Tips to Becoming Your Customer’s Favorite Supplier

The connected world has opened opportunities for customers to find just about any type of supplier to fulfill their needs.  Systems like Linkedin even allow suppliers to find you – I don’t know about you, but on a typical day I receive 2-3 Linkedin connection requests from suppliers touting their manufacturing capabilities from all around of the world.

It made me think…with all this competition constantly pounding on the door of a buyer…how does a buyer tune out all that noise to find and work with their favorite supplier?  To answer this question, I spoke with a few procurement executives who happen to be APD customers, and here is what I found out:  The supplier needs to be able to respond quickly to quote responses, with accurate data and be able to defend the price in front of the buyer.  The last point kind of surprised me so I probed a little further to find that buyers appreciate a supplier that demonstrates knowledge of the manufacturing process and deep understanding of not only their cost, but their sub-supplier cost.

So, I spoke with a few sales leaders from manufacturing companies to see what challenges, if any, are holding them back from becoming the “favorite supplier” to all their customers.   The top 2 responses I received are:

  1. Delays in waiting for supplier responses and quality of supplier responses leads to confusion in the sales cycle
  2. Rushed process leads to high quotes from sub-suppliers – potential lost business or even winning unprofitable business

Is purchasing seen as the bottleneck?  While the easy answer is yes, the more complicated answer is that purchasing is overwhelmed, and they do not have the tools necessary to support the workload – most are stuck in an email/excel world.  Companies have advanced ERP, engineering, and finance systems…so while all roads lead to purchasing, the Digital Transformation in purchasing is lagging far behind leaving buyers in the dust.

So how can Digital Transformation in purchasing support your pursuit to becoming the “favorite supplier?”  We see that speed and accuracy are important factors – AI and Predictive Pricing models are just two examples of using modern day supply chain tools with data based on current supply chain capabilities (not just an outside cost model), sales can have instantaneous answers with confidence that their supply chain can deliver – and it gives the sales team crisp data to defend the price in front of the buyer. 

The fact is that purchasing people don’t make good salespeople – they need the help of sales leaders to advocate with them to the CEO and other key decision makers.  So, I guess this is a call to action for all sales leaders – purchasing needs your help – Digital Transformation in purchasing is a good thing for the entire organization, and in turn you have a clearer path to the “favorite supplier” status with your customer base.

Advanced Purchasing Dynamics is hosting a webinar on this topic on Tuesday August 23rd at 10am (EST) – click here to register for this event:  Increasing Margin Performance and Deal Close Ratios with Digital Transformation in Purchasing

To learn more about a purchasing digital transformation strategy please click here:  A Strategy to Evolve Digital Transformation in Purchasing.

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