How can I secure procurement opportunities with multinationals?

I’m a women entrepreneur that set up my own business three years ago. The business has gone from strength to strength, but I now really need to focus on driving business growth. The problem I have is that I find it near impossible to secure procurement opportunities with multinationals. How I can overcome this?

Glenda Stone writes:

Developing procurement opportunities with multinationals is one of the key ways to develop and grow a business, yet it can be difficult for new and / or small businesses to do this effectively.

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that you maximise every opportunity and increase your chances of securing these invaluable contracts:

1. Know your procurement! By visiting the procurement sections of company websites you can educate yourself and make certain that you fully understand:

  • The tender process.
  • How to be considered for the company’s preferred supplier list.
  • What products and/or services these companies are looking for / need.

2. Conduct extensive market research into which of your competitors corporates are currently using as suppliers. You can then compare and contrast the product/services they offer with your own.

3. Differentiate yourself from your competitors by clearly identifying your unique selling points and exploiting them.

4. Ensure that you have all the required policies in place to deal with multinationals, for example you will need certain financial and legal paperwork and specific insurance, such as Professional Indemnity. Accreditation from networks like WEConnect will help you to put these processes in place and give corporates the confidence to consider you as a supplier.

5. Explore your channels to market and consider whether it would be beneficial to partner with another organisation that can add value to your business proposition and enable you access a wider network of procurement contacts and opportunities.

6. Whilst being flexible at all times, you must be confident, professional and ensure that you don’t undersell yourself and the value your company can add.

7.  Targeted media can be a useful way to reach your target audience. Consider what content you can utilise for both advertising and editorial opportunities.

8. Network as much as you can and attract new business with best practice case studies / client testimonials.Discount trials can also help to start a new relationship, but do make sure that you are this is purely an introductory rate.

9. In addition to increasing your networking, you will need a sales effort that combines a strategic mix of cold calling, emailing, letter writing, meetings and advertising. Don’t give up!

10. Finally, your clients are your best referral mechanism, so managing existing relationships is essential for new business leads as much as it is for your company’s reputation.

Glenda Stone is the CEO of Aurora and is also chair of Women’s Enterprise Taskforce, created by the prime minister to increase the quantity and scalability of Women’s enterprise

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