If you work in procurement, then you likely spend a good chunk of your day across the proverbial table from a salesperson. That salesperson is most certainly equipped with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. The CRM enables salespeople to keep track of all of their interactions with you, to add notes, reminders, and to generate actionable data about sales activity and pipelines. And while Salesforce is the largest player in that space, there are literally hundreds of CRM providers in the market, with prices ranging from free to millions of dollars per year.
But what tools do you have at your disposal? If you’re like most procurement people, you probably find yourself relying on MS Word, Excel, and email to tackle most of your tasks. And if your IT department lets you set up some shared folders, then you’re ahead of the game. But what if you’re one of the fortunate ones? Lets say that you work for a large company with deep pockets that understands that it’s procurement — and not sales — that drives profits. So an investment is made in a multi-million dollar eProcurement suite that requires a year to deploy, months to learn, and a Ph.D. to master. It’s so complex and so unfriendly to stakeholders that your company sets up some crazy high bid waiver threshold or that you simply do the expedient thing…you go back to Excel.