Partner with your Consulting Suppliers

Supplier relationship management (SRM) is a critical component of any successful project. In the sphere of consulting, it is crucial to turn your suppliers or consultants into your partners.

However, building such a strong relationship with your consultants takes effort and skills, and there are more reasons than one why procurement is best suited to do this job. Effective consulting supplier management requires a strategic approach that balances the needs and expectations of both the clients and the suppliers or consulting firms while fostering trust and transparency.

How to build a dynamic supplier chain and how can it contribute to optimizing the ROI of your consulting spend? In this episode, Helene takes a dig into partnering with your consulting supplier, which is our fifth lever to optimize the ROI of your consulting spend.


Key Takeaways

∙ Building long-term relationships with the right suppliers is crucial for optimizing return on your consulting spend
∙ Advance planning is necessary when building a list of suppliers to avoid costly mistakes.
∙ Maintaining a dynamic supplier chain that can grow and change with your needs, can give you significant savings in the long run.
∙ Keeping a list of preferred consulting suppliers provides benefits such as better decision-making, time savings, and more control over procurement.
∙ A dynamic preferred supplier list can be created by anticipating future needs and using a digital sourcing solution.
∙ Procurement plays a crucial role in building relationships with strategic consulting suppliers, and managing spend performance and risk assessments.


As we are meeting for the first time in the New Year to discuss our fifth lever to optimize the ROI of your consulting spend – partnering with your consulting supplier, let’s spend some time on giving a small recap of the previous episode.

Cost has always been a touchy topic when it comes to consulting projects. Sure, you can pour loads of cash into a project expecting results. Yet too often we find that money alone won’t get us far. Many of the companies that we worked with, said they did not care how much they spent as they had a large budget for consulting and it was a part of their strategic spending.

This perspective really astonished us. It was like feeling okay about buying just any car along with fancy features that you do not need and paying off 50% more just because you have a good salary! You are not going to be okay with this idea because when you don’t need an expensive fancy car, you will not consider having one.

Thus, even if you are focused on value, you should keep an eye on the cost and the bonus effects. Only this approach will help you improve your ROI. And this is what was our previous episode about. So if you want to learn more about how to control your consulting costs, please watch our previous episode and for the watching on YouTube clip on the info card on the screen, follow us on YouTube and any other major streaming platform for more information like this.

So that is where we took a break. And now let’s jump onto to this topic which is partnering with your consulting suppliers. So your consulting suppliers are the unsung heroes when it comes to getting the all-important ROI, but have you ever wondered what exactly gets them there? So let’s dig deeper into partnering with your consulting supplier, which is our fifth lever to optimize the ROI of your consulting spend.

Managing Consulting Suppliers

To maximize the benefits from your consulting project, your ultimate aim should be to turn your suppliers to your partners and that has the following aspects:

Building Long-Term Relationship

Building relationships is essential to any successful business, especially when it comes to consulting suppliers or strategy consulting suppliers. Working with the right suppliers can make all the difference when trying to build an intimate connection and long-term success because at the end of the day, we are people, we buy from people, we sell to people, and having those intimate connections will be beneficial and it’s particularly true for consulting.

Advance Planning

Then, when it comes to building a suppliers list, you should remember this old saying, fail to plan, plan to fail. It may well apply to companies that work with the same suppliers year after year. There are multiple ways to anticipate what you need and yet companies often fail to invest a small bit of effort into pre-season planning. Companies tend to lose great sums down the road because of this lack of planning.

Maintaining a Dynamic Supplier Chain

We all love our businesses to run like a well-oiled machines and supplier management is one of the key components. After all, you don’t want that crucial chain link to break. For that, make sure your procurement team has got it down. You need to understand which suppliers are vital for keeping things going smoothly as well as any risk involved in relying on them too much. Manage those links carefully. They could be what keeps your business chugging along at peak performance. So planning ahead and making sure you’ve got a dynamic list that can grow and change with your needs and money will be saved in the long run.

Benefits of Having a List of Preferred Consulting Suppliers

Controlling expenditures, obtaining the best agreement, and limiting risks may be time-consuming and challenging if your organization has a lot of suppliers. But keeping a preferred list on hand will make sure this procedure is more effective and clear. Let’s explore a few of the benefits of having a list of preferred suppliers.

It helps in making effective business decisions.

You should increase your company’s access to supplier information and make purchasing easier for your internal stakeholders. The simplest approach to do this is to employ a digital sourcing system that links internal and external parties and delivers current and relevant data for decision-making. It will also ensure that your vendors provide the highest value for your organization in terms of pricing quality, economic stability, and contract for us. Because you will be buying from your profess suppliers, your bargaining power will increase, allowing you to negotiate better prices and safe costs.

It helps save time

Purchasing products and services can take a lot of time, especially when you have to go through a betting process, collect quotes from potential vendors, and negotiate contract conditions But if you can go directly to discuss the scope and the price, your internal stakeholders will save a lot of time. And thus, both stakeholders, as well as the procurement, will be spared of driving into administrative work and focus on their principal functions.

More control over consulting procurement

Hence, having a profited supplier list gives you more control over our how consulting is procured and delivered. Building time with these vendors promotes responsibility and raises the likelihood of receiving better service. Eventually, communication is also improved, lowering the likelihood of misunderstanding. Therefore, in short, having a list of preferred providers is a positive step towards more maturity and it has to touch with evaluating your present suppliers and determining your major spending categories in consulting.

How to Create a Dynamic Preferred Consulting Supplier List?

In order to create a dynamic preferred supplier list, you need to look at future needs. You need to anticipate it and it means listening to your internal stakeholders and translating their future needs into requirements. These needs may be covered for the firm by your existing list, but in most cases, they aren’t. In that case, now it’s the right time to go and look for the right consulting firms and allow yourself to explore niche and boutique consulting firms.

