Author: Pete Loughlin

I like and admire good sales people. I would even go so far as to say that I enjoy being sold to - when it's done well. Taking the time to understand me and my situation, my objectives, my likes and dislikes. Adding value to the purchasing process by overlaying technical expertise to help me refine my requirements. Being respectful of the competition and respectful of the constraints on my purchasing process that at times can make me appear to be a difficult buyer. This is what I like. I'm a sucker for a good, professional sales pitch. Which is why I was so disappointed recently to come across one of the worst sales pitches I have ever witnessed from a company - a software vendor in the P2P space - who really should have known better.

There's an old magic trick that I am sure everyone is familiar with. The magician approaches a fully laid dining table with full place settings including wine, wine glasses, condiments and a small vase with a flower in it. He takes hold of the table cloth. As quick as a flash he tugs at the cloth removing it from under the crockery and glassware without any of it moving save a slight rattle. Well, I have a tip for everyone. Don't attempt this trick - especially if your delivering a business briefing over breakfast at the Ritz hotel in London to the a select group of captains of industry. Believe me - I speak from personal experience - it's not big and it's not clever. There was something very memorable about that breakfast briefing in 1998. It was the look of absolute horror on the face of the CEO of one of the biggest retail groups in the UK - not at the silly icebreaker with the table cloth - it was the prediction that consumers would, within 10 years, be doing their grocery shopping on-line.

We're delighted to share the news that sharedserviceslink.com has announced the full line up for the Summit for Leaders in Finance Shared Services and Outsourcing 2011 on October 10th to 12th in Dallas, Texas. Speakers, facilitators and solution providers will come together to discuss practical and proven approaches that help finance functions drive down costs while delighting their end users and stakeholders.

There are few that would disagree that Ariba sits firmly amongst the best in class procurement vendors. Its heritage goes back to the pioneering days of e-procurement and it has continued to innovate successfully ever since, diversifying its portfolio of solutions across the P2P spectrum. But while its procurement credentials are impeccable - the first P - how credible is Ariba at addressing the second P at the payment end of the spectrum?