Whether they're your C-suite, or your IT, Marketing, and Finance departments, stakeholder engagement is a critical component to the success of your supply management initiatives. Unfortunately, getting these groups onboard with your plans to trim costs, change processes, or switch suppliers isn't always easy. In fact, you may even encounter some resistance like a lack of responsiveness from team members, constant challenges to your recommendations, and even a flat out refusal to comply. 

So, as a procurement and supply management professional looking to drive change within your organization, how do you go about engaging stakeholders? 

1. Empathy: First, you need to understand your stakeholders' perspective. Find out why they aren't onboard with your recommendations. What is it about their current supplier that makes them unwilling to switch? Understanding their current perspective and reasoning will help you better formulate your argument for your proposed solution. For example, your stakeholders may really be attached to the level of customer service they receive with their current vendor. Knowing this may help you establish improved customer service level agreements within your new vendor contracts, including KPIs surrounding response times, etc. 

2. Partnership: Along the same lines as empathy, collaborate with your stakeholders. Try to get their involvement early in the process so they can provide input. This will not only allow you to make decisions that are aligned with their expectations, but also help them feel like decision makers in the process. 

3. Create Advocates: Leverage your success stories to build credibility within your organization. Think about it- how often do you read product reviews before making a major purchasing decision? The same concept applies here. Your customers (aka. department stakeholders) want to understand the value you deliver. Leverage your success stories as references and advocates for the work of your procurement department. Presenting these success stories may help you get stakeholder buy-in and build credibility from the start. 

Of course stakeholders are an undeniable component to any strategic sourcing and procurement (SS&P) initiative. In some case, they are absolute advocates for the changes SS&P groups recommend. In others, they are hurdles we need to overcome to get to the finish line. On this topic, Source One's VP of Professional Services Joe Payne will be leading an interactive webinar as a part of the inaugural Procurement Revolution.

On Tuesday September 27th from 12-1 PM EDT, join Joe Payne, Greg Tennyson, Kelly Barner and Philip Idelson for Is Stakeholder Alignment the Key to Procurement's Survival? Together, the procurement leaders will discuss stakeholder engagement and how procurement can become better business partners. To register, visit The Procurement Revolution

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