Looking back at the journey of Smart Consulting Sourcing

When we started Smart Consulting Sourcing, we weren’t sure exactly where it would lead.

Today, it gives us immense pleasure to see that SCS has become a valuable resource for Procurement Leaders. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 100 episodes already, but time really does fly when you’re having fun.

With that in mind, we are presenting this special episode to recall and relive the little victories of this awesome journey, albeit the fact that we had our share of rainy days as well!

I have Laurent — the chairman of Consulting Quest, with me to anchor the conversation with his signature style, laced with inimitable wit and unmatched sense of humour.

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Key Takeaways

Creating a Podcast involves a lot of trial and errors, No one can get it right and perfect in the first go. I had to record same few podcast 2-3 times!

We began tiny, exactly like a plant; at first, we had nothing and we just produced our episodes, but nobody was listening. And that should not demotivate you at all!

You need to have the right gears and script in order to get the podcast up and running.

We keep moving forward, Opening new doors, and doing new things because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. – Walt Disney

 

Transcript

Helene:
Hello. And welcome back to the hundred’s episode of smart consulting sourcing.

The only podcast about consulting procurement. I am Hélène, a consulting sourcing expert and your host for your favorite podcast.

I am beyond excited to have touched the three digit episode in my podcast series.

In today’s episode, we celebrate this milestone by walking you through the behind the scenes stories about producing this podcast. I have the chairman of Consulting Quest with me to anchor the conversation.

Laurent:
Hi, it’s hard to believe it has been one hundred episodes already. Congratulations, Hélène.

Helene:
Thanks, time really does fly when you’re having fun.

So whether you’ve been with us from the very beginning or you are just joining us now, we hope you enjoy this special episode. Thank you again for listening.

However, before we get into that, let me give you a quick recap of last week’s episode.

The procurement strategy is a process that fits with the business strategy of your company. But remember procurement strategy is an on-going process. It can be tweaked, changed and improved along the way as data analytics will provide new insights into what works best for you.

So it’s clear that having a procurement strategy is important for any organization, but it requires to have in mind, the overall strategy and a consulting budget.

And then use the different levers that I mentioned in the podcast last week, consulting strategy, make or buy, etcetera.

But again, the strategy you will define is strongly linked to your company’s context, organization and ambitions.

And that’s procurement strategy for consulting. Its real essence lies in the value it delivers for your organization.

And if you have not already implemented a procurement strategy for your consulting category, maybe it’s time to start. You can listen to our podcast about procurement strategy and why it is important for consulting

Laurent:
Moving to the one hundred’s episode. We got some exciting times, but also some rough time. And I’m well pleased to speak about it.

But overall, at the end of the day, I assume that you recall mostly the best times making it to the one hundred’s episode of a podcast series is not a mean feat. It signifies nearly two years of strong dedication, extensive research, and constant updating of your expertise and knowledge.

How do you feel about this success?

Helene:
So obviously a sense of achievement. As you’re saying in the last two years, we’ve done a lot of work, of research and now it’s starting to pay with new listeners with new visibility, new exposure.

So in that sense, really, really happy that we are here today.

Laurent:
So tell us, what inspired you to start this podcast and what did you want to achieve through this effort?

Helene:
So it’s a funny thing. Two years ago, I was not sure that people would even listen to a podcast on how to buy consulting services. It’s quite a niche topic, but we had just wrote a book and realized that there were not much literature out there on how to buy consulting services.

And so we thought it could be a good way to promote the book first, to establish our thought leadership, but also to share our knowledge with the procurement community.

Laurent:
So we know the goals you are in mind when you started the podcast. So now, tell us how much of this has been accomplished?

Helene:
All right. So we started small, you know, it’s just like a plant you’re you start small, you have nothing at first and you just do your episodes and no one is listening. Like literally no one, no, that’s not true, your husband, your kids, your grandmother, all of them are listening, but that’s pretty much it.

And then like, you know, little by little, it starts to take and some people are listening and they’re asking questions and you get more and more precise on your content. More you go a little bit deeper and  we’re still in that.

At some point you will probably get to a point where you have it all, but we’re obviously not there. We’re still in the growing phase.

And we have still, you know, some surprises, for the near future for you.

Laurent:
Would you consider you have established some thought leadership authority?

Helene:
I would say so. I hope it’s not a little bit like arrogant or pretentious, but I think, yes, I think that we’re starting to be recognized as an expert in that domain and the questions we get after the podcast and through our different channels, LinkedIn and so on are more and more precise and more and more technical.

And I think that’s the sense that we are becoming a reference. And I think also the work that we’re doing on webinars and also white papers is also helping in establishing our thought leadership.

Laurent:
I hear you also launched a community.

Helene:
Yes, that’s right. So we have now a community, a group on LinkedIn, that’s called smart consulting sourcing the community, very original.

And, now we’re starting to get some traction and some dynamic , in that group, we just reach a hundred members last week. So, it’s getting somewhere as well.

