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Sales vs Procurement

Every Salestor is an army in themselves. And every army needs assistance decking up for the war.

We have seen how Salestors can forge a better relationship with legal, operations and finance. Now let’s take a look at our relationship with the procurement department.

While Sales is the force of the revenue generators, Procurement’s primary role is to quickly get the best solutions to the organisation at the lowest possible price. It can be challenging for Salestors to connect with the Procurement in-house or on the client’s side to close a deal.

A few things can help resolve any impending conflict between Sales and Procurement. Let’s take a look.

1. Analyse Procurement’s Stand

Imagine this. Your client assures you of closure within a week, and on the evening of the sixth day, you get to know that the ball is in Procurement’s court. The idea is not to sulk at their wild card entry but make the most of the situation. Although Procurement is seldom the final decision maker, it could be an influencer in the client’s system. Therefore, it is crucial to analyse their stand in the deal. Both Sales and Procurement’s underlying goals involve a product sale at the best price.

Two things matter:

  • The person you are interacting with, their designation, background, and any personal history of slamming most products that come at their doorstep.

  • Your ability to prove the worth of your product in their business model.

2. Evaluate the Deal’s DNA

Tom Kinnaird and Hal Movius in Harvard Business Review suggest evaluating a deal’s three qualities for a better outcome:

  • Decision Makers: Who has the power to roll out the final word.

  • Negotiators: Who sits at the other end of the table for negotiation and their perspective.

  • Advocates: Who will be affected by the outcome of the discussion and can affect the decision making.

3. Give Complete Information

Ensure everyone concerned in the client’s company knows your product/service well and can assist their organisation. Try giving them a feel of the product through demos or free trials and ensure you have scored brownie points with the decision-makers who can push your product higher up in the client’s system.

4. Strategise with the Frenemy

If the deal you are working on will involve RFP or other such lengthy procedures, Mercuri International suggests involving your Procurement team at an early stage. The Procurement people have a more profound knowledge of such processes, and their involvement might help you close the deal sooner.

5. Do Not Submit to Pressure

Procurement’s main aim is to negotiate the best buy amongst all the vendors and not focus on the best pitch. So don’t freeze if you don’t hear applause on the USPs of your product from them. A good purchase at a great price matters more to them than your value proposition.

Have more anecdotes from your experience? Share in the comments below!

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