Winning the martech procurement process

Making life easier for executive assistants will also make it easier for you.

Procuring and renewing tech and services is a big part of martech management. Parts of that are enjoyable – finding out what capabilities you can add to your stack, for one. And parts are not – getting everyone to sign off on each step of the process, for example. While it may not be fun, getting those OKs is essential to getting your job done. So here are some tips on how to handle it.

At most companies, martech procurement goes through a formal request process involving reviews by legal, finance, procurement, other IT professionals and maybe information security. This is when buyers in procurement are your friends.

That’s why it is essential to foster positive relationships with people in the decision-making process. You’re not alone and need to partner with others. As Taylor Swift will tell you, it’s all about #squadgoals. 

To be sure, we weren’t placed on earth to shepherd requests through all of these bureaucratic hoops. However, it’s important to understand the organizational hurdles so they don’t stymy marketing. 

Many people need to chime in

While everyone on the team should have at least a passing knowledge of this process, it’s best to pick a couple of people to handle them. They can be the SMEs who understand the needs and quirks of everyone involved. In particular, they should get to know the various approvers in the process early on. That way, when there’s a rush request from a VIP stakeholder, they’re more likely to get a positive response. 

It’s also a good idea to get to know executive assistants and chiefs of staff. These folks can make a lot of things easier or a lot more difficult. They can also help track down the CEO mid-flight to approve or sign something. Something I’ve had to do!

Gather the essential information

Keep in mind, anyone working closely with a C-suite approver is bombarded with requests from people who want that top exec to do something. So, when you get in touch, make their lives easier by having all the information they’re going to want. That way they will prioritize your request ahead of the ones requiring them to do more work. 

The essential information:

  • What’s needed? For instance, does the executive need to approve and/or sign something?
  • The why. What’s the justification for the purchase?
  • Who has OK’d it. If your organization doesn’t have a procurement system, you’ll need to get creative with documenting previous approvals.
  • What’s at stake? Is this saving us money? If this purchase isn’t made, who can’t do their job?
  • Deadlines. Does the exec need to sign a contract within the next two hours to get the special vendor discount? 

This will let the assistant understand exactly what needs to happen by when and why.

While all this may seem ancillary to your “real” job, it’s anything but. Getting martech procurement approval at the right time can literally be the difference between success and failure. To paraphrase the old proverb: For want of a signature, the campaign was lost.

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About The Author

Steve Petersen is a marketing technology manager at Zuora. He spent nearly 8.5 years at Western Governors University, holding many martech related roles with the last being marketing technology manager. Prior to WGU, he worked as a strategist at the Washington, DC digital shop The Brick Factory, where he worked closely with trade associations, non-profits, major brands, and advocacy campaigns. Petersen holds a Master of Information Management from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brigham Young University. He’s also a Certified ScrumMaster. Petersen lives in the Salt Lake City, UT area. Petersen represents his own views, not those of his current or former employers.