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How to Get Stakeholder Buy-In for New Procurement Software

Getting people on board with the idea of adopting new procurement software that will impact how they do their job and costs money isn’t easy despite all the benefits. 


Common barriers to receiving support include concerns about how much time it will take to get the software up and running, the effort it will take to learn the new software and how long it will take to get a return on investment.  With the right approach, you can overcome these obstacles and get the backing you need to succeed.  


Steps to get buy-in for new procurement software:


  • Identify stakeholders

  • Gather information

  • Develop a pitch

  • Enlist supporters

  • Make the case

Identify stakeholders


In order to succeed, you will need to identify all of the stakeholders that could be impacted by the new software. 


Typically, stakeholders will fall into the following categories:


  • End users: those who will be directly using the new software

  • Administrators: those who will be responsible for maintaining the software

  • Project team: those who will be responsible for setting up the software and training end users

  • Leadership: those who will approve the software purchase

Common stakeholders include:


  • Requisitioners: anyone who might submit purchase requisitions

  • Approvers: anyone involved in approving purchase requisitions or purchase orders

  • Purchasing: anyone who is responsible for placing orders with vendors

  • Receiving: anyone who might be responsible for keeping track of goods or services received on purchase orders

  • Accounts payable: anyone who might be responsible for matching vendor invoices to purchase orders and receiving transactions, and making sure vendors are paid

  • Management:  anyone who is responsible for purchasing, receiving or accounts payable including controllers, directors and vice presidents

  • IT:  anyone who is responsible for software and technology

Gather information


Gathering information about the problems you are trying to fix and how new procurement software will help solve them is critical. 


Learn as much as you can about the problems by meeting with different stakeholders and asking them about the pain points they have with the existing processes and tools.


Questions you might want to ask when you meet with different stakeholders:


  • How are you currently requesting goods or services you need to purchase?

  • What is the most difficult part about requesting goods or services you need to purchase?

  • What is the process for approving purchase requisitions or purchase orders?

  • How long does it take for purchase requisitions or purchase orders to get approved?

  • How much time do you spend chasing down approvals on purchase requisitions or purchase orders?

  • What is the process for keeping track of goods or services received on purchase orders?

  • What is the process for matching vendor invoices to purchase orders and receiving transactions?

  • What processes are in place for mitigating unauthorized or unnecessary spending?

  • How much spending is unauthorized or unnecessary?

  • What is the error rate in accounting for spending?

  • How are you able to see spending details and know how much has been spent?

Learn as much as you can about different procurement software products on the market and see how they stack up against each other. 


To find and compare different software products:


  • Ask friends and colleagues if they have recommendations

  • Check out software review sites like Capterra and G2

  • See a demo of the different products in action

  • Sign up for a free trial and complete different tasks

As you evaluate different software products, be sure to involve key stakeholders by including them in product demos and having them try out the software.


Develop a pitch


Effectively communicating what the problems are and how new procurement software can help fix them will go a long way in your efforts to get people on board.  To get your points across, develop a clear and concise pitch that can be delivered to different stakeholders in a variety of settings.


Include the following in your pitch:


The problem


  • What are the most critical pain points

  • Who is experiencing the pain

  • How is the problem impacting the organization

The solution


  • How the software will address the pain points

  • Who will benefit from the software

  • What impact the software will have on the organization

As you develop your pitch, try to be as specific as possible.  Explain the severity of the problem and the consequences of not resolving it.  Describe how much better it will be with the software. Use real numbers and concrete examples to drive home the message.    


Enlist supporters


As you meet with stakeholders, determine which of them can be most effective in helping you make the case for new procurement software.  Seek out those people who understand the issues the best, feel the most pain and have the greatest influence, and use your pitch get them on board with the idea.  Try to get some variety in the people you enlist so that you have different perspectives and broad support.  Once they are on board, ask supporters to help you get others to buy-in.


Make the case


There are a number of ways you can make the case to different stakeholders.  Start by meeting with your boss to make sure they are on board.  After that, connect with other stakeholders in formal and informal ways like hallways discussions and scheduled meetings.  Use your pitch to communicate the problems and how new procurement software can solve them. 


To close the deal, organize a meeting with key stakeholders to discuss the problem and solution together.  Invite the supporters you enlisted to the meeting and ask them to participate.  Again, use your pitch to communicate your points and get everyone on board.






 

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