Meeting of minds
As supplier reviews resume, buyers are looking for a higher level of understanding and engagement with their industry partners, says Scott Davies, CEO of ITM
It has been heartening to see suppliers to the business travel industry bringing staff back from furlough and, in a number of cases, even recruiting to fill customer facing positions.
Although buyers are very much looking forward to in-person meetings with their counterparts at airlines, hotels, rail and ground providers, TMCs, and technology firms, they are looking for a different kind of engagement this time around.
Supplier review meetings of the distant past were informal affairs where relationships were developed and sometimes food and beverage were consumed. Then came the advent of the CRM and reviews became highly structured, even formulaic, explorations of endless reports and carefully constructed questions designed to secure advances and commitments.
“All hail the next age of the supplier review meeting; sharing, listening to and enlightening each other for mutual benefit”
As we all start over again, supplier reviews must also be re-imagined, according to many of our buyer members. Buyers tell us they want precious time spent face-to-face with their key suppliers to be lifted a level in terms of strategic thinking and to help connect their organisations in different ways.
Contract progress can always be tracked but this will happen more often outside of the meeting. Buyers will want to understand exactly how their partners are managing the recovery and what other value they can bring to each other in the areas of sustainability, employee wellbeing, diversity & inclusion and more.
So all hail the next age of the supplier review meeting; sharing, listening to and enlightening each other for mutual benefit. A meeting of minds to be looked forward to in the calendar.
Sales effectiveness managers and CRM configurators take note!