Part III of the Managing Indirect Spend Book Excerpt Series: Motivating the Supply Base

Managing Indirect Spend Book Excerpt – Part III: Motivating the Supply Base

Motivate the Supply Base - Part III of the Managing Indirect Spend Book Excerpt Series

The following article is excerpted from the book Managing Indirect Spend, by Joe Payne and William R. Dorn, Jr. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.  Release date: 19 October 2011. Click here to order from

Indirect Spend Management SupportMost salespeople (particularly those in an outside sales role) manage their work by employing a sales pipeline. As salespeople identify opportunities to make sales, they feed them into their pipelines, with notes on the account, the scope, and how hot the opportunity is. Salespeople periodically review their pipelines with management and review the status of various leads and identify and target the most preferred opportunities.

Your goal in the sourcing process is to get the salesperson to move your account toward the front of this pipeline list, becoming one of the targeted opportunities. Once you are there, the management of your supplier will become much more aware of your account and will ask for more frequent follow-ups from your primary sales representative. The more visibility an account has with a supplier’s senior management, the more invested the salesperson becomes to win the business, thereby making him or her more willing to reduce price and make other concessions in order to win the account. So how do you go about getting a potential supplier’s salesperson to move your account to the front of the sales pipeline? The key is through motivating the supplier.

Most salespeople are accustomed to hunting for business, chasing down accounts, presenting proposals and getting deals done, altogether known as prospecting, with limited access to information relating to the true requirements of an organization. If you can make their prospecting tasks easier, it often translates into motivating them into presenting an offering you would not otherwise have access to. There are several common-sense steps which are detailed in the book that go a long way in motivating your suppliers, including:

  • Providing a clear scope of work and requirements
  • Becoming the perfect (potential) customer
  • Backing up promises with action
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