How buyers can win friends and influence people

1 March 2013
I attended a CIPS branch meeting this week, where the 40 or so procurement professionals present were told: “Try to honestly see things from the other person’s point of view.” It was a presentation on how to sell the value of procurement and members were keen to learn how to engage with key stakeholders in their organisations. This seems to be a key stumbling block for many within the profession. Many attending were eager for the procurement profession to become more involved in the strategic decisions in their organisations, but felt they were being locked out. The workshop-based evening taught simple methods on how you can create a better relationship with other departments within your business. The two suggestions he gave were:
  • Obtain feedback from those within your organisation. Most organisations have mechanisms in place to measure customer satisfaction, so set up something similar internally to discover what stakeholders think of procurement. Find out what you are doing well and what they want you to do more or less of to move the business forward. Make sure they know their opinion is valued.
  • Sell the value of procurement. Sell the benefits of procurement rather than the specifications. Stakeholders don’t want to know the intricate details of what you do, but how it adds value to the company.
When written down, these might look simple and rather obvious actions, but it is surprising how we all get tangled up in the finer details. It would be interesting to find out if any of the attendees will implement these actions and whether they make any progress.
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