When you’re selling to enterprise or any company over a certain contract value you’ll start running into some common enterprise procurement practices. This is a nice way of saying you’ll start running into things that will slow your sales cycle down. For small to medium-sized tech startups the time from discovery to closed won can be the difference between thriving or dying a slow death. Speeding up the sales cycle and ensuring efficient navigation of contract complexities by the legal team are equally crucial. Contract Sent has created a contract management tool that is focused solely on exactly this, taking the procurement stage of your sales cycle, making it faster and giving you insight into what’s holding things up.
- Understanding the Procurement Landscape
- 1. Needs Assessment and Vendor Identification:
- 2. Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotation (RFQ):
- 3. Vendor Evaluation and Selection:
- 4. Contract Negotiation and Approval Workflow:
- 5. Supplier Relationship Management (SRM):
- 6. Contract Lifecycle Management:
- 7. Compliance and Risk Management:
- 8. Performance Monitoring and Evaluation:
- How To Speed Up The Procurement Cycle
- 2. Build relationships:
- 5. Customized solutions:
- 6. Offer incentives:
- 15. Be patient and persistent:
Understanding the Procurement Landscape
Navigating the web of common enterprise procurement practices that are put in place for companies with over five hundred or a thousand employees is vital for startups aiming to sell to these customers and close fast. Let’s have a look at the common practices that can significantly impact the efficiency of the procurement process.
1. Needs Assessment and Vendor Identification:
Before getting into the procurement stage of selling, startups need a clear understanding of the customers requirements. A savvy sales person should always prepare early in the conversation for what will be needed here by asking ‘what should be prepare for procurement’. There might be a lot or a little but the sales team will be able to prep the team for what’s coming. This might be meetings with the startups CTO or vetting people that will handle their data.
2. Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotation (RFQ):
The process of issuing and evaluating RFPs or RFQs can often be time-consuming. You can have a swift turnaround with these if you keep a record of each one that you do. You’ll find that the questions of different RFPs are often repeated or similar. You can save time with copy and paste.
3. Vendor Evaluation and Selection:
Selecting the right vendor is a critical decision for enterprises. And your sales team sets the scene for your product being the correct vender to partner with an enterprise customer. This could mean going over and above with intro’s to senior executives or founders of the startup, it could mean sharing case studies or financial details about why your startup is a viable vender in the long run.
4. Contract Negotiation and Approval Workflow:
Efficient contract negotiation is the key to expediting the sales cycle. Contract Sent addresses the challenge of managing legal teams and approvals through its task management system. This ensures that the right tasks are prioritized, even when deadlines loom at the end of the month or quarter.
Contract Management Made for Startups
Set Tasks, Negotiate Faster
5. Supplier Relationship Management (SRM):
Building and maintaining positive relationships with suppliers is a cornerstone of successful procurement. During the sales process you should be looking to establish relationships across both your customers organization and your own. This includes introductions to post sales customer service stage to fill the customer with confidence. You should be always working to create collaboration and communication between startups and their suppliers, promoting a healthy and productive SRM.
6. Contract Lifecycle Management:
One of the major pain points for startups is the aftermath of signed contracts – information trapped in lengthy PDFs and difficulty accessing critical details. Using team management methods like Kanban boards for team management allows you to move faster as well as have a clear overview of what’s where at all times.
7. Compliance and Risk Management:
Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements is non-negotiable. Common enterprise procurement practices include checking that your business has valid business insurance, has a continuation plan in place and your development team knows what they are doing. All of these things can be preprepared for your sales team to provide when needed.
8. Performance Monitoring and Evaluation:
Tracking progress and evaluating the effectiveness of the procurement process is crucial for continuous improvement. Contract Sent’s dashboards for contract metrics provide senior leaders with a comprehensive overview, allowing them to make informed decisions and drive strategic initiatives.
As startups jump through the hoops common enterprise procurement practices, Contract Sent emerges as a valuable tool, addressing pain points and streamlining the entire process. By seamlessly integrating its user-friendly features, Contract Sent empowers startups to not only overcome common challenges but also to thrive in a competitive business environment.
How To Speed Up The Procurement Cycle
Speeding up an enterprise customer’s procurement process can be crucial in closing deals more quickly and efficiently. Here are some sales negotiation tips to help you achieve that:
1. Understand their procurement process:
- First and foremost, gain a deep understanding of your customer’s procurement process. Know who the decision-makers are, what steps are involved, and any potential bottlenecks.
2. Build relationships:
- Foster strong relationships with key stakeholders, including decision-makers, influencers, and procurement professionals. Building trust can expedite the process.
3. Identify pain points:
- Discover the specific challenges and pain points your customer is facing in their procurement process. Tailor your solutions to address these pain points effectively.
4. Provide a compelling value proposition:
- Clearly articulate the unique value your product or service offers, emphasizing how it will solve their problems and deliver ROI quickly.
5. Customized solutions:
- Adapt your offerings to meet the customer’s specific needs and requirements. Show that you’ve done your homework and are committed to delivering a solution tailored to them.
6. Offer incentives:
- Consider offering incentives such as discounts, extended payment terms, or added services to incentivize the customer to move more quickly.
7. Provide case studies and references:
- Share success stories and references from similar enterprise customers who have benefited from your product or service. This can help build confidence in your solution.
8. Collaborate with procurement:
- Collaborate closely with the customer’s procurement team. Ensure you have a clear understanding of their requirements and work together to streamline the procurement process.
9. Simplify the paperwork:
- Minimize the complexity of contracts and other paperwork. Make sure your legal and procurement teams can work together efficiently to finalize the agreement.
10. Set clear timelines:
- Establish clear timelines and deadlines for each step of the procurement process. This helps keep everyone accountable and on track.
11. Overcome objections:
- Anticipate and address objections proactively. Be prepared to provide evidence and solutions to overcome any concerns the customer may have.
12. Escalate when necessary:
- If the process is stalling due to internal issues on the customer’s side, escalate the matter to higher-level decision-makers who can push things forward.
13. Offer a pilot or trial:
- Suggest a pilot program or trial period to allow the customer to test your product or service with reduced risk. This can often expedite the procurement process.
14. Keep communication open:
- Maintain open and frequent communication with the customer. Regular check-ins can help ensure everyone stays aligned and informed throughout the process.
15. Be patient and persistent:
- While you want to expedite the process, it’s essential to strike a balance between urgency and patience. Sometimes enterprise procurement processes take time, so maintain persistence without being pushy.
Remember that each enterprise customer’s procurement process can vary significantly, so adapt these tips to the specific situation and needs of your customer. Building strong relationships, providing value, and demonstrating flexibility are key to expediting the process while maintaining a positive customer experience.