The annals of commercial history are full of anecdotes about the B2B buyer-seller relationship. Variously described as a contest, a war, a win/win partnership, a value-adding collaboration, a strategic venture, there are very few sales people who don’t have an epic tale to tell about an encounter with a purchasing manager. And, on the other side of the fence, most procurement professionals have plenty to say about sales people!
We wanted to find out how the sales function interacts with procurement in 2012, and for this reason, we decided to re-run a survey we carried out in 2007 which revealed some stark messages about Sales’ preparedness for dealing with this rapidly evolving function. We also added some new questions to the original survey to make for a richer picture.
In essence, the research showed sales people being reactive, transactional, overly focused on face-to-face behavioural negotiation tactics, and unaware of the strategic, analytical and longer term methods being employed by, arguably, a superiorly-educated procurement profession.
Our conclusions are that sales and account management must:-
- Do their homework; undertake Analysis Before Action
- Recognise procurement is after your job as The New Trusted Advisor
- Understand the Levers of Power and Value at play in their key relationships
- Ditch any avoidance behaviour and accept that it’s now Time to Engage with Procurement
We debate the survey results from both the Sales and Procurement points of view, and suggest that no longer this issue can be ignored by suppliers where procurement is in the game.
Click on the link to read the report.
By David Atkinson