Prospective From the Buyer's Side
Ken Edwards, national account executive, SmartSource Rentals, says he “couldn’t agree more” on the value of extending SMM best practices to expenditures beyond hotels and air. “That’s my sell to clients,” he says. “Strategic partnership is what it’s all about.”
SmartSource Rentals began in 1985 as a computer rental company and has grown into the country’s largest information technology rental company, with 23 offices in the U.S. “We had the advantage of working relationships with companies from the inside so it was not difficult to help them with off-site meetings,” says Edwards.
He says it’s essential for companies sending out RFPs to accurately represent their spend. Further, while being able to lock in rates is an important part of strategic sourcing, it’s not everything.“Relationships save money,” he says. “We’re not like Staples where we’re selling you x-number of staplers.”
That’s a sentiment echoed by Andrea Michaels, president and owner of Extraordinary Events, a San Francisco-based full-service event management/production company whose client list ranges from BMW to Mary Kay to Samsung Electronics.
“Preferred partner status and multiyear can be smart,” Michaels says, “not just from the cost savings that can result but from the value of working with a company that really understands and knows your business inside and out.”
She questions, however, whether “it’s good to leverage multiyear spend with a company whose primary service is not an extension of your brand.” In other words, “leveraging only money” doesn’t make sense if at the end of the day the experience or service provided doesn’t help (or potentially even harms) your brand.
“For us,” she says, “providing value starts with creativity, customization, and trust.”