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Brian’s Top 10 Rules of Engagement

Partnering With Procurement

As I was thinking about conversations I’ve had over the years with procurement professionals, in addition to  reading their POVs on certain topics, there are certain things we should keep in mind as agencies when partnering with this group. 

Here are my Top 10 thoughts…

#10 – Always bring your “A” game. In all submissions, pitches, and client engagements. There is a lot of work to sort through and they are the ones putting us forward to their teams, so it behooves all of us to ensure that we give them our best every step of the way.

#9 – It’s okay to say no. If you can’t field a piece of business. Believe me, you will be much more respected to decline an opportunity that you know you aren’t the best fit for rather than fake your way through it and hope for the best.  We can’t all be experts at everything.  Don’t try and fake until you make it, otherwise everyone might look bad.

#8 – Be a partner. So many new business professionals are too self-serving. When procurement recommends your agency, they are putting their own reputations on the line so always act in the spirit of partnership and professionalism.  I would challenge you to put yourselves in their shoes and act in their best interest – it might just develop into a beneficial and enduring relationship for both of you.

#7 – Keep them in the loop. As we speak with so many cross-functional constituents of our clients, the last thing that should happen is to have our friends in procurement be blindsided internally.  That said, let them know who you are speaking with and what you’re talking about, so when the phone rings or they get that email from the VP of Marketing, there are no surprises or questions.

#6 – Be a connector. If procurement or a client needs help sourcing network, if unique or specialized project, reach out to your network, and if you are able to help, help them.

#5 – Be flexible. The days of the large, layered agency teams are few and far between currently.  Many RFPs have been requesting more of a bespoke approach to staffing that offers flexibility to work within a client’s fluid operating model.  Be nimble…be better.

#4 – Follow the rules. During the agency sourcing process. Follow the rules set out by procurement and outlined in the RFP.  Circumventing proper protocol should not happen. Get overly creative with your work, not your RFP response.

#3 – Communication. Is good within reason.  Procurement professionals are constantly inundated with all forms of communication from agencies, so be respectful.  It’s OK to ask a question or follow up, but please have a good reason to reach out.  These are busy folks, and every minute is precious.

#2 – Be grateful for opportunities. Whether you win or lose a pitch, be both humble and grateful.  The client found a good match for their business.  Be happy for them and come back to compete another day.

And finally…

#1 – BE HONEST. This shouldn’t have to be said, but unfortunately, it does. I feel very strongly about this. When you are honest about pricing, staffing, and your capabilities, you build TRUST. Trust is the most important part of any successful relationship. Integrity means everything.  Enough said.

Comments or questions can be directed to:

Brian Marisch

Chief Growth Officer

HCB Health[email protected]

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