Many strategic meeting management program leaders have developed powerful partnerships with their procurement counterparts in recent years. Why? Procurement managers can bring tremendous benefits to the all aspects of the SMM process. They can:
• Use proven business case methodology that is familiar to senior leadership
• Provide savings methodology and metrics
• Manage the request-for-proposal process
• Develop service level agreements (SLAs) and key performance indicators (KPIs)
• Turn data into business intelligence for improved decision making
SMM leaders, if you are not already working with your procurement professionals, I highly recommend that you proactively reach out to them—don’t wait for them to reach out to you. Show them what you are doing. Quantify the savings resulting from the SMM program. Share your methodology—identify how you are reducing risk, and demonstrate your holistic knowledge of the enterprise-wide meeting and event spend.
If you are just starting to work with procurement, don’t assume they understand the terminology, the nuances, and the challenges of the meetings and events universe. Take time to educate them so they can better understand this unique category of spend. An added bonus is that, because they are seeing your business with fresh eyes, you may get unexpected feedback, new ideas, and helpful advice.
To procurement directors, I would be remiss if I didn’t add that, if you are just starting to work with the meetings and events team, be sure to reach out to them and seek to understand their world. Meeting managers are powerful partners in your work as well. They can provide a wealth of information, including:
• In-depth knowledge of clients and stakeholders
• Details of the volume and types of meetings being planned, and who is planning those meetings
• Understanding of business objectives for meetings and events
• Insights on which suppliers are getting the business
• Ways to leverage spend
Organizations that have both a procurement department and a meetings department will find that both can benefit from the knowledge and strengths of each other. Take advantage of these synergies!
A final word on partnering with your procurement counterparts: They can be a very helpful advocate in moving your SMM forward. They are in the business of saving money, and they already have the attention of the chief financial officer. Leverage this knowledge to your benefit!