The questions you ask the sales rep before purchasing a procurement platform can be the difference between success and disappointment.
Sales reps will typically focus on one primary goal.
They want to close the sale.
Procurement professionals are experts in purchasing. They know how to structure an agreement so that their company gets a great deal without ruining the supplier relationship.
Year of experience in spend categories gives them a significant advantage in the process.
Picking a new procurement platform can be a much more challenging task.
Many companies have never invested in a platform or if they have one, it was purchased years before when the needs and goals were much different.
I suggested using a sandbox event to test drive a new platform in my blog several weeks ago. This is an excellent way to determine if the platform can deliver on the promises made by the sales rep.
Once you are satisfied that the platform has the functionality you need, there is another very important step to tackle.
Will the company provide the training, support and ongoing development to ensure your success?
Even though I want all my prospects to buy, that won’t be the right decision in every situation. I would prefer to say to a prospective client that I don’t think our platform is right for them. Dealing with an unhappy client is never worth the revenue in my opinion.
Based on my experience as a buyer and a seller, here are some questions and areas to consider before you sign:
- How many years has your company been in this business?
- What specific industries do you currently serve?
- Do you have worldwide clients?
- Do you have clients in my industry or a similar one?
- What are the size of your smallest and largest clients?
- How often do you release platform updates and can you provide examples from the past year?
- What has been your annual investment in development during the past five years?
- How many full-time developers do you employ?
- Who are the key staff members that will be servicing my account?
- How many years of experience do they have with your company?
- How many years of experience do they have it total in purchasing and procurement?
- What positions in procurement have they held?
- Can you provide a detailed description of your training process?
- Do you maintain a 24-hour hotline staffed by live professionals with experience in procurement and in using your tools?
- Do you provide dedicated account representatives for each account?
- Can you provide a detailed description of the sourcing experience of my primary contact?
- What hosting platform do you use?
- What level of security and encryption do you utilize?
- What are the backup procedures and have they been tested in the last year?
- If there is a disaster, when will I be back up?
I am certain that you can add some additional questions to this list based on your experience and your specific situation.
I believe that making the choice is part science and part art.
It should be like scoring a bid.
You should be comfortable requesting answers to each question from every contender.
Every company should be happy to provide the answers and if they aren’t that could be a red flag.
I believe that these questions should help you establish a clear winner in your evaluation and that you will be able to recommend the winner enthusiastically.
If you want to explore a purchasing or procurement topic in greater detail, I invite you to request 30-minute discovery conversation. In my experience the next step will be apparent at the end of the call. I never assume that my recommendations will be right for everyone, so don’t expect a sales pitch. You can reach me at (973) 718-7071 x875. The call will be forwarded to my mobile phone if I am not in my office, which is pretty likely.
Organizations of all sizes are reducing costs and increasing efficiency, without changing the way they conduct business. If you would like to know how, simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact information and the best time to reach you.
You Won’t Drift to Success©
Think about it.
Until Next Time, I Wish You Great Success in Your Business and in Your Life