Earlier this week, Purchasing Magazine reported the results of ISM’s controversial membership vote regarding whether or not salespeople were allowed to join ISM and attend ISM events. The results were that about 75% of voters voted to allow salespeople to join.

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I admit to being surprised by the outcome of this vote. Nearly every person I had spoken to was vehemently against allowing salespeople to join. And other professional associations (e.g., the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Medical Association, etc.) strictly limit their membership to those in a specific role and exclude salespeople.

So, with this change, what has ISM become?

Can it really be considered a true procurement association going forward?

Can ISM now be considered more of a “chamber of commerce” – connecting buyers and sellers – than a professional association?

Will it lose the 23% of members who voted against it?

What proportion of the membership will be comprised of salespeople?

Will it recruit enough new sales members to offset the loss of procurement members in order to help the organization return to financial health?

Will ISM change its name (again) to reflect this change in audience? Long-time procurement professionals know that the organization has changed its name multiple times in its history.

What do you think?

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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