“Procurement is getting involved.”
In most B2B sales operations, this little phrase evokes more fear and dread than any four words Stephen King or Wes Craven have ever strung together.
And after interviewing Chris Provines for “Being Fearless When Selling to Procurement People” in the SellingBrew Playbook, I have to conclude that most sales teams have a right to be afraid…very afraid, in fact.
Chris is the author of “Selling to Procurement” and in the interview, he makes it very clear that most B2B sales teams are unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the professional buyers who are often sitting on the other side of the table…
I’ve worked in purchasing. I have a lot of friends that work in purchasing. Typically, they’ll invest a couple of weeks in negotiations training for each and every person in purchasing. So, if you work with a sales organization or lead a sales organization, think about how many weeks, or even days, of negotiations training your salespeople have received?
It’s a great point. In my experience, B2B sales teams usually receive more training around submitting expense reports than around how to negotiate more profitable deals.
Throughout the interview, Chris sheds a lot of light on the procurement function. He discusses the caliber of people who are in purchasing these days. He talks about what their goals and objectives really are. And, he even exposes a number of the tactics and tricks purchasing people will use to squeeze you for another couple of points.
But lest you think you’re fighting a losing battle, Chris also highlights a number of things that sales teams can do to become more effective in their dealings with procurement and purchasing departments.
You see, fear is very often the product of ignorance—we often fear what we don’t understand. And just giving your salespeople a better understanding of procurement can go a long, long way.