Why Supplier Diversity is Crucial for Driving Business Growth

June 25, 2019

Procurement optimization can add immense value to your business, and in an evolving social landscape, procurement organizations are starting to diversify their suppliers. As a result, this proactive business plan is allowing women-owned, minority-owned and LGBTQ+ owned companies, among others to gain recognition among competitors and earn more business. Not only does diversifying your supplier base benefit the community, it also provides a unique selling point for your business. As a majority-women owned and woman founded company, APCO has been a certified Women’s Business Enterprise since 2006.

Here are three important factors for diverse suppliers to keep in mind when forming relationships and negotiating with procurement officers:

1. When it comes to negotiating, the positioning of your company’s unique value is key

Knowing and articulating what makes your company stand out from your competitors to procurement will allow your business to be at the top of their minds when there is a new client prospect. Being clear about your company’s unique selling point will not only serve as an internal guide to ensure your company lives out its values, but it is also it plays a crucial role in the partner selection process. Illustrating your company’s strategic fit, the growth opportunity and the potential impact to the client are all ways to show the procurement officers that your company provides and excels in services that your competitors don’t.

2. Understand the existing client relationships and experience with procurement

Forming a relationship with procurement officers is just one part of the equation. Nurturing that relationship over time is what will add value to your business and help your company deliver on its promises. When going into a partnership with procurement, it is important to play by the current terms and conditions. For example, stick to the pre-negotiated payments and non-compete language. Keeping in mind procurement’s objectives and staying consistent with price points for factors like media training, media monitoring and crisis simulation will ensure that your company’s budget is being upheld and maximized. Remember—they are expert negotiators, so your role is to make sure both sides understand the process and adhere to the rules to ensure a mutually beneficial financial value.

3. Procurement officers are friends, not foes

Lastly, procurement officers should be viewed as friends, whose partnership is essential to ensuring preferred vendor status and a clear understanding of an agency’s value proposition. Forming and growing this partnership with procurement is crucial for new businesses to winning larger opportunities. Over time, your organization’s partnership with procurement will become a vetted relationship, and the officers will transform into invaluable advocates for your company.

As a business owner, you must be prepared to counter negotiate to fit your business objectives and value proposition because, in the end, you are selling a solution that creates value for both the customer and the service provider.

To learn more about procurement at APCO Worldwide, visit: /content/procurement/.

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