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(1.5 minute read)

As most services' companies know, working with both marketing and procurement can almost seam like working with completely different clients. Some of this frustration comes from a lack of communication between the two teams, below are a few tips for our Marketing and Procurement friends.

1. Set Goals

Try to understand eachothers goals; yes seriously. I'm not saying the two teams need a kumbaya moment to get this but its important to understand from the objectives from the get-go. Make sure you agree which areas procurement can bring value to your agency relationships, prioritise them and you’ll have a knockout year together.

2. Define success

Next, you should have a discussion about what success looks like. Once you both have the same understanding of adding value (see no.1), there should be a discussion on specific areas where your departments can help improve brand performance. Done correctly, this should not only be a ‘load off’ but even be a breath of new life in your relationship.

3. Share pain points

Share your pain points: a decent Procurement Manager will interview representatives of the marketing team when he/she begins the new role, and this should be part of the discussion. Think about which common issues affect you and the marketing team working effectively. Areas like ordering, lead times, approval processes, repeated or unnecessary meetings, sloppy/late/unnecessary reports, unintelligible production quotes and unconstructive feedback are all often troublesome areas that come to light.

4. Build structure

Let them help you structure and formalise the agency relationship in areas such as KPIs, Performance Reviews (and incentives), pricing and getting a robust contract in place. Relationship and financial audits too.

5. Understand function

Get a basic understanding of what each team is focusing on, this will help you get a better grasp of each-other's responsibilities and objectives.

6. Engage early

Early involvement: a common gripe from procurement’s stakeholders is that, as a gatekeeper or approver, they block or delay projects; procurement (by the same token) often complains of a lack of rigour in the marketer’s engagement of agencies. Early involvement – at the planning stage – helps assure a smooth path forward.

7. Build trust

Some of the most successful interactions between marketing, procurement and agency are open and early. Procurement can help, of course, with structure in the commercial relationship, but playing ‘good cop/bad cop’ has limited value in what should be a win-win partnership; procurement professionals have different negotiation styles for different situations.

8. Integrate into the team

Get procurement involved in the marketing team. If you involve your procurement contacts in training or regular marketing team updates, they’ll be up to speed on Marketing’s priority activities, values and language, and less likely to be a blocker.

9. Fresh perspective

Procurement may have an interesting overview, internally and externally. While you’re head down, poring over your brand values, agency proposals and executions, reach out to them and ask their opinions on agencies. They'll not only appreciate you showing them that their voice matters but it will make the collective work load much more enjoyable.

10. Act as counsellor

On the occasions where the agency relationship is beyond rescue, procurement is there too to help marketing end the existing relationship smoothly, search for a new agency and lend structure and discipline to the process of bringing them into the roster.

Give these a try teams! It will not only make your work environments a lot more enjoyable but will give the agencies a much more enjoyable time too!

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