Insider Client-Side Tips On Navigating The Procurement Process
Updated: Nov 7
If you are in Enterprise Sales, you will have no doubt come across a potential new client’s procurement team. This team is responsible for sourcing goods and services in an organization. They work with stakeholders across different client departments to understand their business needs, support RFPs, and advise on budgets and vendor selection.
As Procurement teams are the “gatekeepers” in an organization, Sales Teams must understand the procurement process and how business pitches are evaluated. Based on client-side experience creating and evaluating RFPs, here are some top tips on how to best approach the procurement process.
Set yourself up for success through proper preparation
Procurement is a team sport. Don’t rely on your immediate contacts. Building relationships with various stakeholders within the procurement team can greatly influence your success
Demonstrate your points of differentiation through the lens of your audience. This presentation isn’t about you, it’s about how you solve a client’s need
Meet ahead of important calls and align on how you will make your case - what is going to be said, by whom, who is asking questions, etc.
Know how you will be measured
Teams use scorecards and checklists to assess you and your capabilities, so make sure you “tick the boxes” based on what is asked of you and your pitch
Ask what you will be evaluated on, but it is most likely going to include tangibles such as fit, price, functionality, experience, and company size; and intangibles such as whether they like this team, and if they can work with them culturally
Remember you are being evaluated everywhere. Make sure your shop window is clean - e.g. website, LinkedIn, and social media are all aligned and adding to your case. Most conversations and decisions about you will be made without you in the room
Expect to give references. Also, expect companies to research you independently of your references. Companies may want to know about your ownership or financial stability just as much as team or product capabilities
Focus on People over you and your Technology
Know who the buyer, user, and procurement decision makers are - and what problem they are really trying to solve. Ask questions and build a rapport
Look up meeting attendees on LinkedIn and check for commonalities and clues to build relationships. Plus, teams will see your profile views, which may score in your favour as good research. Not doing this may be perceived as a lack of caring
Get your decks in a row
Be clear on what you do, and the value it brings - keep it simple
Demonstrate you know their industry and pain points. Don’t clutter presentations or conversations with your internal jargon
Demonstrate your expertise - with testimonials and proof relevant to your audience's problems. Avoid generic vanilla solutions
If possible, can you preview your presentation with an internal ally ahead of the main event, for tips and tricks
Do not outnumber your audience. Make sure all attendees from your side contribute and speak. Allocate one team member as a note-taker
Need help navigating the Procurement process? Jim Gomes and I can help maximize your chance of success. Jim is a Finance and Procurement veteran from Nokia, Disney, and Sony. Mike Ridgewell is a D2C marketer on a mission to put the human touch into B2B. We partner to help teams understand the procurement process, and mentor teams through the RFP process. Contact us for an introductory call to find out more.