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The Purchasing Folks

Lesson Learned.

We, as sales people, need to understand that we are not only selling to the CIO or IT teams, but in many companies and organizations we are selling to purchasing. The world has changed and purchasing, good or bad, pulls the purse strings.

Has this happened to you?

Long sales cycle, lots of meeting and demo’s, and finally, your champion or even the CIO says, you are the vendor of choice, you have won the technical battle. All good and a very important win, but now comes the cost negotiations. So you enter into discussions on cost in good faith with your IT contacts. No reason to think these negotiations will not get you to a final contract and agreed upon price, right? Well maybe not. “OK, now you have to go meet with Bob in purchasing." No problem-- this where the contract gets signed. Except Bob needs his pound of flesh because that’s what purchasing does, and oh, by the way, he needs to know why IT needs the flux capacitor and the fetzer valve. You think; 'did we just start the sales cycle all over again?'

So what happens-- your sale gets slowed down, you probably end up giving additional discounts that may require additional approvals within your organization, and you end up having to explain your solution or service and value to their company all over again. And, in most cases, this process will have a time suck on your champion in IT as well.

So how do you avoid this situation?

Lesson Learned…… Ask what role purchasing will play in the sales cycle Up Front. Do you need to have them attend meetings during the sales cycle and have them fully involved in the price negotiations with your contacts from IT? This also ensures that IT and purchasing are on the page.

We are in a changing world, funds seem to be tight everywhere and purchasing plays a greater role in the selling process today, at least that is my experience lately.

My 2 cents……

by Another Sales Guy

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