Don’t knock on closed doors! Get in through the window…
… or better yet, let the clients come to you
As a salesman (or a one-man show, a.k.a entrepreneur), how often have you knocked at closed doors?
How often your marketing campaigns have failed in “opening the doors” of your target customers?
How often the lead generation team has produced leads which proved to be either inadequate, or worst… the prospect was (in fact) trying to convert you?
How often have you attended different type of events, aiming to identify new prospects for your business, but most of the attendees were actually salesmen? Just like you…
If your answers to the above questions are either “always”, “usually”, “often” and if your professional business network is not producing new leads and opportunities anymore, then you may want to do something about it and take some action! In Sales there are always inevitable setbacks, roadblocks and obstacles… But using determination and perseverance, you can (and you will) surmount these. Right?
However, when do you get to that point where enough is enough? If you are a determined professional salesperson, then the answer might be simple: N E V E R. (or, the other way around, resign and go paint something… on the beach)
But wait… What? Why?
As your business might have been affected by the pandemic, the same may be the case with your prospect clients. So, everyone needs to mitigate the new risks induced by Covid-19 or any another global pandemic/ recession. We have to admit that we’re all (more or less) in a defensive phase and reluctant to engage in new acquisitions or engagements with new suppliers. But let’s face it… we WILL NEED to ADAPT to the new market circumstances!
After the pandemic began, procurement offices from around the world were forced to evolve rapidly and become more connected with the suppliers’ ecosystem. A major cultural shift on procurement and vendor management policies regarding communication and ways of working, seems to be underway.
As many of the BCPs (Business Continuity Plans) of large enterprises and multinational corporations have not been conceived considering a global pandemic and a multi-country failure scenario, we may envisage the urge to build a resilience culture for the future and secure more alternative suppliers for the same services.
Before the pandemic, multinational corporations used to have exclusive group arrangements with large suppliers, which were able to cover most of it geographies… now, procurement of such organizations needs to identify alternative sources of supply and might consider shifting to local suppliers to cover the risk in case of regional or national lockdowns. We may also envision procurement reviewing the entire portfolio of existing suppliers and qualify new reliable sources of supplies to ensure back-up solutions, in order to mitigate risk exposure. Procurement might invest in supplier diversity by allocating acquisition volumes strategically to multiple suppliers, increasing alternative supply sources to reduce exposure.
Work from Home, combined with restricted business travelling, induce some major challenges on procurement teams and their complex processes, limiting the ability to discover, qualify and certify new suppliers.
No doubt that, under the current unprecedented global crisis, it’s harder for procurement to spot the right suppliers without using digitally driven procurement models, collaboration tools, real-time suppliers’ data information systems, supply market intelligence, KYS (Know your Supplier) programs and new ways of digital interaction with the suppliers’ ecosystem.
Ok, what’s next?
Procurement or vendor management teams are expected to build, update or use existing categorized database of all relevant suppliers and supplier-related information, where such database would help identifying the relevant suppliers for specific services, do cross-supplier comparison for easier evaluation, streamline information about suppliers by storing scattered, disparate suppliers’ information in a single location and provide insights into the current stage of the supplier (for example, suppliers with an active contract, suppliers that require contract renewals etc.).
You, as a supplier or contractor for other companies… are you ready to face such opportunities served on the table by your prospective clients? You might want to gather your marketing team and prepare all your “ammunition” ‘cause you’ll need to excel in showcasing your service offer and match the new trend of the procurement industry.
In a more positive tone, this period can be perfect for your organization to meet and start new exciting projects with some great clients. But please, don’t wait any longer! Take advantage of all the digital channels, list your products/ services and promote, promote & promote.
Stop knocking on closed doors! Use the window if needed or better yet, in the next article, we’ll show you how to step directly on the red carpet rolled-out for you by clients, on the main entrance.
Alex Copandean – CCO ENSO Business Services