Negotiation training: Procurement training for the sales function
How Skanem’s sales team learned to think like buyers
Skanem labels are seen on millions of products every day, just about everywhere, whether at home, in the office or in the grocery store. The Norwegian packaging manufacturer develops labeling solutions that help brands make their products look beautiful, share information with end consumers and protect the environment at the same time.
Objective: Build holistic expertise in the company
In an extensive project, INVERTO supported Skanem in further developing its procurement function, professionalizing processes and achieving significant savings. “In the joint project, we learned a great deal and were able to professionalize our procurement and negotiations decisively. In order for us to benefit from this as a whole company, we decided to create efficiency gains for other departments as well and extended INVERTO’s training offer to our sales team.” Maryne Lemvik, CEO of Skanem, summarizes the goal. Within four months, INVERTO set up, fine-tuned and delivered a comprehensive negotiation training with the aim of professionalizing sales negotiations and making employees more aware of how to anticipate and respond to tactics and methods in their next negotiation meetings.
Approach: Provide sales with detailed insights
To achieve this goal, the entire international sales team took part in INVERTO’s customized training program. This consisted of a total of 40 training sessions and also included all international locations, in addition to Norway also Sweden, Denmark, UK, Poland, Kenya, India and Thailand. In the first part of the training, participants learned the theoretical basics of negotiation from a procurement perspective. The second part, the so-called “learning nuggets” served to learn the actual application in practice through interactive case studies and role plays and to experience the added value of professional negotiation management.
The virtual training served to impart theoretical knowledge to the participants. In this context, the participants went through the entire negotiation process – from preparation to implementation and follow-up. The participants learned from practical examples how important thorough preparation is for the outcome of the negotiation. In the implementation part, various negotiation methods and tactics were presented, including the Harvard concept. The one-day training was rounded off with recommendations for follow-up and implementation of negotiation results.
The participants were able to derive great added value from the “learning nuggets”: by actually experiencing the content taught, they were able to reflect on their behavior in negotiations in detail and adapt it for the future. For this purpose, the sales teams met regularly for virtual sessions in small groups, each consisting of an INVERTO trainer and 4-6 sales employees from different locations. This highly interactive approach focused on applying the methods from the negotiation training to typical situations and imparting know-how on typical procurement topics such as the utilization of market trends and price indexing. In addition, the customized approach offered the opportunity to address specific problems that Skanem employees were regularly confronted with. For example, the participants were able to learn in practice how to emphasize Skanem’s quality and sustainability promise, which is highly relevant in the company, as advantages in negotiations with buyers and how to position the products in a marketoriented way.
For the participants, it was also interesting to look beyond classic negotiations with external contacts to everyday negotiations, e.g. with other departments, which they conduct in their daily work. The INVERTO experts therefore paid special attention to the topics of personality profiles and stakeholder management.
“The change of perspective has opened my eyes; in the training sessions I was confronted with situations that I have often experienced in my everyday work, but had nothing to counter them with. Now I understand the intention of my counterpart and feel better prepared.” reports one participant.
- Personal and professional development of the participants
- Learning how to prepare for negotiations in a targeted manner
- Understanding the relevance of negotiation objectives
- Application of best practice approaches to negotiation management
- Theoretical & practical understanding of negotiation techniques, strategies & concepts
- Strengthening of self-confidence through role plays & case studies
- Knowledge of procedures for renegotiations
Skanem benefits from more effective negotiations across the company
- The entire company benefits from professional negotiations: from cost savings in procurement to better conditions in customer negotiations
- Improved internal negotiations and conflict management
- Internationally uniform processes through inclusion of all locations