But of course this is rarely the case. Easton then muses, "this got me wondering whether these organisations could benefit much more from closer collaboration between procurement and sales. Can procurement educate their own sales functions more about how to approach a procurement process? Do the sales functions recognise that they need the help?" Getting to some real-world examples, Easton suggests that such activities might involve "sharing insight on how a tender/RFP process works and how responses are typically evaluated" or "advising on how to influence the process for the benefit of both parties in ways that will not lead to a breach."
To these suggestions, I might also add the importance of understanding what type of supplier they might be perceived to be in a given tender -- and how important incumbency may or may not be an element that factors into the decision one way or the other. Procurement can also help sales to understand when they should invest the most time in an opportunity based on signals that may indicate where a buying organization is in its evaluation process (e.g., is a new supplier addition an afterthought or simple "column fodder," or will their questions and guidance be taken under consideration at an earlier stage?).
Without question, sales and procurement need to come together more. I've always contended that a good procurement person would likely be an ideal candidate for sales -- and vice versa. From a procurement angle, even if you're doing this "pro bono" inside your company, consider it an education angle that could pay dividends should you ever sit on the other side of the organizational fence. And learn from your sales counterparts in the process as well!