5 Ways to Increase Procurement Stakeholder Engagement

Procurement and strategic sourcing have certainly evolved over the last 20 years. Purchasing teams, once considered nonessential, are now a critical part of business operations. One of the primary problems that procurement teams frequently encounter involves stakeholder engagement. When communication between Procurement and stakeholders is not consistent, it becomes difficult to align purchasing tasks with business goals. 

Procurement teams are often challenged with getting the right level of stakeholder involvement and buy-in with their goals, making it difficult to align their objectives with the larger organization. McKinsey has reported that “transformations are four times more likely to be successful when influential employees are involved.” Ultimately, if you want to build a passionate and successful procurement team, you need to understand how best to engage stakeholders. According to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession survey, “projects with high executive support were 40% more likely to be successful than those with low engagement.” 

Clearly, stakeholder engagement is a key ingredient to procurement performance. The following five tips can help you improve your stakeholder buy-in, starting today. 

1. Communicate With Regular Touchpoints

Effective engagement requires consistent communication. That can be difficult with teams that are not accustomed to engaging with each other. In fact, 60% of companies don’t have a long-term strategy for their internal communications. Remember that building a relationship takes time, consistency, and shared dedication to the established goals. To get real buy-in, make sure you formalize meetings and interactions. Set up regular touchpoints and make them recurring meetings with all team members so that everyone stays informed and feels like they are part of the process. 

According to Expert Market, “86% of corporate executives, educators, and employees cite ineffective communication and poor collaboration as reasons for failures in the workplace.” To combat these failures, develop an agenda so all team members know the discussion points. Use these meetings to address progress, identify obstacles to advancement, and discuss any issues that arise. Having a consistent discussion around these topics aligns all stakeholders toward the same goals and allows teams to identify successes and shortcomings. 

2. Create Goals Together

Developing goals together helps to clearly illustrate shared priorities and objectives. According to a study from Gartner, only 20% of organizations involve teams in goal-setting activities. Co-creation of goals encourages stakeholder buy-in because it gives them active involvement and visibility into critical tasks.

If all team members have a shared dedication to goals, it becomes easier to meet those stated objectives and creates a team mindset. If people feel they are part of the process, especially in setting goals, they will work hard to ensure the team’s success.

3. Demonstrate Procurement’s Value

Added value can take many forms. So often, businesses only pay attention to cost savings — focusing strictly on how different initiatives affect the bottom line. While cost savings are certainly a valid and top concern, going beyond savings can really affect procurement stakeholder engagement. For example, are you streamlining processes? Are you mitigating and managing risk for the organization? The ways you can help the organization are endless, but if you want to showcase these opportunities, you’ll need to identify them and track progress. However, if you’re serious about demonstrating this value, you can illustrate how important Procurement is to the business as a whole. 

4. Communicate Shared Successes

Nothing helps to create stakeholder engagement quite like shared successes. Seeing how teamwork can create success is key to getting stakeholders involved. Working together toward aligned goals helps to engender a team mindset and gives everyone a stake in the results. CMS Wire has reported that 97% of employees “believe communication has an impact on tasks performed every day.” In communicating with the larger business, stakeholders are making their involvement visible. Here, the old adage that success breeds success is true; the more that the organization hears about procurement successes, the more that internal stakeholders will want to be part of the successful process.

5. Invest in the Right Tools

If you’re looking to increase procurement stakeholder engagement, the right tools make everything easier. Having access to the right technology can make you more efficient and enhances communication with your stakeholders. Take the time to investigate the different technology options and choose the tools that offer the most benefits. A dedicated procurement performance management (PPM) tool is particularly helpful for providing visibility into project status to help enhance stakeholder engagement. 

Good tools have high adoption rates and enable productivity. To help you identify which tool will work best for your team, identify any bottlenecks or obstacles. Then seek out tools that solve these problems and empower seamless communication. Building the business case for investment is easy when you have identified the obstacles you’re aiming to solve. 

Ultimately, greater stakeholder engagement is good for the organization as well as Procurement. It allows for greater visibility and alignment of business goals to provide maximum value, but it also establishes Procurement as a valued-added partner to the business. 

Want to learn more about how SpendHQ helps procurement teams better engage with their stakeholders?