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Supply chain negotiation programme


The organisation

In the area of working with wood, Trend is a market leader. Revered by specialists in the cutting, shaping and assembling of intricate wooden structures, Trend has the widest range of tools for professionals and hobbyists alike. The quality and reputation of the products is very well established in the market place. With products sourced from around the world, Trend distributes via merchants and building supplies companies. Anywhere wood is being worked, the chances are, Trend products are near at hand.



The challenge

Like many businesses, Trend buys in products and sells them to its clients. This way of working necessitates a high degree of co-operation between the sales team and the procurement team to achieve the best results.


The solution

In a situation like this, it is vital to establish strong relationships and regular, effective communication between sales and procurement internally. To facilitate this, we took the unusual step of running a training programme with personnel from both sales and procurement in the same group.

We developed a highly customised programme which include a 2 day workshop with a procurement training consultant. This enabled the sales team to understand the mind of procurement, and for the procurement function to align on current best practices in purchasing. The programme also included many elements of commercial negotiation, derived from Selling Interaction’s best practices database. Participants received specific training aide memoires, for example “20 negotiation tactics” to help make learning as practical as possible.

The programme was phased over several months, with learning projects to be completed between training days. Furthermore, Trend personnel were able to put their new negotiation behaviour into practice between days, then report back on their success at the next training day.


The Results

Trend now has a common language to prepare for and conduct key commercial negotiations. The increased communication between sales and procurement means the company can be more agile in managing its supply chain to win key deals.

The full return on investment is going to be measured 1 year after the end of the programme.


The Next steps

Trend is in the process of planning its full commercial plan to capitalise on its strengths and enviable product range. Negotiation competence has a wide base, and the team will need to keep developing to stay sharp in the market – just like the company’s woodworking tools!

Quotes from participants

“In the fast past world of sales our customers are becoming ever more sophisticated when it comes to making their purchasing decisions. As a traditional sales organisation we are facing more procurement experts as many of our customers are developing their purchasing polices which make it hard for us to progress and gain that sales advantage. Understanding where Trend sits within the procurement process and how we then use this information to engage and develop business has helped our sales force recognise where we sit in the client and sales relationship.

Before the course we had limited understanding of how professional purchasing was shaping the way business was conducted and now we have more skills to recognise how to handle the customers’ demands to the best outcome for the business whilst maintaining the client relationship to the best possible outcome.”
Mike Tideswell – Sales Director

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