Tactical moaning

2 March 2010
Jake KanterLast week we allowed your colleagues in sales a bit of a whine. A survey shown to SM reveals that sales people feel they are “treated like commodities” by buyers. They say they’re defined purely on cost in a basket of similar goods. I have no doubt that many of you will dismiss this as tactical moaning – sales types playing victim to the axe-bearing procurement barbarians. There is certainly some truth in this, but equally there must be some substance to the sales sentiment. As a buyer, whatever technique you use, you are targeting the same outcome: a reduction in cost. Some may choose to be aggressive, others more intelligent, but it boils down to the same question: “What's your best offer?” And as the survey reveals, if sales folk feel commoditised, purchasers have them exactly where they want them. With this in mind, I do have a little sympathy for the sales animal. Purchasers make all the right noises about sharing wealth with suppliers, working as partners and building relations based on much more than price. But it seems cost slashing prevails. This presents a huge problem if what is being sold is not easily commoditised.
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