Laurent:

So coming back to the podcast and particularly launching a podcast.

What did you learn during the journey?

Helene:
There are many, many things that we have learned, obviously.

First thing is about having a podcast itself. It’s a long journey and we started with a short podcast. It was under 10 minutes. We’re now more between 10 and 15 minutes. It’s a very short format.

We made it on purpose that short, because I, we thought about commute. That was the kind of the things that we need to have people listening for the podcast during the commute. That was the first thing. So it has to be short.

And the other thing is that I don’t know about you, but personally, when the podcasts are too long, at some point, either I switch off, I just stop or I don’t remember half of what have been said, and I can’t, you know, get all that information taken in.

And, so we decided to go for a short format with very, very simple ideas and just stick to that.

But the thing is, it’s really hard. It’s hard to be always synthetic, to get right to the point to say everything that has to be said, even technical stuff without simplifying too much, but without being inaccurate at the same time.

So this is kind of, that was tough. So now I think we we’re getting there. That was the first thing. The second thing is also, when you do a first podcast at the beginning, you want to say it very fast and you’re very excited.

And so, you’re kind of like just super, super fast, and it’s not your real voice. It’s not your real pace. It’s not your real rhythm.

And now after two years, I think, I’m so used to it that I don’t need to rush in. And I’m much more calmer, you know, calmer. When I, record it, that’s kind of how you do the podcast.

But what is funny is that it’s also helped us broaden our horizon on procurement itself because when you have to find a new topic.

Every week, you have to find a new topic, something that is new, different, something that is attractive to people.

So consulting procurement is very niche. So I would say that we have been like a 360 on whatever is needed to do consulting procurement well, but the podcast made us go a little bit further to explore other topics that were not maybe obviously linked to consulting procurement and see how it applies to procurement for consulting services.

For instance, we covered topics like global procurement, global sourcing or sustainable procurement that are not necessarily obvious for an intangible category like consulting, but we were able to find something.

And they are some topics that were not covered in the book. So that was new research and new content and kind of a little bit of thinking to say, what’s our position on that. And how does that apply to our category?

Laurent:
Interesting. So when, you look back at the journey, both from a content and a technical standpoint, what are some, I would say key elements or key unknown things, that would be interesting to share with us when you look back.

Helene:
So, what I would say is that, you know, it’s a lot of tries and errors. Obviously nothing was right the first time, and sometimes you have to record the same podcast, like two or three times.

I had a few microphone failures, some were memorable because I would not be even able to record the podcast and we had to give an excuse. And that was it.

I have to try several microphones. This is microphone number four. I’m very happy with it right now, but this is an important thing that we realized, while we were working, is that the material that you’re using is very important. You need to have a very good microphone.

You have to really have someone who knows how to edit your podcast in the right way so the quality is good. We have tried several jingles.

And there’s one thing that’s probably the most annoying stuff is I don’t have young kids. My kids are older, they’re teenagers now. So they know how to get out of my way when I’m recording a podcast, but I have a cat and he’s very eager to participate in the podcast.

So every time I have to kind of chase him, catch him and get him into another room and close the door. So, because you would hear him like you meowing all the time, like here, he would be there and he wants to participate. And if it’s a video, he would just go, on my desk like this.

So it’s those things, it’s little things. It’s now everybody works. I wouldn’t say all the time from home, but we’re a lot of us work partially from home and recording a podcast from home is a challenge in itself. Let’s put it that way.

Laurent:
So just to give an idea to our listeners. To, at the end, broadcast a 15 minute podcast

how long does it take to prepare?

Helene:
Oh, that’s a tough question. So, most of my podcasts are scripted. It means that I have in advance a script that I follow as closely as possible. You cannot read it, but it’s as close as possible. So you have first have to prepare the script.

It means a lot of research, obviously. So fortunately, since we had the book, most of the research was already done. But it still takes an hour, an hour and a half to prepare script. And then probably another half hour to kind of polish it in order to be something that you can say, right?

So this is like two hours to prepare a script. Then you have the recording, a recording for 15 minute podcast is, depends on how good you are, sometimes is gonna take an hour, but most of the time it will take half an hour.

And then you have the edition that will take another hour. So it’s half a day to record a podcast.

Laurent:
It’s one to 15

Helene:
When you’re lucky, when you’re lucky, when you’re Lucky!

Laurent:
Yeah. So for one minute of podcast, you need 15 minutes of preparation.

Helene:
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely .

Laurent:

So now you have hit such a huge milestone. What’s next? Where are you gonna, where do you wanna go from there podcast number 500, podcast minimum number 1000. Just tell us.

Helene:
I don’t know if we’ll get there. I think that there’s still many, many topics to cover.

The consulting industry is evolving. A lot of things are changing. So then many, many things to say, we see a lot around digitalization and disruption of the value chain, and this will mean a lot of opportunities for consulting buyers.

And I think it’s important to share that and show how we can use or not use actually those new business models. So that’s that.

