SpendLead Launch – How Procurement Can Avoid Dis-Intermediation

SpendLead is the online business communication and matchmaking service for companies to “find and be found”. As founder Fabrice Saporito says, it “facilitates social engagement around vendor offerings and market news to support informed buying decisions and offer continuous lead generation”.

We held a small launch party for the firm recently, which turned into a really good discussion about what sort of tools would help buyers and sellers link more effectively in the future – and what SpendLead would have to do to meet those needs. We were encouraged by the positive vibes in the room from a pretty senior group of procurement and procurement solutions folk, and thanks to everyone who came and participated. (We would have had some photos for you, but our editor’s Smartphone crashed...)

What has struck me most in various discussions with senior practitioners recently about SpendLead is the feeling that procurement is just not doing enough to seek out great new suppliers, and develop them into the firms who can prove real advantages to our organisations.

“Too many buyers are, frankly, lazy, and just stick to the suppliers they know” said an old friend and colleague of mine, one of the best IT category managers I’ve worked with. It isn’t easy finding good new suppliers of course, and that is one of the main objectives of SpendLead – to help buyers link up in a simple manner with interesting suppliers in their categories.

Another point that came up is the role of procurement and how we need to make sure there is still a role in the future! You may know this is a favourite topic of mine – indeed I’m talking about it at the Trade Extensions event shortly (see here for more on that).

Identifying new suppliers and indeed understanding markets generally are good examples of where technology might dis-intermediate the procurement “profession”. So, whilst I don’t want this to sound like a threat, one point I made at the launch is that if procurement doesn’t embrace tools like SpendLead, then our stakeholders will. You may then find that the IT manager, or the business director who wants to engage a consulting firm, or the estates manager who wants an FM provider, will know more about the relevant market than the supposed “expert” category manager.

Anyway, do take a look at SpendLead if you haven’t already. Over 100 firms have signed up, but of course that is only a start. So why not be an early adopter?


(Declaration of interest – you’re going to see this, probably a little abbreviated, every time we write about SpendLead I’m afraid! As well as SpendLead being a sponsor of Spend Matters, Jason Busch, my business partner, and I have personally invested a (relatively small) amount of money in the firm. We’ve done that because a. we genuinely think it is a very good idea and a tool that procurement should embrace, so we think it has a decent chance of succeeding; b. we think Fabrice is very impressive and is generally one of the “good guys”; and c. SpendLead does not compete with anyone else we work with! We will only write stuff here that is accurate and that we truly believe – that’s the case for everything we do and write every day of course.)

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