5 Crippling Beliefs Keeping Suppliers in the Poor House - Procurement News

Procurement News | by Stephen Ashcroft on 12/03/2016 01:13 | 0 comments

Suppliers may feel they don’t get treated fairly in the procurement process. But are there actions they could take to attract procurement’s attention?

This article was first published on LinkedIn.

Before the jackpot of the internet, purchase research involved, for me, accessing supplier directories such as Kompass (who are still going strong), putting up with pesky sales reps with inadequate brochures extolling the virtues of their products/services, trawling exhibitions, and leaning on colleagues and contacts.

Now, not so much. Although I’m still leaning on colleagues and contacts!

A while back I was involved in putting together a Preferred Supplier List for a bunch of equipment spend categories. The starting point was finding ‘someone’ to research suppliers online globally.

Here’s what drove me bananas as I tried to collate a long list of suppliers to invite to enter a procurement process:

1. A belief that ‘build it and they will come’.

Getting on that front page of Google is critical. Of course, I’m a professional and searched and searched pages. I was focused on finalising, quickly, my long list of ten or twenty suppliers, per category. Those early pages were my key hunting ground.

2. A belief that the lingua franca of international business is [insert local language].

Are you wanting to sell your goods internationally? Language content options are a must have. I’m being open. If there wasn’t an English option I moved on. Maybe a missed opportunity for me – and definitely a missed opportunity for an aspiring supplier.

3. A belief that website content full of fancy jargon and TLAs* will get the sale.

Tell me in ten words or less what you offer and who you help. Right up front on your first page – front and centre. I’m happy to take a deep dive into the details later on my ‘journey’, but for now I just want assurance you sell the category of equipment I’m interested in.

4. A belief that it’s all about social media engagement.

Contact details – your phone number and email. Please. Everywhere, every page, very visible, consistent and definitely including an email address, which, ideally, is a local market email addresses that doesn’t say [email protected] Make it as easy as possible for people to contact you directly.

By the way, thrilled with all those Instagram and Pinterest and other social media followers – how’s that working out for you? And while I’m here, are we absolutely sure about that contact form? I can see why YOU want my name, role, company, email, phone number, I’m just not so sure what’s in it for me.

5. A belief that having a unique, quirky website design will really drive business.

Let’s talk website design, which is not my thing. I’m just a victim of it from firms all over the world. When I’m buying internationally for a major client, I don’t want quirky (ok, maybe I’ll be accommodating if I’m buying creative services or wanting local supply chain).

Mainly, I’m craving surety that this website reflects an international supplier. Give me a nice clean corporate-looking website – make me feel comfortable and open to trusting you.

Am I asking for too much? Really? Please note, this is not an exhaustive list!

Action: Go have a look at your website, right now, and see if the 5 beliefs stand scrutiny. Your website is (probably) the first contact for your target customers – make it easy for them.

After all, you don’t want to end up in the poor house.

*TLAs = three letter acronyms; in fairness, Procurement’s not short of them either!

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Stephen Ashcroft

Helping Directors and leaders with complex procurement and commercial challenges, AECOM

FCIPS and Masters qualified senior procurement/commercial professional with a strong track record of achievement in strategic sourcing, contract negotiation, supplier management and transformation programmes, for a full range of FTSE100/Fortune 500 client companies and government organisations. I like to think I'm able to engage and influence internal and external stakeholders at all levels. Audience/client feedback suggests I'm an engaging presenter. Visiting lecturer at Manchester University on negotiation skills, published academically. Which is nice. But my real pride is in the feedback and results achieved by my clients in delivering accelerated benefits and efficiency improvement within complex business models. My knowledge and skills come from real work - I have sense of humour and often need it! And, really, I'm a procurement learner stuck in the body of a procurement veteran (as an author, researcher, consultant, coach and trainer) and with over 20 years’ experience, still see the glass as half full. My new blog evidences my professional and personal interest in the importance of procurement to success in business https://thinkprocure.wordpress.com/ And I'm also, avidly, on Twitter, @ThinkProcure I welcome your call on 0734 112 7916. Specialties: Working with large, complex organisations in diverse industry sectors; I help Directors and leaders manage third party spend to drive improved performance. - Deploying procurement strategies in multi-national environments - Public sector practical support on the real-life application of 2015 Public Contract Regulations - Risk identification and management - Cost Reduction / Value Engineering - Team Development & Mentoring & Coaching - Designing and Delivering Complex Programmes - Complex contract negotiation, pre- and post-contract award

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