One thing procurement has often struggled with is selling itself to the rest of the business. While the temptation is to focus on facts and figures that demonstrate value, perhaps it may be better to take a more creative approach.
Marketing teams have tended to use stories rather than statistics to help raise their profile and this technique is certainly something that procurement could adopt.
According to a study conducted by Washington University in St Louis, the human brain is more engaged when reading a story, as the human element of the situation helps people connect with the information more easily.
There is an art to storytelling and if procurement gets that right it could finally see itself gaining greater recognition from the rest of the business.
Like any good story, you need a beginning, a middle and an end. A story with no structure risks losing the audience and missing important information. The aim should be to demonstrate a problem procurement has solved or a situation where it has brought value to the business. Start with the problem (the beginning), then what the team did to overcome it (the middle) and finish with a positive outcome (the end).
Whatever the story, it is essential to have the audience in mind.
For example, if you are presenting your story to a business function, like finance which is focused on numbers, then it is more appropriate for the angle of the story to centre on how procurement has impacted revenue or delivered savings. If it is marketing, the focus should be on service delivered. Begin with the customer in mind and let that shape the structure of your story.
There is no need to use overcomplicated language if it does not serve a purpose. Keep things simple and appropriate to the audience. Also, the best stories are the ones that are honest. Don’t be afraid to share the struggles or mistakes made; if anything these will further engage the reader.
Whether telling it to a stakeholder or internal staff member, the power of a good story is something procurement can leverage and use to prove its worth to the business.
This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team.