While setting goals or New Year’s Resolutions, people often overlook setting professional goals. Over the past few weeks, I have been speaking with Ariba Discovery suppliers to learn some simple steps buyers can take to “become a better buyer” and accomplish their professional New Year’s Resolutions and goals. In Part 1 of the “Becoming a Better Buyer” series, we discussed supplier diversity. In today’s follow-up, we will discuss a second goal, commitment to collaboration.
A buyer’s success on Ariba Discovery – as any buyer/supplier relationship for that matter – largely depends on their ability to communicate and collaborate with suppliers. Although the following examples are geared toward buyers using Ariba Discovery, they are applicable to any transaction between a buyer and seller.
Tip #1: Be detailed when describing what you want. People cannot read minds. If you went into a hardware store and a salesperson offered to help you find something you couldn’t just say you needed “tools.” You have to be detailed, for example: “I am looking for a handheld, 8 inch, Phillips head screwdriver and 1 and 5/8 inch Phillips drywall screws.” The same goes with postings on Ariba Discovery. Make sure to choose the specific categories and sales territories relevant to the posting. Provide a detailed description of your buying needs and attach relevant documents.
Tip #2: Be clear and upfront in what disqualifies a supplier. If a supplier needs to be local or deliver within two business days, be upfront about those facts in your posting. Are references required? Again, that information needs to be available in your initial posting so suppliers know if they qualify for your opportunity.
Tip #3: Answer all supplier questions in a timely manner. Even if your posting is incredibly detailed, some suppliers may still have questions or require additional information before they respond to your posting. This is sometimes because the supplier may have some innovation that will help you become more competitive but they want to make sure it is appropriate for your business. Remember, suppliers are typically domain experts in their particular space, so leverage their knowledge to help you make the best buying decision. So, make sure to answer all of their questions in a timely manner to give suppliers enough time to respond by your posting deadline.
Tip #4: Respond to all suppliers. Suppliers may have put considerable time into preparing their offers. It is important to close the loop with all suppliers who took the time to respond – whether or not you decide to move forward with them. This will also allow you to build a reputation as a good buyer to work with and provide you a list of back-up suppliers and potential suppliers for future projects.
Tip #5: Provide feedback and rate your suppliers. Ariba Discovery is free for buyers to use, but suppliers pay a fee to respond to your posting. Even if they are not awarded the business, every supplier deserves feedback to know why they did not win your business and what they could do to improve their chances in the future. If a supplier gave a thorough, timely response to your posting, take the time to rate them, regardless if they won your business that time. Many buyers consider supplier ratings when making their decisions so your feedback is helpful. In the end, suppliers are hunters, they don’t expect to win every time but they do want to know if it is good hunting ground so quack by providing feedback to let them know you are a serious buyer. This feedback is what helps keep the supplier quality high on Ariba Discovery.
Read the Buyer Posting Tips Datasheet for more tips and tricks.