Historically, Sales and Procurement have always been at odds. Tensions can rise on the principle of value recognition – Sales thinks Procurement cares only about price, and Procurement at lower level believes Sales cares only about closing the deal, regardless if it’s a competitive move for the company or not.

Procurement sees Sales trying to avoid them and make their pitch to the engineer, operations manager, clinician, or business stakeholder. And Sales perceives Procurement as ignoring the quality, service, and cost-savings they could bring to the company.

So Who Is Right?

The relationship between Sales and Procurement may vary depending on the organization, industry, and the personalities of the individuals involved. Harmonious alliances between Sales and Procurement do exist; statistically speaking, that is not typically the case, but it can be by moving up the supply chain.  

To help organizations understand the grievances between Sales and Procurement, the NC State Supply Chain Resource Cooperative hosted an executive seminar to discuss the situation in an open forum. Eight Procurement executives and five Sales executives from a wide variety of industries were invited to participate. During the forum, several major questions concerning Sales and Procurement were openly debated:

  • Does Sales/Procurement unfairly segment the other?
  • What are the key principles that define strategic relationships?
  • How is performance effectively measured?
  • What are the common disagreements that surround contract negotiations?  

The executives’ responses revealed a significant misunderstanding that commonly exists between Sales and Procurement. The nature of the relationship requires improvement and respect for the other’s role.

The original introduction to Dr. Rob Handfield, Ph.D.’s whitepaper, “Transforming the Procurement – Sales Relationship” can be found on the Chain Resource Cooperative North Carolina State University’s blog.

Learn How to Sell to Procurement

Before a sale can be made to Procurement, sales leaders, marketing, inside sales, sales engineers, customer service, account managers, and all client-facing sales team members need to understand how they can improve the relationship between Sales and Procurement. A healthy business relationship is defined by an unimpeachable business case.

During our Selling to Procurement class, we will train attendees how to effectively sell to professional Procurement organizations. We will teach you how to:

  • Analyze purchasing behavior, now and in the future
  • Align selling efforts to the right steps within the procurement cycle
  • Establish the purchasing decision-making criteria
  • Teach a supplier-led competitive advantage
  • Create measurable differentiation in the eyes of Procurement

If this is interesting or important to you and you’d like to do your part in mending the relationship between Sales and Procurement, call us at 585.471.6058 Ex. 6 or contact us online.