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Sales vs. Procurement functions

Widespread over-zealous sales functions on the one side; versus quasi-sadism in procurement functions.

Over the last few weeks, we have looked at some of the flaws with the current contracting process. These are: (1) one-sided, customer-generated documents; (2) “time poverty”; (3) conservatism and over-caution; and (4) the way in which external advisors are often remunerated.

The final factor we consider here is the behaviour by the various actors involved in the contracting process.

We all know pejorative term “second-hand car dealer” - and it is generally used to conjure up the image of an individual who over-promises, but under delivers. In the professional services world, these individuals are often more common in organisations where the sales and delivery functions are separate - meaning there is often little accountability for those who originally shook hands on the deal. These individuals are often enjoying their sales bonuses and repeating their behaviours on their next unwitting “victim”, by the time their previous deal is starting to unwind.

However, the fault does not reside purely with sale-side actors.

We have experienced, first-hand, negotiations where there is often a power-hungry delight on the part of the buying organisation - which is exhibited by many of the most unpleasant of corporate behaviours: bullying, rudeness, arrogance, raising one’s voice, patronising, undermining etc. etc.

We suspect many supply-side people reading this have experienced at least some of these behaviours from a customer or its representatives.

Being under pressure and time-poor only explains these behaviours to a limited extent (as theses concerns are equally pressing on the supply-side), the rest of the explanation has to be driven - at least in some small part - by a systemic quasi-sadism that is rampant amongst many of those acting on the buy-side.

At Clausify, we think that contractual discussions should be less “positional” and more constructive - focussing almost exclusively on the commercial components of the deal - and much less on legal posturing.

What do you think? Have you experienced either extreme?


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