A procurement executive recently wrote a post on LinkedIn about how salespeople aren’t good at cold calling.
The first half of his post suggests that salespeople use poor opening lines and waste time trying to build rapport, and he’s not wrong. Needless to say, if you are cold calling procurement, you have a lot to learn about selling, about who you want to call, and where you can create value.
“Where you create value” bring us to the second half of this procurement executive’s post, and it explains a lot about the disconnect between procurement people and salespeople. This procurement professional suggests that when you call him that you should tell him what you are selling, how you are different from your competitors, and specifically why you think his company would benefit from what you sell.
Then he suggests you mail him information and wait for him to need you when he lets an RFP. But he adds two things that he wants you to know: 1). He doesn’t sit around waiting on salespeople to sell him stuff, and 2) He doesn’t share business information with strangers.
No Value Created. And None Accepted.
One could argue that this procurement person isn’t creating enough value for his company. By refusing to talk to salespeople when he isn’t buying something, he is intentionally cutting himself from new ideas, learning about what other companies are doing to improve their businesses, exploring new products and services, getting to know potential suppliers who might serve him better at a level that generates trust, or proactively working to improve his company.
No one knows everything they need to know. No one has a monopoly on good ideas.
Ideas Come From Everywhere. Even Outside.
Refusing to take calls or meet with salespeople is a myopic view for someone in a leadership role. It’s a mistake for procurement people not to meet with salespeople and get to know the people and the companies they are hiring are well enough to make a decision that’s more than the result of canned responses to boilerplate questions and a price quote (speaking of scripts).
The more strategic the decision, the more salespeople you should meet. And the best of the salespeople you meet will do more than sell you a product; they’ll help you shape your strategy.