Talent Intelligence – The Future of Procurement Technology Recruitment

In a fast paced market like procurement technology, service providers like us can’t operate in isolation. Whilst our deep market knowledge has enabled us to see the patterns and market trends as they emerge, we need to stay close to our clients to understand their challenges and adapt our services to meet their needs, now and in the future.

So our recent client audit was undertaken in order to understand what our clients truly value in our services. We wanted to know what the expectations were from the digital procurement community and how those expectations are likely to evolve in the future.

It’s been a fascinating, rewarding process giving us vital information.

We’ve used that information to help refine and improve our service delivery and define the value we add to help potential customers understand what we offer.

This is the result:

Imagine the benefits of partnering with a recruiter that has deep sector knowledge. One that maps the market and knows it intimately, often identifying a company’s recruitment requirements before they are even aware of their own needs. One that boasts a strong network of contacts and pre-qualified candidates.

A recruiter loved by its candidates because it invests time to get to know them, offering regular advice and giving feedback, leading to a more streamlined and professional recruitment process for all involved.

An agency that doesn’t simply tick all of today’s ‘must have’ boxes but, with an eye on tomorrow…

One that has the vision to recognise that, as technology advances, it must anticipate change – in order to help turn visions and innovations into reality – by providing its clients with the right talent in a manner that enables great hiring decisions.

But who presents themselves as that recruitment agency for today and tomorrow? A company that’s passionate about finding the talent that will shape the future of procurement by utilising technology, making it innovative and exciting? A true specialist that invests considerable resources and doesn’t work anywhere else apart from in the procurement technology sector.

One that connects great talent with career development opportunities that result in successful long term appointments, business success and fulfilled employees.

Combining all of our skills and sector knowledge gives us a unique asset and point of difference. It’s the added value that’s a game changer for our clients and what they value the most. We call this Talent Intelligence and if you work with us, it will positively transform how you source your talent, now and in the future.

That’s our commitment to you, that’s what makes us the solution for companies operating across the digital procurement ecosystem – solutions vendors, their consultancy partners and the end users – the cream of the procurement profession.

And the benefits of using Edbury Daley don’t end there. Keeping a close eye on tomorrow, we promise that no matter how quickly procurement technology evolves, we’ll always be there, evolving alongside the market to put the right talent within your reach.

The problems we solve – Problematic business critical roles and how we fill them

The Procurement Technology market has specific characteristics that make hiring for certain skill sets particularly challenging.

If your current recruitment model is failing, It’s likely that it’s because of one or more of the following reasons:

  • Advertising hasn’t identified the right candidates
  • Your in-house or outsourced recruitment team doesn’t know where to look for the right people
  • Your recruitment partner doesn’t have a strong enough network or market knowledge to identify the right candidates
  • The people you want are in high demand generally and could be too expensive for your salary bands
  • The career opportunity you are offering has not been presented to the market effectively in order to get the interest of relevant candidates
  • Your selection process is floored.

A key part of our service is our unrivalled market knowledge and international network of sector specialists and using our Talent Intelligence model we’ll give you access to people that aren’t currently available to you through your existing methods.

The problems we solve – Gain a competitive advantage by hiring from your competitors

The procurement technology market is hugely competitive. Procurement leaders are spoilt for choice when it comes to a range of full suite S2P platforms or the various best of breed solutions. As a solution vendor, how you go to market to achieve a sale and what you deliver to your customer thereafter is, of course, critical to the future of your business.  Do you have the right people in prospect and client facing roles?

Imagine working with a partner who has mapped the entire European market of solution vendors, their partners and customers. One that knows who has the best people, which senior managers are looking to move, what the market is paying for any given skill set and who is receptive to approaches from head hunters like us.

It’s this sort of knowledge that fuels our Talent Intelligence offering and enables our customers to make key hires from their competitors. People who understand the market, the solutions, the customers and the challenges they want to overcome. The sort of people that will make a big impact on your business quickly.

This quote from a long-standing client in ours recent client audit summarises this well: The network or relationships within the space you have and the quality of candidates that are actually pre-qualified and have a demonstrated interest in moving for the right opportunity saved a tremendous amount of time and resources that we don’t have available internally.

The problems we solve – Procurement technology hiring – today and tomorrow

Are you a senior manager in a solution vendor or consultancy partner with big growth ambitions? Maybe you are a CPO who wants to accelerate your digital transformation?

Either way, you will have a plan to achieve your objectives, right?

Part of that plan will require key people to step up and deliver on the goals you agree with them. Some of them maybe in your team already but what about the ones you haven’t hired yet?  

How detailed, how realistic, how achievable are your hiring plans? Do you know what the market is paying for those skills and what the availability is of the people you want? Do you know how and where you will find them? Have you thought about why they might leave their current job to work for you and your organisation?

