During a recent podcast, Tom Flynn, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Lavante, joined us to discuss why helping customers and their suppliers connect around common goals makes total sense. Following is an excerpt from that podcast, where Tom goes into detail regarding customer-supplier engagement and what’s in it for the supplier.
How does your organization engage a customer’s supplier base?
Tom Flynn: One of the hottest topics now is how do you get suppliers to participate and engage in a customer’s initiative. We understood that suppliers want to play very nice with their customers. What we found, through the development of our software, is that suppliers really want to comply with customer initiatives and they want to be present and accounted for. Most of the reason customers might not hear from a supplier when there is an initiative is because they are not engaging suppliers properly. Customers might be reaching out to the wrong division or there may be a personnel change at the supplier level that customers are not aware of.
Our secret sauce is a system that learns, can understand and, over time, discover not only where the suppliers are at a given point in time, but who is the proper person to speak to in relation to the client’s initiative. If you do this correctly by engaging suppliers at the right level and with the right contact information, what you find is where you may have gotten 15% participation from your suppliers in the past, suppliers really want to engage at 60% to 80%.
What’s in it for the suppliers?
Tom Flynn: For suppliers, it typically involves a customer where they value the relationship. It’s information that would typically benefit both sides of the equation and it’s just good commerce to be an attentive business partner and to answer any customer requests. Communicating with suppliers properly will always elicit a very quick response.
One thing we do in our portal is we give the supplier tools so they can assess themselves in the eyes of the client. They can ask, ‘what would my risk score be in the eyes of customer, what would my fraud score be, what would my health and stability score be?’ It’s about giving suppliers tools to not only assess how they’re seen and if they are deficient, but giving them tools so they can address those issues and make themselves less of a risk. Plus, they can get more opportunities for new business and exposure to new potential customers.
You can listen the entire Receivable Savvy podcast episode here.
Ernie Martin is Founder and Managing Director of Receivable Savvy. He brings over 25 years of experience in financial supply chain management, marketing and communications and draws upon his extensive experience to share knowledge and best practices with AR professionals. His resume also boasts time at several well-known brands and companies such as Tungsten Network, Delta Airlines, CIGNA Healthcare and Georgia Pacific as well as a number of years as an independent consultant.