In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had some great conversations with practitioners, consultants, and fellow marketing geeks about the best ways of drumming up interest and enthusiasm for Spend Management initiatives inside organizations. Below are a few of my early findings from these discussions.
First, traditional change management -- I know "change management" is a horrible cliche, but consultants still use it -- activities tend to come up short from generating enthusiasm and driving adoption. Why? Change management focuses on teaching and preaching. It’s about changing the way people do their jobs -- it's not about capturing their imagination or appealing to emotion. It's also potentially threatening to internal practitioners, as change management initiatives are often led by outsiders who are sometimes viewed as threatening because "their way is the best way".
Second, the types of internal Spend Management marketing activities that appear to work best focus on winning the hearts and minds of employees -- and creating a new type of bottoms-up leadership and recognition. By highlighting the successes of the Procurement Manager or Low Cost Country Sourcing Specialist, rather than a VP or director, everyone in the organization can share in the success of the team and the broader initiatives it is pursuing.
Third, active marketing is critical. Organizations that simply license software and procure services to enhance their Spend Management capabilities are selling themselves short if they think this is enough to ensure success. Leaders apply the same rigor to marketing Spend Management as they do to monitoring and reporting on results -- and implementing the right technologies.
Marketing Spend Management successfully requires the same tools and approaches which vendors and consultants employ to generate leads and enthusiasm for their solutions and capabilities. But an internal Spend Management marketing campaign need not break the bank. It does, however, require focus, dedication, and vision. But I believe the returns from such efforts can be huge. The advisory firm I founded, Azul Partners, which focuses on market strategy and content for technology providers, is about to kick off a small, focused internal marketing program with a global procurement organization using many of the same approaches we deploy in outbound marketing efforts for our regular clients. We believe the targeted effort will be a big success, but only time will tell.
What do you think? What has your organization done to market Spend Management? What's worked? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment. I'll let you know what’s working for us and what we're learning as well.