In the fall of 2013, Stephen Ashcroft, a specialist in procurement risk at Brian Farrington, wrote a post for Supply Management about the fact that procurement practitioners have been hesitant to embrace social media in general, and twitter more specifically.
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One of the interesting things about consistently reading and hearing content from quality sources is that you start to notice trends. It is amazing how often the same topics arise at the same time in different places. We use this blog as a way to help you stay on top of the major themes in procurement and supply chain management.
It is not unusual for me to get an email from a colleague asking me to read an article or post and then share my two cents. It is unusual that following through on such a request would take me on the wild ride that it did this week.
Let me retrace the steps – starting at the very beginning…
Since our inception, Buyers Meeting Point has always made Corporate Social Responsibility part of our mission. We have always had a selected charity that we donate to at the end of the year – most recently Plan International and Livestrong.
In order to help procurement better position ourselves and communicate through all of the channels available to us, Buyers Meeting Point reached out to a colleague with a background in marketing and experience in the procurement space. Sheryl Johnson is the founder of BD-PRo Marketing Solutions and focuses on implementing creative marketing and business networking strategies for small and medium sized businesses, as well as a professor of marketing at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania.
Today’s eSourcing Wiki-Wednesday topic is Harnessing the Power of Community. This is the last of 21 strategies for innovation in procurement through next generation sourcing. If you are interested in the rest of the series, you can read them on our Wiki-Wednesday news page.
This topic is well timed, as the United States plans to take a short break for the Thanksgiving holiday – we stop and take a moment to realize just how many people are critical to our successes. While it has always ‘taken a village’ and there has never been an ‘I in team’ these days our communities are increasingly virtual. Associations that were previously regular meeting spots have moved online. Our personal and professional networks are larger, but we bear responsibility for making sure they run just as deep. It means very little to have 500+ connections if you don’t know who any of them are well enough to leverage their knowledge and experience.
Since Buyers Meeting Point is a virtual entity, we’ve gotten pretty good at building and maintaining productive relationships with people we will probably never meet. Here are a few of our tips for virtual collaboration:
- Book time on your calendar to join discussions on LinkedIn. This doesn’t have to mean a daily or weekly time commitment. Once a month, allow yourself an hour to browse a few of the groups that are large enough to be interesting but not so big that they aren’t being moderated effectively.
- If you have a good exchange with someone via email (or other social media channel) find an opportunity to jump on the phone. It may only take 15 or 20 minutes, but making the effort to introduce yourself ‘the old fashioned way’ will not only make an impression on the person you’ve connected with but will pay dividends in terms of what you can accomplish in email moving forward.
- Do a favor for someone. This can be as simple as retweeting something of interest or giving a #FF (FollowFriday) where you think your followers will be interested. Take the simple step of “Liking” a post or a discussion with your Facebook account. People who make an effort to put good work forward will appreciate the simple gesture and you may be able to open a door to a better connection.
- Remember to ask for help when you need it. If you find yourself stuck, look through your network to see who might be able to help you out. People love to be regarded as knowledgeable, and the fact that you respect their experience enough to ask for their opinion will make them regard you positively in return.
On January 31st “The Sales Guy”, BMP’s undercover sales advisor, was the featured speaker on the Strategic Sourcing & Procurement Group Call. We recommend that you become a member of the SS&P Group if you aren’t already.
If you are interested in learning more about The Sales Guy and the insights he has offered through Buyers Meeting Point, you can read our Posts from the Flip Side or submit a question to him to be answered in our blog. You can also listen to the call recording on demand.
This week’s Wiki-Wednesday topic is benchmarking, and we are covering it at the suggestion of BMP member Victor Halchin. A discussion has been going on in the Strategic Sourcing & Procurement group on LinkedIn in response to the following question: "If you are "locked " into a supplier , would you be prepared to try another for benchmarking even if it was just to "bash " down the supplier on price - would you change suppliers if you were offered the same service at reduced costs on your purchasing requirements?”