5 Things You Didn’t Know About Procurement


Ask any Heads of Sales or CRO how many procurement people they actually know. Like, really know. We bet it’s less than 3.

This is odd considering how many sales, especially enterprise sales, have to actually go through a procurement process. 

So we had a few conversations with procurement managers and leaders and learned there are some false belief systems that salespeople buy into, because, well, it’s what we’ve always been told.  

Here are the top 5 things that blew our minds when conducting these interviews. 

  1. They truly appreciate the role of a salesperson and want you to make commissions. They get it, they understand your role, and while it is in their best interest to help their company, that does not mean they want you to starve by not making money. ADVICE: See them as an ally, not an enemy. It’s ok to acknowledge this as you build your relationship with them.
  2. Their “champion” (their employee) is clu-less about procurement. They wish their internal employee understood the procurement process better and they know your champion is blocking you. And then when your champion brings in something at the end of the month and the quarter, the procurement person is frustrated because their job just got harder. ADVICE: Work with your champion and let them know procurement doesn’t want to work late on December 31st any more than anyone else. 
  3. Their job isn’t about “saving money”. It’s about protecting the company, and money is only a small part of that. ADVICE: Let your champion know you’ve done your homework on working with procurement and that you don’t see procurement as a place for something to die, its merely a stop on the subway line.
  4. Sometimes, they don’t actually want or need to shop it around. ADVICE: We should never be afraid if they do shop it around, and we should know they don’t always have to. So, ask them. Ask your champion, “Do you think your procurement team wants to shop this type of stuff around?”. And when speaking with procurement, ask them if they feel like this is something they need to shop around too. If you are afraid that bringing up this idea makes them want to shop it around, then you are seeing it the wrong way. We should always assume they are shopping things around. And frankly, they are. Sometimes your competition is simply a competing priority, not necessarily a similar product or service.
  5. They want to be engaged very, VERY early in the sales cycle, like Stage 1. This was the most shocking of them all. ADVICE: Leverage this knowledge with your champion. Explain that you have learned that procurement actually wants to be involved sooner than later for the following reasons: 
    • They don’t like being rushed at the last minute
    • They may have knowledge about this type of solution that can help your champion.
    • You aren’t trying to “go around” them, you actually want to help them (your champion) so you don’t get stuck in the back and forth later when everyone else is trying to have procurement sign off.
    • You don’t see procurement as the enemy, you see them for simply doing their job, and you’ve learned the sooner that it’s all on the table, the easier it is for everyone involved.

For more on procurement, check out these resources:

Surf & Sales Podcast: A Masterclass on Negotiating with Procurement

Webinar On-Demand: The Skills Your Team Needs to Negotiate With Procurement And Reduce Discounting

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