So, other topics on procurement as well, going a little bit deeper, we are exploring also, new formats, having people on board to share, maybe some interviews.

So we’re trying to kind of renew a little bit the format in order to make it more interesting and, broaden a little bit, still staying on that specificity of consulting procurement.

But we’re also exploring other formats beyond the podcast itself, still on the same topic, but more on the video format on the YouTube channel, for instance.

So that’s something that we’re working on probably for Q3 for September or October. We just launched a new podcast as well, which is called the procurement game changers.

It’s made of interviews of procurement practitioners, as opposed to me an expert talking and giving my perspective on procurement, that there, we will have real executives that are living procurement on a day basis that are sharing their vision or their experience on procurement and still very, very short format with some really practical steps that people can take on a given topic.

And finally, there’s one topic. There’s one thing that I’d like to do, I really want to do that. It’s something around women in indirect procurement. I wanted to do that this year, but obviously this is not gonna happen. So I hope I can start that in the beginning of next year, but I would like to launch something about that.

There are many, many women in indirect procurement, not as much as I’d like to, but still, and I think there is something to do around that and work on building a community and supporting each other.

Laurent:
So that can be on the list of new year resolutions for 2023.

Helene:
Yeah, probably.

Laurent:
Speaking of new year resolutions, let’s give a few pointers to the people listening that are aspiring podcasters and would like to build and strengthen their thought leadership, using this kind of channel. What would be your kind of key recommendations?

Helene:
So the first thing I would recommend is to not be too ambitious. I think that unless you want to make the podcast, your central revenue stream, because here I’m talking about something that is more onto getting ourself known, getting some visibility and so on.

See if it’s your main revenue stream, then, you can be ambitious. But if it’s not, as you mentioned before to produce a 15 minute podcast, it’s half day in the week.

So the more ambitious you get, the more time you’ll spend on it. And, it means a lot of time and efforts.

And this time you’re spending on this, you’re not spending on sales, you’re not spending on client work. So that’s first thing. It’s like be conscious of how much time it takes just for a short podcast.

The second thing is to be consistent, you need to produce every week.

It’s not like, oh, I’m gonna do two. And then for four weeks, nothing. And then no, this is not how it works. The way you built your audience is with regularity. It’s regularity in content, in quality, in tone, etcetera.

And that means preparing, preparing, preparing, preparing, you need to prepare!

It can be something that you say, if you’re very comfortable saying things out loud, without preparation, without too much preparation, fine, but you need to know where you’re going.

And because when you listen to your podcast, it has to be a beginning and a middle and an end, and it has to make sense, and this, unless you are the best speaker ever, you can’t do that without preparing.

And as mentioned before, you need to get the right gear, you need to get the right microphone. If you need some advice you can ask me, I’ve tried several brands, so you can ask, but you need to have the right gear because podcast, especially audio podcast is just audio. And so it has to be as perfect as possible.

And one last thing, because I had a few problems with that is always try to be ahead of a few episodes because you know, things can happen. For instance, just say like that you can get Covid like that and be stuck at home with everyone sick, you included, and you don’t even have a voice to record anything, just saying.

And so you have to plan, prepare, and then execute. And it has to become a process where you are always, always doing the one for next week or the one for two weeks from now.

So that would be kind of the few tips that I would share.

Laurent:
Well, thanks. I’ll keep that in mind for the podcast I’m supposed to launch for the last six months.

Helene:
Yeah, you’ll get there eventually.

Laurent:
You’ll come one day. I promise.

And again, congratulations for reaching this one hundred milestone. I hope you will have the opportunity to communicate and have a nice, social media coverage on all this.

And, all things being said, I leave the floor to you for concluding this, podcast, because I see that we are reaching the, famous 15 minutes time.

Helene:
Absolutely. So I would say that when we started the smart consulting sourcing podcast, we weren’t sure exactly where it would lead us, but as the pandemic began just at the same moment, it became clear to us that these podcasts could become a valuable resource for procurement leaders.

And, especially in the sourcing industry, which is not really very, a big fan of change, right?

So we also launched a second podcast interview series. We wanted to involve leading professionals in the procurement sector and have them share their, their stories and their achievements as well. And so I hope it will be as an awesome journey as this podcast was.

So, thank you everyone for listening and above all thank you for being a part of this journey.

More exciting episodes ahead, less stay tuned. We need to create a community of sustainable consulting sourcing together!

And that marks the end of this special episode.

Next week, I will talk about MSA (Master Service Agreement), back to business, right. And how they work for consulting services.

So stay tuned, till then stay safe and happy sourcing.

And if you have other questions about buying consulting and how to stay ahead of the market, remember you can always contact me directly on LinkedIn or by email because I’m always game for a chat.

Bye and see you next week. Au revoir!

Till then, stay safe and stay connected with us through our LinkedIn community and follow our Twitter handle @ConsQuest.

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Helene Laffitte

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting. To find out more, visit the blog or contact her directly.

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