Are procurement departments missing out on potential suppliers?
I work in Business Development for an eSourcing software provider, so I'm approaching this topic from the 'other side of the fence' - but it is one I am interested in gaining further understanding, and would welcome people's genuine opinions on the subject.
A large part of my daily activities involves trying to make an introduction to procurement professionals via cold (or slightly warm) calling! In my time, I've been told by some organisations that they do not accept cold calls, which has raised a number of questions in my mind:
Does, or has, anyone worked for an organisation where this policy was in place? What are the reasons for this policy (is it purely to do with the volume of calls received, or perhaps, not received)?
How would you typically find new suppliers if this policy was in place?
Do you think that buyers are missing out on some potentially great suppliers through the implementation of this policy? Or does the reward outweigh the risk?
Based strictly on my own experience, I can tell you that I generally do not accept cold calls - especially when I am busy working on deliverables that have deadlines. I do this because too often I have been contacted by sales people who have no clue what my company does, or what we need - which generally results in them wasting my time asking basic questions that they should have had some concept of before they ever called me in the first place. In addition, I and most Procurement folks are trying to focus their activities on a limited number of suppliers within each spend category and to build up relationships with those suppliers that can be leveraged to the benefit of their companies. If I need a new supplier for something, then I will go out and find what I need. It has been my policy to have whoever answers the phone provide my email address to the supplier who is calling for me, and to tell that supplier to email me their introduction - which I will actually read when I receive it. If I see something interesting in the email, I will then contact that supplier. While there is some risk in not accepting any cold calls, I believe that the risk is minimal and that the time saved in unproductive discussions is better utilized on other activities.
A tiny fraction of cold calls are worthwhile to the buyer. The time wasted on the vast majority of cold calls is much higher than the time saved by the very occasional cold call for something you were going to search for anyway. So ignoring all cold calls is a gain. And basically, its a red flag that your product is crap.