Focus on the positive
When financial pressures are forcing everyone to try and cut costs, businesses can find even their most loyal customers looking hard at existing supply arrangements. Equally, increased scrutiny may open up new sales opportunities.
At CBS, strong customer relationships are at the very core of our business. Increased pressures on the bottom line however may mean that changes in procurement approaches are imposed from above. This might mean, for example, the centralisation of purchasing or the introduction of competitive tendering requiring a minimum number of bids to be obtained (three to five not being uncommon).
Some clients may be compelled to move to e-tendering, where the tendering process is conducted entirely via the internet. This can offer potential benefits for the buying organisation in the form of cost savings and improved process efficiencies – but for the supplier, however, the time involved in e-bids can be considerable – and worse, an e-bid gives limited opportunity for you to present your company personality or values. The prospect of a last minute online showdown on price can then result in drastically reduced margins.
The important thing to remember though is that a shift in purchasing behaviours which could be viewed as a threat, may also open doors. Organisations on your target list, who have previously been disinclined to change the status quo but whose budgets are now subject to review, are likely to widen their search for suppliers as a way of benchmarking value for money – giving you an opportunity to make a fresh approach.
Times are undoubtedly tough but it is important to stay focused. Rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of trading in the current climate, businesses need to remain primed at all times to identify and exploit all new opportunities as they arise.
Have you found any silver linings? Let me know your experiences in today’s trading environment.