Make It Easy for Your Stakeholders

You need your stakeholders, and they need you.

Monday, November 2, 2015
BY: Ole Nielsen, Chairman and Founder

Excellent ideas in this post from the American Council of Sourcing and Procurement Executives (ACSPE) on how to get buy-in from stakeholders for your program. After 15+ years in the strategic sourcing business, we at Scanmarket know that this is one of the primary challenges you face, and one of the areas where you can make the most impact.

If you look across Michael Shaw’s recommendations, they contain a central theme. Stakeholder engagement = Selling. This should not be seen as a “bad” thing despite any interactions you may have had in the past with the typical software salesperson. Instead, it incorporates the best traits of good salespeople:

  • Listening
  • Problem-solving
  • Focus on the customer

The one significant thought we would add to these suggestions is “Make It Easy”. We have found that our 300 customers see their best results when they focus on simplifying the process, especially since stakeholders (and their suppliers) do not typically use the tools every day.

Several specific ways to make it easy include:

  • Templates – any time you can provide stakeholders with a head start, it will work better for all. Your stakeholder will save time, and you’ll know that a project is being done the way it needs to be
  • Credentials – Scanmarket does not require stakeholders (internal or external) to maintain usernames and passwords. Instead, they receive unique, traceable links to the project. Across the industry, 90% of support calls are related to credentials so anything that simplifies management of usernames and passwords can only help
  • Immediate support – We have found that Scanmarket’s Quick Call feature, where stakeholders receive immediate call-back for all questions, has dramatically increased the satisfaction of all participants as well as the throughput of the program

As you determine where to spend limited time, stakeholder engagement should be very much at the top of your list.