Are your suppliers willing to go the extra mile for you? What can you offer them to drive the extra effort?
Buyers rely on suppliers to perform numerous requests from the very beginning of their relationship.
From the first RFx, to the laundry list of requests on tight timelines, suppliers play an integral role in the sourcing process. And having them wanting to help can make a huge difference.
What can supplier enablement do to encourage suppliers to meet their deadlines, and even go the extra mile beyond the bare minimum?
Here are ten potential ‘carrots’ to offer suppliers:
1) Invite to Assist with eProcurement Pilots
Suppliers welcome getting as much exposure as possible. Particularly if they are a new supplier, or you’re rolling out a new eProcurement system.
You can let suppliers know that if they can meet or even exceed your requirements that you’ll highlight them during testing and User Acceptance Testing (UAT). You can include them in your test scripts, and call them out during demos, amongst other things.
2) Feature on eProcurement System’s Home Page
Some modern eProcurement systems give admins the ability to display whatever you’d like on the homepage using business enabled CMS blocks.
Offering this prime real estate to highlight suppliers who have excelled (e.g. provided an awesome catalogue or offered heavy discounts) would be a huge inspiration for a supplier.
3) Float Sales Items to Top of Search Results
Modern eProcurement systems allow admins to affect search results giving specific items more weight or even float to the top of search results.
Similar to how suppliers promote sales items on their B2C sites, you can offer suppliers to boost items they agree to put on sale for at least a period of time.
4) Invite Onsite for ‘Meet and Greet’
Most suppliers will welcome the opportunity to come in and informally meet with their end customers. Maybe even allow them to setup their trade show booth or a table in the office lobby.
I’ve seen some buyers even create some co-branded marketing material, including booth signs or posters, stating that the supplier’s products were available on the eProcurement platform.
5) Visit Them Onsite
When suppliers have to come in to meet with you in your office, it’s typically a nerve-racking experience for them. They’re probably all dressed up and a little nervous as they enter your, likely relatively lavish, corporate office building.
But offering to come to their office for an informal tour/meet-n-greet would likely be an enjoyable honour for them.
6) Promote in an Email Blast
How every supplier wishes they had the ability, and their buyer’s blessing, to send even one email to all your employees.
Offer them the chance to promote their offerings in a company-wide email blast and every supplier will jump at the opportunity.
7) Display an Ad on your Intranet
It’s in a buyer’s best interest to entice more employees to use their eProcurement system to make purchases. The buyer’s intranet is probably a popular place where employees go daily.
You can display an ad on your intranet to let employees know they can procure that supplier’s category via the eProcurement system. For example, “The New iPhone 7 – Now on eBuy!”
8) Offer a Testimonial
Suppliers are very proud of their relationship with their customers. They’re especially proud of being selected to tightly integrate with a customer’s internal eProcurement system after all the effort both have put in.
When a buyer gives a supplier a testimonial that they can use to grow their business. It’s often a very welcome shot in the arm for the supplier’s marketing efforts.
9) Blessing for a White Paper
A step up from a testimonial would be a buyer’s blessing to allow the supplier to create a white paper on how they’ve helped you.
For example, getting the supplier to tell the story of how they exceeded requirements for the buyers on a new project.
10) Issue a Press Release
While I’ve never heard of it being done, there is one absolute ultimate carrot (apart from a multi-million dollar contract) which would ensure the extra mile from the supplier.
This would be to give the supplier their blessing to issue a press release to let the world know about the partnership. Ideally the release could also include a quote from the buyer.
Admittedly, this would only make sense if it was a very strategic and unique arrangement, and that a press release would make BOTH companies look good.
Some of these may be out of the question for your organisation. But hopefully they’ll at least give you a sense of what’s often valuable to suppliers, and some ideas on how you can help them to help you.
What are some other examples of ways you’ve been able to encourage suppliers to go the extra mile?