For the CEO:Three differences between your “buy” side and “sell” side folks

The contrast between the buy side  folks and the sell side folks of the same firm is truly fascinating. Here are three fun differences between   the  buy side (supply chain, procurement,purchasing ) folks and sell side (marketing and sales people) of the same firm. As a CEO try using what applies to your firm:

  • Understand what scares them : Stockout and quality problems with supplies is the worst nightmare of the supply manager. The sales manager needs to make the sale-compulsively without always considering your capabilities or profitability. Be aware of these but don’t rub them in.
  • How do you motivate them?: Find out how much the supply manager has “saved” the company. Mention it in a meeting and put out a challenge in a category that needs work. For the marketing and sales folks – these are challenging times. Identify the great relationships that these people have developed and celebrate- even if business is not coming in as you expected.
  • Emphasize Good Buyer-Seller Relations: While the sales people are proud of their customer relations the supply side folks, by the nature of the task, need to present a tough front to the supplier. If you can’t pay the supplier in time, clear and kind  communication will go a long way and build partnerships that will help you ride out the recession. Let the supply managers know that its OK to lighten up!  On the marketing side reduce exposure to risk with more frequent supplies and closer monitoring of customer credit and frequent communication with credit risk customers- “How’s it going” is the preferred tone rather than  the incessant “When are you paying” !

Your supply and sales people are your window to the world directly linked to your firm. A slow economy need  not mean that your firm’s relationships have to lapse.

[ Note: This post was updated for formatting on February 6, 2021. Originally posted on June 11, 2010- the ideas continue to be applicable in 2021]

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