Psst. I'm about to let you in on one the most secretive elements of services procurement (let alone regular procurement) success when it comes to identifying, implementing and sustaining results. This cloak-and-dagger subject has nothing to do with hiring the right team, using the best technology or getting the best support through a consulting or managed services provider (MSP). Nor is this secret particularly deep -- it's about as superficial as it gets. What is it? It's specific tips and tactics for marketing services procurement inside your organization. In our jobs, it's important not to underestimate the challenges we face in convincing multiple services spend stakeholders that change is a positive thing. Effecting positive change requires thinking through all of the political, emotional, technical, economic, organizational and power challenges that may disrupt the status quo through procurement's involvement. Overcoming these hurdles requires not just empathy, but also the ability to lead with a clear vision and inspire others to join your cause, bringing them into a success story before the plot has completely unfolded (and allowing them to take credit for results).
What are the best ways to winover spend stakeholders and make them part of your team (versus adversaries) on the path to savings and compliance? Read the latest Spend Matters Compass series research brief to find out. Spend Matters Compass is a free research series aimed at going high and low to answer procurement questions that practitioners need information on. In this latest research, we provide context and concrete tactics to successfully market and evangelize procurement to your broader organization. Our research and fieldwork suggests that procurement organizations who market themselves effectively to the business drive greater identified and implemented savings across both simple and complex services categories.
More important than getting initial savings to stick, companies that successfully market procurement succeed in creating a virtuous cycle that sparks enthusiasm for new and existing programs. When it comes to both contingent and non-contingent spending categories, procurement organizations are always most effective at winning over business stakeholders when they change their orientation from one of function to one as service provider.
Learning to serve the business as a services provider requires empathy and measurement. It also requires going beyond just building analytical or quantitative business cases to convince others. Still, the numbers can't hurt, especially as part of an argument to convince finance and savings-driven stakeholders. From a quantitative perspective, procurement organizations that are most successful in marketing to their peers show the impact of specific behaviors. For example, what are the net savings, performance improvement (tied back to a quantitative measure) and overall operating impact to the business by moving from second quartile performance in a given category or area of spend to the third (or fourth)? The more industry, size and geographic-specific the benchmarks are, the more weight they will carry with the business.
If you've ever thought about how to best invest your energies in building momentum and excitement for procurement initiatives, this Spend Matters Compass will prove a highly valuable read. Download Spend Matters Compass -- Making Procurement a Services Spend Ally: Tips and Tactics for Winning over Business Stakeholders and Spend Owner today.