Driving Successful Initiatives: A Guide to Achieving Stakeholder Buy-In – In a perfect world, stakeholders would get straight onboard with every procurement project or initiative you propose. Unfortunately, procurement isn’t as easy as that. Stakeholders may view a spend or initiative as risky, unnecessary, unfeasible, too costly or have other objections. That doesn’t make it the end of the matter. As a procurement professional, part of your job is winning support for your projects. Here’s how to get your stakeholders onboard:
Know who your stakeholders are
First thing’s first: if you want to get your stakeholders to buy into your project, you have to know who they are. Identify people, partners, resources, groups or sponsors who a project or change could affect, and also establish potential obstructions to a successful result. Mapping stakeholders in this way creates the opportunity for you to understand them and assess how much impact they will have on the project. The purpose is to develop cooperation between stakeholders and the project team.
Understand the business drivers
It’s every bit as important to manage relationships with internal stakeholders as it is with external ones. Creating better cross-functional relationships with other departments will go a long way to secure buy-in from stakeholders. To do this, your procurement team should understand the business aims of each department, what each department considers good and what creates value for the department.
Managing risks is essential because reckless spending can eat into your organisation’s budget and bottom line. All projects carry risks, so identify them early. This will allow you to manage them better. Have a clear risk management plan in place to put your stakeholders at ease.
Communicate with senior management
Projects can fail without the support of senior management, so getting them onboard is crucial. Make sure you’re having honest conversations with the people at the top. Note that senior managers are busy people, so ask how you can free up time for them for the project. Provide them with some tasks to help secure their buy-in. Presentations are an opportunity for senior managers to share their views and show their support. People can see they’re invested in the project, which builds trust within the organisation.
Procurement professionals should also attend meetings with senior management so that they can align their procurement activities to the objectives of the business or organisation. At the same time, the senior management can derive insight into the procurement objectives from these meetings. They can then advocate procurement and ensure the right messages about procurement filter down the organisation.
Engage better with internal stakeholders
Engaging with internal stakeholders is a challenge, and lack of engagement with them is a major reason for projects failing. Communicating successfully in one-to-one and group situations is a key part of modern procurement. Start by building yours and the team’s presentation skills and communications. This will enable confident communication with them, no matter what their position or connection to the project.
Communicate clearly to tackle fears of change
Stakeholders can’t buy into something they don’t understand. If the project is something such as a digital transformation, it will bring about change; and change induces anxiety because people don’t know how the changes will affect them. Inform stakeholders why changes will take place, what changes will take place and how they will take place clearly. Strong communication and planning will combat their fears.
Improve procurement visibility
Cost savings are still the most accurate performance metric in the eyes of a lot of organisations; however, the focus on saving money can lead procurement departments to neglect the establishment of other metrics that help to illustrate the success of their activities.
To increase procurement visibility, your team should consider non-cost-saving benefits and innovations. The team can then take on different labels to address them. These labels could include finance specialists, corporate social responsibility experts, innovators and risk managers. The department should open up two-way dialogue about how procurement can support the different business units and add value to them. It should record the efficiencies and share the information with the stakeholders.
Are you finding stakeholders in your project difficult to convince? Contact us and find out about how working with us can help you give that push they need to give a spend or project the nod. For extra persuasive power, feel free to check our case studies, too, and see what we’ve helped our clients to accomplish.