People negotiating deals on behalf of their businesses must be given full support if they are to achieve the best results, say procurement advisers Positive Purchasing.
The UK-based consultancy says the best way to gain support is for procurement professionals to involve those they are buying on behalf of so that they can provide background information and suggest tactics.
Director Mark Hubbard says: “The best negotiating tactics in the world will come to nothing if the buying organisation as a whole is not standing solidly behind its buyer. So identifying what kind of support the negotiator needs from their organisation and how to go about gaining it is a key challenge for procurement professionals.”
Business unit leaders may, for example, have long-standing relationships with key suppliers which can mean negotiators being undermined. Hubbard says the benefits of taking other factors into account should be clearly explained to such people.
Another danger is that negotiations take place behind closed doors so that key individuals in the business do not know what is being said in their name. Procurement people must involve everyone concerned in the negotiating process so that they can provide valuable background information.
Hubbard concludes: “Forging excellent relationships with internal stakeholders, discussing negotiating strategies and involving them in the process in a constructive way is likely to be extremely time-consuming.
“The alternative, though, is potentially disastrous. Having your business unit leaders on your side can be crucial when it comes to the crunch. Not having their support can leave the procurement professional powerless to clinch a really effective deal.
“By involving your stakeholders in the procurement process, on the other hand, they can provide the support you need, understand your professional skills and appreciate the successful outcomes you can achieve for them.”