Key Account Management

Selling to the Professional Buyer: The Issue of Supplier Choice

In my work of delivering key account management and negotiation programmes, where the focus is on Sales success through the development of close, dependent relationships with customers, the subject of professional procurement frequently arises. Because of my procurement background, I’m often quizzed about how modern-day category managers think, and what

Sales – We need to talk about Procurement

What’s happening to the Sales profession when it comes to its engagement with professional ‘Procurement’ at the customer? I honestly thought Sales professionals would all be used to dealing with Procurement by now, positively reveling in the challenge to articulate the value of their offerings to forensic, value-hungry buyers. Any

Sales: Build a Better Relationship with Procurement

You’re in a sales role? You meet with professional buyers on a fairly routine basis? You think you understand them, and their interests…. really understand them? Well, let’s take a few minutes to think about that. Salespeople rightly take pride in their ability to build new relationships, deepen existing ones,

Selling to the Professional Buyer: The Toughest of Times for Sales?

Sales has never been the easiest of careers to embark on. Calling on prospects with solutions the decision-maker doesn’t see the need for (or one that is simply dealing with other priorities) is a tough but necessary ask. It takes a special blend of personal resilience, character and optimism to make

Confusion reigns: ‘win-win’ and power in business relationships

This week we have seen Pfizer’s proposed take over of Astra Zeneca reported prominently in the media with commentators and politicians queuing up to declare the takeover as ‘against the strategic national interest’ and making reference to ‘Pfizer’s predatory asset stripping record’. It is another interesting David and Goliath story

David Atkinson presenting at SAMA Paris conference

Four Pillars will be represented by David Atkinson at the Strategic Account Management Association’s Pan-European Conference in Paris next month. David will be co-presenting with Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s Alison Smith, Senior Director Business Development, EMEA on the topic of:- “Achieving deep procurement insight to build and retain business” How Carlson

The Art of Negotiation at MPI

On Tuesday I had the great pleasure to work with an engaging and enthusiastic group at the inaugural Meeting Professionals International ‘MPI Learns’ event at The May Fair Hotel in London. With an audience of meeting planners and venue managers we discussed the ins and outs of negotiation, as we talked

Sales and procurement: a war for the ages?

Commercial history’s annals are full of anecdotes about the business-to-business buyer-seller relationship. Very few strategic account managers don’t have an epic tale of an encounter with a purchasing manager. And on the other side, most procurement professionals have plenty to say regarding SAMs. As career-long specialists from each camp, we

Taxing times for relationship managers

Yesterday, as usual, I woke up to the sound of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme and a report on the apparent infiltration of tax consultants from the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms into HM’s Treasury department.  These consultants were on short-term placement in Whitehall to help civil servants understand how tax loopholes


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