Our experience is that the answers to these questions are usually inadequate when subjected to real scrutiny. Companies enter the recruitment market with insufficient or inaccurate information and unrealistic expectations and then wonder why it’s so hard to find the right people.  

The role is then open for longer than expected and this impacts on organisational or departmental performance, expectations aren’t met and targets become more difficult to achieve. Does any of this sound familiar?

Want we see from many organisations with their hiring process reminds us of the old phrase “fail to prepare, prepare to fail!” So why don’t companies engage in research in this area like they do in others? You wouldn’t go into a brand new market without researching it would you? You wouldn’t stand up in front of your leadership team and present brave ambitions without having done your homework beforehand would you? 

So why enter the recruitment market to make key hires without any forward planning?

Our clients using our full service offering make consistently more successful appointments, with shorter hiring timescales than average because they enter the market equipped with up-to-date, sector-specific market intelligence.  

Sometimes this requires just a meeting or phone call to scope out a planned business critical hire. On other occasions, a full research project is needed to support a wider hiring plan. But planning makes all the difference and massively improves the probability of success.

If you want to tap into our expertise, please get in touch.

We see things before our clients do – some evidence.

When you have an intimate knowledge of many of the key players in a specific market, you’ve met their people, you’ve helped them hire for key roles and you’ve headhunted people on their behalf from their competitors, it gives you a unique insight into those companies, their people and their place in the wider market.  

Here are some examples of how we’ve used that information to help customers solve problems they were still in the process of identifying.

“Our sales team isn’t up to it”

The new Sales Director of a software firm I know well told me: “I’m not sure about the quality of the sales team I’ve inherited.” I replied: “I am, they aren’t up to your standards.”  He asked why and here’s what I told him:

“I have tried to headhunt some of them in the past and wasn’t impressed at all. They haven’t hit their target in the last two years – that’s why your predecessor got sacked. Morale is low, they all want to move on and if they were top performers they could command much higher salaries in this market. I do have some good news for you though.”

“Oh yes, what’s that?”

“I’ve known we were going to have this conversation since the day you told me you were joining the business and I’ve got some better people in mind for you once you are able to start hiring.”

So now we are working on bringing some of those people in to change the dynamic of the team. He’s working on developing the best of the people he’s inherited and has made some changes elsewhere.

Our insight gave him a head start.

“We need to focus on our customers”

We could talk about several organisations that aren’t investing enough in customer success. They work very hard to win those customers through competitive sales processes then risk losing them with poor implementation and adoption thereafter. Sound familiar?

We will focus on one solution vendor that we know well. I was aware of their specific problems and it was my view that they needed to hire the very best the market could offer to address the various issues their customers were facing.

When they came to me with a requirement to hire into their team I told them very plainly: “you aren’t paying enough for the people you need.” I gave them examples of the people they could afford and I presented two much stronger, more costly candidates that I thought they needed.

There was lots of discussions about budgets, talk of internal barriers and other challenges, all of which I completely understood. Eventually the hiring manager followed my advice to at least meet with the more experienced, stronger candidates to make the comparison. He hired the most expensive one.  

When he called me to thank me for risking my relationship with his HR team by consistently telling them what they didn’t want to hear he said: “In the end, the additional cost on salary is a drop in the ocean compared to what this person will save us in lost revenue by keeping our customers. Thank you for your insight and putting him in front of us.”

“Our digital transformation is floundering”

A CPO told me that her adoption of a full-suite solution wasn’t going to plan. I said: “I’ve heard as much, that’s why I got in touch with you.” She asked how and I told her: “From people involved with competitor vendors and consultancies.”

One of the things you learn when operating in a niche market is that it’s a very small world and people talk, often to ex-colleagues in competitors. So word spreads fast!

She asked me what other CPOs are doing in similar situations. Of course every organisation and every transformation program is different, but I explained that what I was starting to see more of in the market is the hiring of a specialist in this area, someone who has been on this journey in their career before, someone who understand the challenges, the opportunities and the bumps in the road and who can guide you through it all. 

We talked about the availability of such skills, the cost, the interim and full time options available. She’s now building a business case to gain internal budgetary approval to make that hire. I hope she gets it because the people I have in mind for her could make a big difference to the success of this project.

 

Why Attending Procurement Events Makes A Big Difference To Our Clients

Have you been to any of the following events in the last couple of years?

  • SAP Ariba Live
  • Ivalua Now
  • Coupa Inspire
  • eWorld
  • Amazon Business Exchange
  • The World Procurement Congress
  • Other events from vendors like Jaggaer, Proactis, Wax Digital and the rest
  • Any other Procurement Leaders or ProcureCon events

We go to almost all of them and here’s why.

The presentations educate us about the subject matter, particularly around digital transformation and this helps us understand our clients, their businesses, their objectives and challenges.

