In the world of Fortune 1000 companies, procurement employees are often tasked with vetting RFPs for Telecom Expense Management (TEM) providers. The stakes are high, and the negotiations can be complex. But what if you had insights from an industry expert to guide you through the process?
Shawn Vietz, Chief Revenue Officer at Tellennium, recently shared some invaluable advice on negotiating TEM agreements on the Maker Connect podcast. In this blog post, we’ll delve into key takeaways from Shawn’s insights and discuss how to negotiate TEM agreements effectively.
The Importance of Integrity in Negotiations
One of the first things Shawn emphasized was the role of integrity in negotiations. He said, “I never lie in the negotiation because the minute you get called out in a lie or caught in a lie, the negotiation is over.” This is a crucial point for procurement professionals. When vetting RFPs, it’s essential to maintain a high level of integrity. Not only does this build trust, but it also sets the stage for a long-term relationship with the TEM provider.
Know Your Tools and Leverage Them
Shawn also talked about the importance of knowing all your “tools on the playing field.” In other words, understand what you can offer and what you need in return. He mentioned, “Just because they ask for a price reduction, [it doesn’t mean] you have to agree immediately.” Instead, you can counter by asking for something that’s more important to you. This is a core tenet of negotiation: never give without getting something in return.
The Role of Relationships in Negotiations
Shawn pointed out that negotiations aren’t just about the current deal; they’re about setting the groundwork for a long-term relationship. He noted, “Doing good business, a good agreement, is doing what’s in the best interest of my company and what’s in the best interests of their company.” This is a balanced approach that procurement professionals should aim for. When both parties have their interests aligned, the agreement is more likely to be sustainable and beneficial in the long run.
The Danger of Undercutting
Another point Shawn raised was the risk involved when a vendor prices their services too low. He warned, “If you get a vendor that prices so low, naturally they’re going to try to find a way to be profitable. That may be a lack of support; that may be other corners that they’re cutting.” This is a red flag for procurement professionals. If a TEM provider’s offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always consider the long-term operational implications of an agreement, not just the immediate cost savings.
The Power of Transparency
Shawn also highlighted the power of being transparent in negotiations. He shared an anecdote about a Fortune 500 procurement analyst who wasn’t entirely honest about a competitor’s offer. Shawn, having extensive industry experience, knew the claim was false and used this knowledge productively within the negotiation. This underscores the importance of transparency and how it can actually help you in negotiations.
Closing Thoughts on Telecom Expense Management Negotiations
Negotiating Telecom Expense Management agreements is a complex task, but it’s one that can be navigated successfully with the right approach. As Shawn advises, maintaining integrity, understanding your negotiation tools, building relationships, and being transparent are key elements for success.
So, the next time you’re vetting an RFP for a TEM provider, keep these insights in mind. Not only will they help you secure a favorable agreement, but they’ll also set the stage for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with your TEM provider.
If you’d like to consider Tellennium in your utility expense management platform and vendor comparisons, contact us to schedule a brief demo of our solution.
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