Brian began his career in Sales and Marketing. Once he graduated college, he mainly pursued Marketing, with a focus in campaign management and copywriting. According to Seipel, he randomly got the urge to try something new, and that's when he joined the Marketing Procurement team at Source One. From there he's transitioned into various other departments in procurement, including Telecom and IT. He now consults and and conducts Spend Analyses in categories like Facilities.
When asked to give some advice to younger professionals, Seipel encourages everyone to hone their communication skills. He recommends garnering some sort of sales experience, as it helped him build the confidence to speak one-on-one with clients and negotiate with suppliers. Seipel notes, "people struggle with being comfortable talking to other people. Many professionals know the analytics portion of Procurement, and they can carry on a project plan, but the idea of negotiating seems adversarial." Seipel explains, however, that Procurement often ignores the collaborative potential of negotiations. A lot of people don't realize, he suggests, that suppliers are looking forward to working with clients, they want that business, they want that partnership. Ultimately, that means they want to negotiate. In short, Brian's advice to young Procurement professionals is:
"Be comfortable making an ask. It's not a brawl, it's about building a relationship."
For more of Brian's tips and best practices, check out some of what he's written on the subject of contracting and negotiations. If it's a particular challenge for you, you might enjoy How to Negotiate (when you're Scared of Negotiating) as well as our 6 Steps to Stronger Supplier Negotiations.