I got to pick the brain of procurement managers of large corporations such as Telus, Coca Cola and National Car Rental at a conference this week. Here are the things they said that they’re looking for in a new supplier:
The main thing corporations are looking for in a new supplier is Innovation. Show them a different way to do the same thing and they will replace their current supplier with you.
That simple. Bring buyers a substantial value add that the innovation causes. Bring a price cut from their current suppliers. Give them a reason to do business with you.
The Long Term Stalk
Buyers said to keep in touch with them once a quarter and in a meaningful way, telling them about a new innovation in your company or a new product you started to sell. Don’t stalk all in one week. Corporation buying windows are often a year. Follow up with them but do it in a respectful way.
I tell my clients to stalk by blocking their number and calling at different hours to try to actually get to a live human voice but the truth is that if you’re reduced to leaving a voicemail, don’t do it more than once a quarter.
Value Statement King
Any email, voicemail, any form of pitch is completely wasted if it can’t bottom line what’s in it for the buyers. For example, an email (even if it’s cold) title that says “Reduce Your Marketing Waste by 50%” and corresponding messaging in the email is 100 times better than a title that says “Introducing the New Marketing Software Dazzle”. Always remember that your messaging has to be the solution to the pain that you solve for them.
Cold vs. Warm Doesn’t Matter
Whether the supplier is cold calling or emailing vs. being introduced to them doesn’t matter. If you have a diversity certificate and they have a diversity mandate, it doesn’t matter. If you have been a published expert in your field for over 3 decades, it doesn’t matter. All that these buyers care about are the above things: Is it innovative? Will it solve my problem in a way nobody else is doing? Is there a compelling Value Proposition in this pitch? Everything comes down to value. So it’s critical that you 1. understand the specific value your product/service brings and 2. communicate it succinctly as a top level Value Proposition.
If you’re not doing that, you’re wasting your time and fooling yourself into believing that you can sell to corporations.
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