Five Tips For Successful Supply Chain Engagement

16 02 2015

Those wonderful people at CompeteFor have asked us for some tips on large infrastructure supply chain engagement.  We’ll it was not hard to come up with our Top Five Tips!   Whatever you do, whatever market your working in, the guidelines here are transferrable.  Use these simple principles to transform you sales pipelines. 


  1. Begin with a customer profile: Have you ever sat down with a client and used simple tools to create value, identify pain points and agree next steps? Sounds easy, but why not take this one step further and challenge your thinking and go beyond your products and services. Try to understand ‘exactly’ what, when and how you will deliver best value for your customers. Sometimes this means working with your (trusted) supply chain partners!
  1. Value mapping: Sometimes a shared language is all that is needed to unlock real potential. It is an excellent way to understand your customer’s real problems better. If you can ‘collectively’ establish genuine dialogue built on common goals and objectives, then more mature solutions should follow. Try not to get distracted by unproductive “blah blah blah” meetings. You need to structure early engagements to build trust quickly and end up with clear outcomes.
  1. Identify your starting point: Avoid wasting time with ideas that will not work. Leverage the experience and skills of your team to conduct more constructed sales conversations. Make your actions count, make them smart and time bound.   If you are working with a new client, produce proof that your ideas can work on a limited budget (or pilot programme). If you are working on long-term relationships, evolve! Look for opportunities to innovate at every opportunity.
  1. Make informed choices: With a high appreciation of what your customer is looking for, use speedy decision-making and agility within your organisation to your advantage. This means outmanoeuvring your competitors! Working with new partners or team members in established frameworks needs careful consideration, planning and execution. Use client profiling and value mapping (steps 1 and 2) for each supplier, to quickly get buy-in and find new ways to create value together!
  1. Create alignment? Radical transparency is the new word in supply chain thinking! If you want to be successful in the future, you need to understand how your organisation is making money and where it is leaking from the business. Alignment of core business operations and creating value propositions your customer will value is paramount!   Adopt simple reporting mechanisms to measure and monitor your organisations performance, which these days includes agreed behaviours, cost management and customer satisfaction.   That way you can tailor ‘genuine’ client engagement and improve systems and processes that can be understood and shared across other business units.


By following these simple steps above, you will find your days are more productive, your sales conversations will be structured, and your competitors will be left wondering…‘how.’ you outwitted them! 

If you need help launching this process within your teams or on your next project, we would be delighted to help you achieve the success you deserve.

Contact us at we would be delighted to hear from you.

Hear all about the ‘Hidden Benefits of Collaboration’ at the Supply Chain Summit on 10 March 2015 (Olympia, London).  Chris Williams-Lilley to share insight and real value creation ideas for sales professionals working in the rail sector.





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