Training you cannot buy!

By Elgin Ward

The Customer should have and follow its own Procurement Process, different from the Vendor’s Sales Process. Customer stakeholders often don’t realize they are following a Vendor Sales Process that gives more negotiation leverage to the Sales Rep and hurts the Customer. For Customers to succeed, IT Procurement must educate stakeholders about the Customer Procurement Process and must SELL the stakeholders on the benefits of following the Customer process and not the Vendor process.

Many people are offended by the tactics of certain salesmen; so much so, that they condemn not only the Sales Reps but “selling” in general. One problem with this approach is that all of us are and must be in “Sales” of one kind or another. We are constantly selling our services to our customers, our employers, and to others. Without “Sales” none of us would have a job or be able to earn an income.

“Sales” is another way of saying “educate” or “influence” or “train”. IT procurement professionals often negotiate to purchase “Training” from Vendors, whether Software or Hardware. But, there are certain kinds of “Training” that the IT procurement cannot negotiate or buy – rather, IT procurement MUST itself provide and sell this particular type of training.

Every Sales Rep for every IT Vendor is trained to follow and repeat over and over a specific Sales Process, a process outlining step-by-step how the Sales Rep is to interact with the Customer personnel. The Sales Process is learnable, repeatable, and, when properly followed, produces commissions for the Sales Rep and revenue for the Vendor company.

WARNING – all Customers and their employees should understand that the Vendor Sales Process is NOT the same as a best practice Customer Procurement Process! They differ in PURPOSE and how they are carried out. The Purpose of the Vendor Sales process is to MAXIMIZE Vendor profits and MINIMIZE Vendor risk. The Purpose of the Customer Procurement Process is to MINIMIZE Customer costs and MAXIMIZE Customer protections.

The Sales Reps are trained to use the Vendor Sales Process and to teach the Customer personnel to follow the Vendor Sales Process. The Vendor Sales Process includes having the Sales Rep define the needs and wants of the Customer in a way that ONLY the Vendor’s product or service could satisfy those needs. Further, the Vendor Sales Process is carefully crafted and managed to bring the Procurement group in only after the Sales Rep has succeeded in getting all the key Customer stakeholders aligned with the Vendor and committed to the product or service recommended by the Sales Rep.

One truth never varies. If the Customer is not following its own Procurement Process, it is following the Vendor Sales Process. What determines which process the Customer stakeholders follow? Put simply, is the IT procurement group able and committed to OUT SELL (or, out educate, if you prefer), the Sales Rep? If not, all too often, the Sales Rep succeeds in having the Customer follow the Vendor Sales Process, maximizing Vendor profits and minimizing Vendor risks all at the Customer’s expense.

3 KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The Customer should have and follow its own Procurement Process, different from the Vendor’s Sales Process.
  • Customer stakeholders often don’t realize they are following a Vendor Sales Process that gives more negotiation leverage to the Sales Rep and hurts the Customer.
  • For Customers to succeed, IT Procurement must educate stakeholders about the Customer Procurement Process and must SELL the stakeholders on the benefits of following the Customer process and not the Vendor process.
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