Longtime readers of my blog know that I love to dissect educational sales material to determine appropriate procurement reactions. I recently came across a fascinating article entitled “The 8 Buyer Personas (and How to Sell to Them)” on the RAIN Selling Blog.
I think that it is worth a procurement professional’s time to read this article and evaluate which persona is closest to yours and how your sales counterparts see you. And I also think that it’s worth it to identify the weakness of your persona and work on improvements to those. Let me list the weaknesses of each persona and what you might want to focus on:
1. Decisive Danielle – Having this persona may be a very good thing. However, in a corporate procurement situation where satisfying the internal customer is often a very high priority, you may want to focus a little more on involving internal customers in the decision-making process. Decisions affect more people than just you, so forcing your decisions on others without their input can be a recipe for bad relationships.
2. Collaborative Claire – While facilitating team decisions is an important skill in procurement, I’ve seen the frequent need to do so result in buyers having no faith in their own decision-making ability. While there will always be decisions that require consensus, there are also decisions that you can make on your own. Recognize these. And act on them independently. If you don’t start making decisions independently, you’ll never become a good decision-maker.
3. Relationship Renee – Developing relationships in negotiation is important. It is common for these relationships to pay dividends later when your organization needs its suppliers to go above and beyond the call of duty to meet a particular challenge. However, if you are too easily swayed by relationships, you may be making decent decisions but not optimal decisions. You should always strive to find the best alternative for your organization.
4. Skeptical Steve – Maybe I’m like Skeptical Steve so much that I find little wrong with this persona. It’s good to question things to ensure you are making good decisions. I guess the only thing I have to say is don’t be too cold to your suppliers. In negotiations, a warm relationship can lead your supplier to reveal information that you can use to your organization’s benefit.
5. Gradual Greg – This one is easy: move faster. Not every decision has to take years. Some people leave emails in their inboxes for weeks because they need time to decide whether to act on it or delete it (I’ve done this myself). When it’s possible, figure out what to do, make the decision, and move on to something else instead of letting a decision fester indefinitely. Staying on the cutting edge doesn’t happen by delaying decisions.
6. Warp 9 Walt – This persona is one that I see in many procurement leaders that I know. “Let’s get it done…my people will take care of the details.” Decisiveness and appropriate time management are good, but this persona does cause problems when there are deal breakers in those details. Consult the people who will implement your decisions before finalizing those decisions. By doing so, you may avoid saying to your people six months later “I told you six months ago to make this happen. Why the hell is it floundering?”
7. Analytical Al – Many decisions involve data. Your analysis skills are valuable here. But some decisions don’t have a precedent. These probably scare you. But good decision-makers are able to choose the right paths simply by “following their gut.” It’s a very important skill to have, so you need to learn how to survive without your spreadsheets.
8. Innovator Irene – To innovate, you have to break from tradition. It’s good to do so, but sometimes it’s helpful to understand why something didn’t work before instead of being attracted to the idea of proving the naysayers wrong.
I’d like to thank the RAIN Selling Blog for posting such an inspiring article. They have some great material over there for anyone interested in selling (or decoding what your sales counterparts are thinking and doing!).
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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