Isn’t it time that procurement joined the party?


Isn’t it time that procurement joined the party?

Procurement can sometimes be viewed by sales teams as ‘party poopers’, intent on pouring cold water on a hot lead. It’s true that procurement do ‘put the blocks on’ sometimes, but those blocks are normally there for a reason.

Ultimately, the essential controls that procurement sometimes feel the need to apply can help to secure a sale and a long-term customer.

It’s not a case of us deliberately trying to de-rail a potential deal – far from it. The intention here is to highlight checks that will ultimately help convert a potential lead to a secure sale.

Here are some pointers that might just help procurement join – not spoil – the party:

1. Pre-engage
Winning over and keeping influential members of the sales force on side can help prevent difficult conversations later on. Having the sales force armed with the right questions for a potential customer certainly helps. Actively brief and meet with the sales team.

2. Don’t bring the shutters down
One of the big stereotypes is that procurement is full of people who say ‘no’ to everything. Try and be supportive and understanding, but of course be realistic and honest in your approach.

3. Don’t deviate
Stick to a process, otherwise the overall credibility that’s taken time and effort to establish will be damaged. Be flexible when the situation demands it but not expendable.

4. Move fast – with the sales team
At Office Depot, once a lead has been developed we get everyone together immediately to gather as much information as possible about the enquiry. Involve all relevant members and departments of the business from the outset.

By following these steps we’ve developed a much more engaged and aware sales force – and in many cases this close cooperation has helped develop long-term customers.

Getting in early with the right information and processes can save procurement and sales from travelling down different paths and ultimately help both parties reach their common end goal – happy customers!


A version of this article originally appeared online on the Supply Management purchasing and supply blog.


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