Most procurement teams understand the central role project management plays in running an RFP or sourcing event. Equally important is the nuanced approach to all interactions with stakeholders of any kind. This includes our suppliers, internal partners, and executive teams.

How we interact with other teams and organizations speaks volumes about not only our current reputation within our own organization, but also how we envision our team and role growing in the future. Optimize the “image” of your procurement team by,  

  • Positioning your team as strategic allies, and not burdensome bottlenecks
  • Focusing on total value and not just cost-cutting measures
  • Working with Executive Leadership Teams to set expectations

As Brian Seipel discussed previously, better stakeholder management leads to a reputational shift and improved relationships with stakeholders. Prioritizing these relationships is one of the first steps you can take to optimize all interactions with different stakeholder groups (both internally and externally). Applying this same school of thought, we must consider how we interact and collaborate with other teams.

Collaboration, Teamwork, and Reciprocity

While we can wax poetic how to better work with different teams and stakeholders, practical tips on how to interact with different teams can prove useful, if not necessary. Ways to improve relationships with different teams can be boiled down to a few basic tenets. 

  • Collaborate. Find ways to engage your stakeholders early and often, letting them know their input is appreciated and valued. Extend this even further by collaborating with suppliers. Negotiations are more than just redlines, demanding concessions, and moving on. Find ways to have open and honest discussions and see if there are opportunities you can extend scope to generate a better deal for you and the supplier. Ultimately, it’s about being flexible and willing to collaborate with everyone, not just internal partners.
  • Team Mentality. It’s important to emphasize the value of the team dynamic when working with your internal partners. We are all working towards a common goal, and procurement isn’t here to get in the way of internal initiatives. In fact, procurement is here to be a trusted advisor and a valued member of any team. Stress this by reminding everyone we are all members of the larger organizational team. 
  • Reciprocate. Let’s look at supplier negotiations as one example of when we can compromise and reciprocate. Look for opportunities to acknowledge any compromises a supplier was willing to make and extend concessions their way when allowable. We don’t need to be rigid on every clause or condition when dealing with suppliers and showing we’re willing to be flexible builds trust and a healthy relationship between our internal partners and their suppliers.  

Maximize the Value of our Interactions

It is easy to dictate how we as procurement professionals and organizations will interact and work with our stakeholders, suppliers, and executive teams, but taking advantage of the opportunities we have are crucial. A world-class procurement organization maximizes every opportunity with all stakeholders.

Corcentric’s Jennifer Ulrich will be speaking at the ISM World Annual Conference in May on how to do just this. Her session covers how procurement teams can build lasting relationships with key partners to success. She will present three case studies demonstrating challenges we’ve seen among our clients and the solutions we employed to solve these challenges.

Need help maximizing the potential of stakeholder interaction? Register today to attend.  

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John Sepcie

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