We know the relative strengths and weaknesses of many of the solutions on the market. We know the innovations they have in the pipeline and we know what their existing customers are saying about the solutions.

We observe how the various software vendors are presenting their solutions to potential customers. We engage with their salespeople, get valuable information on market trends and assess the calibre of all the people we meet in the process. We are effectively talent spotting.

Overall it’s a great chance to network across the procurement technology ecosystem. The sponsors and exhibitors are solution vendors and their partners. The delegates are procurement, supply chain and finance professionals. We can work with any of these people now and in the future. 

People from across the sector ask us: “What’s the market like?” They respect our opinions and value our insight.

Our presence there gets noticed by all these people across the various communities. They recognise our commitment to the sector and when they meet us they quickly realise we are credible business people who understand their world. 

So what benefit could that have for you as a client of Edbury Daley?

The people in the market become familiar with us and the direct result of this is that they come to us first when they are thinking about moving jobs. In other cases they are more receptive to head hunting approaches from us than other recruiters because they know that we are credible. 

This gives us access to the best talent in the market. In many cases these people only talk to us about their careers. In effect, we become a Talent Magnet for those companies that we hire on behalf of and that helps us fill vacancies that others can’t.

Because we’ve been attending these events for years, people know we were the first to make a visible commitment to this specific market. They know we’ve been around for a long time and can be confident we’ll be here today and tomorrow.

Trust, credibility, integrity, deep market knowledge and strong relationships across the sector – why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of this when furthering your career or hiring to achieve your business objectives?

Client Audit – what our clients want from a specialist recruiter

At Edbury Daley we take enormous pride in what we do. We are truly invested in the success of the businesses we recruit for and the job satisfaction and career development of the people we help them hire.

Our personal and company reputations, along with our commitment to winning repeat business through service excellence, are all vital factors in the culture of our organisation.

With this in mind, we regularly review what our clients think about the service we offer to them, what’s important to them and what we could do better. We want to understand the problems we solve for them, the outcomes our clients are buying and how our services might be adapted to ensure continued success.

In our recent client audit, we received some vital feedback that will help you understand what our customers value about us. While there are some examples of the feedback below, what became clear to us during this audit is that the things our clients really value about Edbury Daley are:

  • The depth of market knowledge we have and how our visible commitment to the procurement technology world enables us to act as a Talent Magnet for our customers.
  • The breadth of our international network allied to our strong personal reputations.
  • An intimate understanding of the supply and demand equation for the skills and experience required for success in this market.
  • This enables a speed to market and a targeted approach that other recruiters just can’t match.

We call this collection of vital knowledge and skills Talent Intelligence. We’ll be telling the market more about the benefits of this in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, here are some examples of the feedback we received from our clients.

Member of the Senior Leadership Team at a Global Procurement Software Business:

What business problem did filling your position solve?

We are expanding and accelerating a go to market strategy in an area where we lacked internal expertise to support our goals or objectives. We were hiring to accelerate the growth and sales (revenue) of the company.

Apart from filling the vacancy was there any other aspect of our service you found valuable?

The network or relationships within the space you have and the quality of candidates that are actually pre-qualified and have a demonstrated interest in moving for the right opportunity saved a tremendous amount of time and resources that we don’t have available internally.

HR Leader at the same business:

You know how much we value you, your expertise and our long term relationship with you. I have nothing to say but positive things. 

EMEA GM Global Procurement Software Business:

What business problem did filling your position solve?

Filling a business critical Exec to lead a fast growing Top Growth Region for our business.

How has the candidate we placed impacted your business?

He’s a strong leader infusing best practices to our business…no doubt about his direct performance/impact on our business in his region.

Apart from filling the vacancy was there any other aspect of our service you found valuable? Please specify.

Your commitment to the result, strong candidates (three of them could have done the job). The people to people relationship resulting in us understanding and trusting each other.

What could we have done better?

Overall was a great experience.

If a trusted friend or colleague asked what you thought of us what would you say to them?

Strong recommendation.

CTO Procurement Solutions Business:

What business problem did filling your position solve?

Skills and experience to lead our data function. He has implemented a data warehouse and taken all business reporting in hand.

How has the candidate we placed impacted your business?

He has had a hugely positive impact on the business and brought order to chaos in our data function. He has now been promoted to Head of Technology.

Apart from filling the vacancy was there any other aspect of our service you found valuable? Please specify.

Andrew helped me scope the must have and nice to have elements of the role so that we were able to find the right candidate. We had to flex on location. This has worked out well.

If a trusted friend or colleague asked what you thought of us what would you say to them?

Andrew has always provided me with an excellent service. His consultative approach, knowledge of the procurement technology marketplace and his network are in my view the keys to his success.

If these messages are relevant to your current business needs and you want more information now then please get in touch.

What’s wrong with your recruitment process?

