If you’ve landed on this page, you’re likely trying to a consulting agreement through procurement, or a LeadMD person sent you here for our own deal (that’s part of our strategy to create content that helps buyers throughout their journey with us!). Consultancies help clients increase revenue and help set your company and team on the right strategic course and fill in skill gaps. But, you have to first get such a consulting project through procurement. Gulp. In many organizations, going through procurement is known to be time-consuming, difficult and frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be a losing battle. In fact, if you think about it like a sales process, you’ll see that there are clear similarities and steps you can take to shorten the procurement process and achieve your desired results.
1. Understand your audience.
Just like in sales, you need to know your buyer in order to influence them toward a yes. The buyer, in this case, is your procurement person. Spend time digging into how that person thinks, and what questions or objections they’re likely to have.
What is their goal?
And how can getting the budget and buy-in for a consulting engagement move them closer toward that goal?
2. Account for buyer pain points.
One of the biggest pain points for someone in procurement is the thought of buying something that ultimately fails to have an impact on the business. This is why your best bet is to spell out the projected ROI and value-add of your consulting engagement. Most procurement professional (especially the seasoned ones) will want to see a business case. If you’re prepared with this, your path to a yes will be stronger. If you haven’t worked on a business case yet, use the salespeople at the consultancy. They want this deal to go through as much (maybe more) as you do. Not only will they help you build it, but their time is free (for now).
3. Manipulate the red tape.
Most organizations’ procurement departments will adhere to thorough and stringent rules and/or benchmarks. For example, they may have a set amount they’re willing to pay for tech consultants. If that amount won’t cover the cost your consultancy scoped, you need to put on your best Defense Attorney impression and find the loophole. Perhaps your consultancy can act as tech and business consultants. Trust us, we will work the verbiage with you to meet procurement’s requirements.
Obviously, this does require you know the rules. And sometimes that simply means trying a lot of times and failing. We know and understand that too. If you have to come back to your consulting seller many times, don’t worry. We’re used to it and we’re happy to help.
It’s also important to think ahead, through the logistics of getting your consulting engagement through procurement. Ask what else your consultancy needs to do to become a vendor, in case they can get a head start on vender approval paperwork, W9s, etc. Also, make sure you know how terms are structured. While you might be ok with some of the terms, procurement might not be. You should know this ahead of time so you can make adjustments and increase your chances of ending with a deal.
4. Create a clear financial picture.
Next, figure out how your organization’s finances are handled. Sometimes finance and procurement are combined, while other times finance does the deal and procurement manages the paperwork. Once you know the delineation, you’ll know whose buy-in you’ll need and who to go to with questions.
It’s also wise to gather insight into how much budget you have, especially if you have a company credit card. But don’t stop at your limits, learn the limits of your peers, their boss and your boss. If you have this understanding, you’ll know how far up the food chain you need to go to get buy-in on your consulting project. Or who you could ask for budget to help and how those payments can happen. Also, remember that your consulting firm can likely help you figure out project details and arrangements based on budget objections. For example, they may be able to get creative to work within your boss’ signature limit or split the project into multiple contracts so you don’t breach the limit.
In Conclusion, Getting Your Project Through Procurement
It might seem difficult to bring a marketing consultancy on board through procurement, but the process really does mirror a sales cycle. If you view your procurement person as the buyer, uncover their pain points, figure out logistical considerations and explore the financial factors at play, you’ll significantly increase your odds of seeing the consultancy hire through. And the end result? A greatly optimized marketing strategy, fueled by expertise that helps you achieve maximum ROI.
Meet Andrea Lechner-Becker
Andrea Lechner-Becker’s bio reads like someone who filled out a what-should-I-be-when-I-grow-up quiz and decided to try every option. Fueled by endless curiosity, Andrea has never met a problem she didn’t want to solve. This led her to managing sales and marketing at an art gallery, then loyalty and email marketing strategy for an NBA team and arena, then the delivery team at LeadMD, followed by a stint as a novelist and culminating with her current role as CMO of LeadMD. With a decade of experience in dynamic marketing roles, Andrea has had the opportunity to work with the most brilliant marketing minds at the best companies in the world. #hugemarketingdork