I’ve often seen hard-working successful salesmen and purchasing managers devastated and years of relationship development undermined when upper management changes a deal, strategy or situation without consulting or advising those directly involved.
The success of salespeople and purchasing managers depends upon trust. Trust between your company’s representative and the unique individual from the other company. Trust based upon past performance and promises kept. Trust developed through quality products and services. Trust developed by creating a dialogue, listening and exchanging information in order to develop mutually beneficial solutions. Trust takes time, patience, and a series of negotiations and transactions over time. Trust that your company is supporting, and will continue to support sales and purchasing and existing relationships.
How many times have you seen executive corporate decisions provoke severe disturbances in the level of trust developed by sales and purchasing departments with their clients and suppliers?
Why don’t upper management executives value and protect these relationships?
I think it is in large part due to the fact that most executives don’t have to “clean up” their own mess. Executive management has no individual responsibility for their decisions that affect trust in other parts of the company. They also expect customers and suppliers to accept that conditions can and will change at any moment, and in effect, are reducing the future effectiveness of their own sales and purchasing departments. They rely on other departments to “clean up”, to explain, to renegotiate and to make the new policies work. It’s considered part of the perks of executive management, to make decisions, but let others implement them.
Are there policies and procedures in place at your organization to review the effect a strategic or policy decision will have on trust and current relationships with suppliers and customers?
Who is capable of “making a mess” at your organization?
Who is responsible for “cleaning it up”?
Do you think that’s the way it should be?