Today’s guest post is from Mat Langley, a Strategic Advisor and Procurement Executive with 14 years experience in leadership roles in strategic sourcing and category management in Europe, Africa and Asia across Finance, IT Outsourcing and Oil & Gas industries who is currently associated with Shortlist.co.
In this post I am suggesting three areas the tools we’re implementing need to change to give Marketing what they need and then I’d love to hear any more ideas/suggestions that you have.
The ideas below are based upon the fact that a significant percentage of marketers (greater than 50% according to a July study by Walker Sands2) believe that we’re not investing enough in the right amount or the right type of solutions for them.
A recent international survey of Procurement Executives by Ivalua shows that we are focused on transforming the toolsets we’re using today — 80% of us consider Digital Transformation an opportunity3. That’s fantastic – now our focus needs to continue finding tools that are simple for marketers to use — on day 1 — not year 1. Preferably they should have modern interfaces and be SaaS so Marketers don’t have to use one brain at home and another at work.
2. The tools we’re providing need to improve access to qualified agencies
With the significant increase in channels and the number of content components that need to be created – access to a broader set of qualified specialist agencies to meet campaign needs is required. We need to provide tools that let marketers find, engage and then partner with agencies big and small across the specialist spectrum regardless of whether they are across the street or across the globe. And no, I’m not recommending that long-term relationships or that strategic and broad partnerships aren’t important — I’m simply pointing out that Marketing needs an agile toolset to deliver against compelling (and evolving) challenges — and they need access to partners ‘on demand’. This needs to be done in a way that meets our obligations to protect the organization commercially while bringing in the best and brightest vendors.
3. The tools we’re providing need to improve the creation of Request for Partnerships (RFPs) – perhaps they could even be user friendly?
Everyone in the organization has too much work… We need to provide tools that allow Marketers to find and share best practice workflows, templates for briefs, easy access to current best practice questions and that have the maximum amount of automation built-in for comparisons, approval workflows, agreement signatures, and so on. And our tools need to integrate with other tools marketers are using to get the job done – whether that’s Dropbox for file storage, Slack for communication, Office365 for email and yes, even your ERP system! And most of all the tools we choose need to help engage agencies and build long-term partnerships – not drive them all into a single box as described by Kirk Cheyfitz in his piece on ‘6 New Reasons to Kill the RFP4:
|I think the fact that you put your RFP out only to agencies you really like is a demonstration that it wasn’t too closely allied to the mass, mindless cattle calls that I rail against. Then you actually seem to ask open-ended questions that invite the respondents to define or re-define the conversation. And that puts you completely outside classic RFP territory. Even I would respond to an RFP like that.|
I believe that with a renewed or for many an on-going focus on the above 3 items we can align with Marketing and let them take control of their Request for Partnerships which will, hopefully with the right tools, lead to RFPs being done in days and weeks – not months and with less frustration and pain for all stakeholders involved: Marketing, Procurement and Agencies. This should lead to more of the Marketing spend being influenceable and competitive, thereby addressing both obligations of procurement to the marketing team and the broader organization.
2 Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2016 Understanding The New Martech Buyer Journey
3 Ivalua. (2015, 3 November). International Survey Procurement Executives, PROCUREMENT IN THE DIGITAL AGE: Measuring the impact of Digital on Procurement Departments.
4 Kirk Cheyfitz. (2015, April 02). 6 New Reasons to Kill the RFP: Find Innovators, Not Commodities.