In our People & Hiring Challenges research earlier this year, which received 450 responses, one of the questions we asked was: “What is your biggest hiring challenge?” 

The answer with the second-highest rank, with 18% of respondees identifying as an issue, was “we aren’t seeing the right candidates.”

Our whole message to the market is built around being able to solve this specific problem for our clients in the procurement technology world. It’s also a subject that is clearly a problem for many organisations.

So with your help, we want to research the subject in more detail to help everyone better understand the issues.

Please take no more than two minutes to answer our questions, and be in with the chance of winning a £200 Amazon voucher. Here’s a link to the survey

Five things our most successful clients do when hiring

Blog - Five things our most successful clients do

Is your organisation struggling to hire the people it needs to progress? Do you think your recruitment process could improve?  Is it geared towards genuine talent attraction?

We have seen many organisations struggle to hire the people they want. We’ve also seen how a few simple changes can make recruitment processes much more successful so that you really do hire the best people. In our experience there are five key things that make recruitment a success – sign up below to get the full insight which will help you make a difference to your hiring.

  1. They make sure they understand the relevant talent pool and skills available at the salary grade in question
  2. Ensure everyone internally is on board, role signed off, stakeholders aligned, process planned, realistic time scales set
  3. Are clear about their go to market strategy and have invested in their talent attraction brand.
  4. Select a recruiter (external or internal) who has the market knowledge and network to source and engage relevant candidates.
  5. Make recruitment a priority to ensure good candidates aren’t lost through delays and poor expectation management.

In more detail, the best hiring companies…

  • Consider their employment proposition from a candidate’s point of view. What are the likely earnings and aspirations of an ideal candidate likely to be at their current employer? Are they offering the type of candidate they want a better package and career development? If not, they adjust the salary or the person specification. They understand the reality of the labour market for the skills needed and that if they want to source the best people who can make a difference they accept that top candidates are in short supply and do everything they can to sell their business to them. They understand they need to assess and excite the candidate at interview.
  • They accept that recruiting staff is a very costly exercise if they get it wrong. It is an essential part of any business and it pays to do it properly. They ensure it is seen as a key activity and not something that is last minute or at the end of the day. It needs to be prioritised and taken as an important activity that managers allow time for. They don’t treat it as an admin process. They champion recruitment and prioritise it at Executive level.
  • They consider what people outside their business really think of it and what the brand means in terms of career prospects and interesting work and more importantly as a place to work. They avoid the common mistake of thinking good candidates will apply anyway…they won’t. People inside the organisation may think it is a great place to work but ask why should an external person apply? What is their reputation? It is critical to find this out. Ensure that the person a candidate meets for their first interview has the gravitas to impress and motivate the candidate to take their interest further. It helps if the person is senior enough to give a real vision and understanding of the strategy of the business and the function. They don’t let a relatively junior team member do first interviews. Even a short meeting with a senior member of the function can make a significant difference to the perception given. They ensure that all the interviewers are briefed and understand what the business is looking for. They don’t assume every interviewer will know what is needed, they ensure it.
  • Pick a recruiter who is credible and really understands the specific market place and who will act as a brand ambassador. Ensure they will provide a credible message that will resonate with prospective candidates and can genuinely interest them. A poor recruiter will diminish a company’s perception in the candidate community and produce fewer candidates to consider.
  • They have a plan and stick to it. Recruitment often fails to deliver in time as most organisations don’t plan when each stage should happen or ensure all the interviewers are available. It is critical that the process runs smoothly.

The best hiring companies prioritise recruitment so interviews aren’t postponed and candidates feel that the role is important to the business. We have strong evidence that good candidates quickly become disengaged if there is a perception that the process is dragging and it also risks them getting snapped up by competitors.

They are absolutely realistic and clear from the beginning about the salary and benefits the business can offer. Too many organisations will give a salary range but are actually only able to offer at the lower end. This can be due to internal salary scales or for fear of causing problems internally if a higher figure is offered or out of budget. However this is a major and frequent mistake which can seriously mismanage candidate expectations and leads to many offer rejections. Candidates who have been approached about a role are highly unlikely to move unless there is at least a 10% increase in base salary and benefits. In a competitive market offering a small or no increase is highly unlikely to succeed unless the person has a compelling non monetary reason to move.

How do recruitment processes impact on the battle for procurement talent?

Blog - How do recruitment processes impact on the battle for procurement talent

We instigated some timely new research on the choice of recruitment and selection methods and the impact of those choices on the success rate of a getting a quality recruit in to the hiring business.

As the global economy recovers many companies are pursuing significant growth plans. Often, the key constraining factor is the ability to hire and retain the skills and expertise needed. Employer Branding and Talent Communities are becoming the new parlance of Human Resource Management as bigger corporations embrace the advent of social media to gain an advantage in finding the people they need. 

You can download our research here.