As a commercial I am often seen as either sales prevention or the person to take the troubles to when it has all gone wrong with the client. I do not mind the latter but I would love to change the former.
On reflection I have come to the opinion that as Commercial we fail to sell the value of our services to the rest of the business. Yes, we are seen by senior management as capable pairs of hands to do the “governance” or as competent negotiators yet we are rarely seen as the drivers of profit.
Why is that? I shall try to set out a few ideas of how I think we have come to this place and how we can change.
I have the same aversion to process that others have but my years in business have taught me that process reduces problems and saves cost. So yes we need process, but it needs to be efficient and easy to use. If Commercial teams are to show their worth, they need to provide clear analytical data to evidence the benefits they offer. For example, keeping an added value register will enable you to demonstrate the benefits Commercial has introduced into the deal during its lifecycle. This could include:
- the risks they have identified and mitigated
- reductions in liabilities
- improved payment, delivery, insurance terms etc.
Of course, organisations could go out and buy commercial systems that would provide reporting from standard templates but I believe that it is better to add such templates to an existing database system.
Why do I think this? Existing systems e.g. CRM applications, are used by others throughout the business so this provides a great opportunity for collaboration as well as a forum for them to see what value you add during your day to day work. Adding various aspects of commercial reporting to the CRM system enables the sales force to see the solutions that the Commercial team bring to help win the business. Likewise, deployment of post contract manager’s tools into the project manager’s system improves visibility and aids discussion of change control opportunities.
Cost is also important and small adaptations to current systems are generally much lower in cost than the purchase of a whole new system and support structure.
A little change in process can show how you can help the organisation to work more collaboratively and track the hard cash benefits you bring to the organisation. This makes it easier to justify your bid. If you need any assistance please feel free to contact us.