Engaging Customer Supply Chain Strategies™

Many sophisticated companies today have established structured supply chain management programs designed to drive down costs and ensure their products achieve costs targets, and their company achieves their own profitability goals.

In many of these organizations, these are formal, strategic programs with senior leadership visibility, special tracking tools and dashboards, program-specific financial objectives, and special compensation and incentive programs designed to ensure their achievement.

These programs are implemented within the purchasing/procurement organizations that you deal with, often with specific training curricula, scenario planning, and even role playing of specific large negotiations to ensure that all participants understand their roles and objectives.

PICOS. Lean Manufacturing Process. Corporate Supplier Reduction Programs. SCOR. Spend Management. Design Cost Reduction Ramps. Reverse Auctions.

This is not simply your sales person negotiating with their buyer.

This is your sales person up against a team of customer personnel implementing a formal program of strategic importance designed to forcefully engage suppliers with the objective of achieving significant cost reductions.

These planned strategies and tactics are implemented in ways specifically designed to commoditize the value of your offering, and remove the potential advantage of any long-term relationships that have been established.

In addition, these tactics are often implemented by purchasing or procurement staff who are strategically deliberately separated from those who directly derive value from our products and services.

These organizations are playing a different game. Not understanding the rules of this game – and how to deal with them – puts your selling team at significant disadvantage and your selling price at significant risk.

And our selling price is the single most powerful lever you have to improve your organization’s gross profits. In many organizations, even small single digit percentage improvements in selling price have double digit impacts on your profitability.

Engaging Customer Supply Chain Management Strategies™ (ECSC) is a one and one half-day learning experience designed to help sales teams understand the level at which the Supply Chain Management “game” is being played in their accounts, and learn strategies and tactics to counter these powerful programs and processes.

In this session, participants complete a brief questionnaire designed to help determine the extent to which organized Supply Chain processes are being “played” in their customer accounts.

We then “pull back the curtain” and show the sales team how the various programs processes and procedures are used in their negotiations. Participants quickly come to see how these strategies and tactics are used to negate and nullify any competitive differentiation and commoditize their value.

Once your sales people understand the game that is being played, they learn a set of principled strategies and tactics for preparing to play this different game, to nullify the impact of these strategies, and to professionally respond to and counter the tactics when they are observed. .

Throughout the process, participants come to realize that this is a game – a serious game with importance consequences, but still, a game. One in which their true ‘opponent’ is not their customer, but their competition. Learning to play the game as a professional means doing so in such a way so both parties will want to play again.

During this workshop, participants also de-construct the strategies and tactics that are likely being used against them in a current negotiation, and develop and plan counter strategies to increase your leverage and retain your margins.

Your sales people are up against seriously smarter and more strategic procurement processes and professionals than ever before. Make sure they are prepared to play the game to win.


Upon completion of the Engaging Customer Supply Chain Strategies™ workshop, participants will:

  • Develop new and successful ways to maintain margin when up against strategic, organized, “hardball”, supply chain management strategies.
  • Gain insight into supply chain management strategies of various types and their implications for managing your account relationships and defending your margin.
  • Understand the common hardball tactics, and be able to identify the use of those tactics in both past and current customer negotiations.
  • Learn a process to counterbalance hardball tactics and preserve the customer relationship.
  • Expand the comfort level of the field in using the process to handle organized, strategic procurement processes.
  • Action plan for a current and future strategic negotiation.

For more information, download a pdficon_small of our Engaging Customer Supply Chain Strategies™ fact sheet or contact us directly.