For most sellers, their negotiation experience comes from a personal frame of reference. If their experience has been that negotiations is tactical and they’ve traditionally included procurement at the end of the deal, that’s probably how they’ll continue to approach professional buyers within the sales process.
Unfortunately, for sales leaders, that usually means you’ll get pulled into deals late in the sales cycle, because your sellers need help to close the deal.
Your challenge with negotiations may be two-fold: (1) You’re constantly looking for ways to align your negotiation strategy within your sales process and (2) you’re constantly looking for ways to improve your organization’s skill set to get out of a constant cycle of chaos at the close.
Although it may sound like a play on words, there’s a difference between negotiating and negotiation. To get the right perspective, it’s helpful to start thinking of negotiating as an individual sales skill and negotiation as a company-wide capability. Great sales organizations make sure they have the right negotiation strategy to drive success for the entire organization, as well as to coach their sellers with the individual sales skills they need to create value throughout the sales process.
Teach your sellers to use these essential questions as part of their work with procurement. As a result, their conversations will begin earlier, their knowledge base will grow stronger and their ability to create and capture value will be built into the foundation of how they drive success with professional buyers:
Five Essential Questions for Working with Procurement
1. Who is procurement’s internal customer for your deal?
All procurement professionals have someone they are buying for, that have defined needs and unique business and personal interests. To expand the conversation beyond the defined needs, teach your sellers to understand the internal customer’s business and personal interests.
2. Who will procurement go to for subject matter expertise?
All procurement professionals need information and guidance on what they are buying. Who are they getting that information from and how well informed is that source?
3. What other interests should you both keep in mind, so that your negotiation does not default to price only?
Remember, multiple items create value and they often work in tandem with each other. A great seller should understand how to keep all items in the discussion and not allow items to be isolated and negotiated independent of all the other items connected to it.
4. What is the decision process procurement is managing?
Is it formal or informal? Visible to you or not? It’s important for your sellers to understand the steps, timing and key players associated with their decision process, especially if there is an add-on process being driven by procurement.
5. How can your sales team help procurement 'Participate in Their Own Rescue?'
You can help procurement expand their view of the outcomes that will constitute a great deal and help them see how they can capture more value as part of the deal. Make sure sellers also consider ways to address some of procurement’s personal KPI’s in their negotiation options as well.
*Remember: Your sellers should use insights from these answers to capitalize on in the early stages of their sales campaign. Having these answers also sets your sellers up for success in managing procurement’s down-stream involvement moving forward.
A great sales negotiation strategy should help your sellers see procurement as an ally, not an enemy. Learn how to win great deals by shifting the mindset on how your team works with procurement in our on-demand webinar.