren't making the connection, then they also aren't making the same investment in training us.
We think that the best answer to this imbalance is to arm ourselves with the best sales techniques by "flipping" them to a buyer's perspective. Every Tuesday, we take a look at sales blogs, webinars, and information from 'The Sales Guy' to help you prepare for negotiation, collaboration, and supplier management with your eyes wide open.
Here are some links to recent Posts from the Flip Side that your colleagues found particularly interesting:
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’.
Like the full blog post, it is important for procurement to possess primary and secondary skill sets: spend analysis, negotiation, project management, written and spoken communication, critical thinking, and more. The consultative dimension to a professional's capabilities is about applying their foundational skills in a dynamic, forward-looking way.
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.
As he says in this video, there is no silver bullet to becoming a better negotiator, but rather many smaller skills that will help you perform better. Most of us only negotiate large, high investment purchases like houses, cars, and salaries. As a result, we don’t get practice as often as we would benefit from.
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.
It is true that there has been a recent push to collaborate with our strategic suppliers in order to innovate as well as to manage costs. The relationships that form when this is done successfully can be mutually beneficial and critical to the success of both. What we didn’t intend, and may not have even realized, is that through this progression many of our product supplier relationships are now being managed like professional services categories should be. The model that we need to following in bidding out and managing our services suppliers are already in place in our own departments.