By using a digital sourcing solution to manage your preferred suppliers, you will have access to reliable supplier data, allowing your end users to make educated decisions to maximize returns. However, if you treat your consulting suppliers as a commodity to be purchased and haggled over, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Engaging with the consultants is crucial. The first intimacy in consulting is usually an accelerator for a project.

What Procurement Has to Bring to The Table vis a vis Consulting Supplier Management?

Procurement can contribute to strategic relationship building, spend management, performance management, PSRs, risk assessments, and more. Let’s explore how they bring savvy savings and smart strategy to keep any organization on top of its game.

Building Relationship With Strategic Consulting Suppliers
By keeping your consultants close, you’ll make sure that they understand your need, they’ll almost plug and play if you will, and that will help you launch projects faster. Besides, if they know your situation and you are a good client, they will definitely be more willing to make concessions on the price.

Now, the problem is that in many organizations, consulting is bought directly by the end user and the procurement arrives at best at the negotiation phase. But building relationships with strategic consulting suppliers is no easy fit. It’s actually a job in itself. It requires both experience and the right set of skills and the consequences of not doing this can be huge when there’s no relationship built you for to rely on personal feelings and make decisions based more on subjectivity rather than knowledge. In short, building a safe relationship with your suppliers may sound like a breeze, but it’s actually more work, requiring insights into tech skills and experience to achieve the perfect balance between expectations and negotiation.

And if you can establish a trustful relationship with strategic consulting suppliers and pay attention to the competition for success you are in for smoother selling when trying to hit your strategic goals.

The problem is procurement is openly sidelined to administrative tasks such as contract management, purchase orders, and payments. And unfortunately, \this often leads to poor supplier and management seats. The lack of experience and knowledge causes strategic misconception and support results. Hence, you should take advantage of their skills and experience and invest both time and resources into understanding supplier needs in order to reach optimal solutions.

Hence, as you can understand, to capture the value from your projects and to keep your cost under control, you need to reach a higher maturity in consulting procurement. And it’s quite rare to reach it without having an experienced procurement team in the game because procurement is so much more than just shopping around for the best deals.

Spend Management

Spend management isn’t just the best word at the office, it’s an invaluable tool that procurement can bring to the table, whether you’re running a small business or a large enterprise, having someone dedicated to spend management can pay big dividends over time. To reduce waste, control costs,s and improve efficiency. Why wouldn’t you put spend management in your wheelhouse? Don’t take our word for it. Give procurement a chance and see how much better your business becomes through spend management.

Now when we bring it to consulting, it can be applied to supplier management. And it’s an essential part of a good procurement process. The idea is to measure the performance of your suppliers in order to identify which ones are good, so that you can either out the people that are way too low or build an improvement plan with the others so that you engage in the relationship or develop them.

Sometimes you need suppliers for their unique skills. And you know, there are some industries like automotive and aerospace that invest heavily in a range of strategies and techniques to develop their suppliers. So the same mindset can be applied to consulting suppliers. Sometimes the gap between a good relationship and a great relationship can be filled with just a tiny bit of elbow grease.

Let’s not forget about the fact that procurement can be incredibly helpful when it comes to implementing supply relationship management, which is part of good category management practices. And then CRM is best suited for improvements in suppliers, internal client relationships, supplier relationships and visibility, and spending. So, like any other category, supplier relationship management is a huge topic for consulting services. The way procurement manages consulting providers, should fill in the overall SM practices for the company.

But procurement can really make a lot of value by identifying U P S L, measuring their performance, developing an improvement plan, managing the relationship, and leveraging consultants inside. So I’ve already talked about SRM practices in our previous smart consulting sourcing episode, and I even had an interview on the same topic in procurement game changers, titled, , “Supply relationship management (SRM) and its contributions to a company’s long-term growth”. Do check those episodes for more insights.
Risk Assessment

Last but not least, we have a risk assessment, which is an integral part of the procurement process and brings a lot to the table too. Not only can it help you ensure that you get what you want when you want it within budget, but even can help you identify any potential risk before making a final purchase decision. So risk assessment is something we often take for granted in procurement, but it’s nothing short of essential and can suddenly give us peace of mind when making such important decisions.

So few things that procurement can help out our conflict of interest, right? Reference checking compliance with the local lows, economic stability, and so on.


To conclude today’s topic, partnering with your consulting suppliers is one of the most important levers to optimize return on investment for consulting. And we all know the hustle and bustle of the corporate world. Every company is striving to get ahead in its industry and be seen as a leader in their field. Amid this commotion, you want to maximize the ROI of your consulting spend. And you know the best way to do this is by partnering with your consulting suppliers.

But what does this mean for you? For you, it means improved communication, increased power with better control over our expenditure, more efficient use of your money and resources, and essentially an optimization of the ROI when it comes to consulting space.

So how do you get started?

That’s where procurement teams come into play. They are essential members of your business that manage relationships with your organization and your suppliers. So that maximum impact is achieved during projects. And investing in building up your team’s skillset can help you build trustful relationships with strategic consultants, which often leads to better prices for them. Who wouldn’t want that?

And also, let’s not forget practices like spend management and supplier relationship management, which bring savvy savings and smart strategies, as well as risk assessment, which ensure peace of mind when working with external partners or vendors within your organization. And yes, it applies to consulting teams. So at the end of the day, don’t forget partnering with consulting suppliers can be a powerful tool if used correctly. So make sure you get it right, and if you struggle to make it work, I hope you know that you can just come and ask us at consulting Quest.

That marks the end of this episode. The next episode will return with another fascinating topic. Till then, stay safe and happy sourcing. And if you have any questions regarding this topic, you can contact Helene directly on LinkedIn or by email because she’s always game for a chat.

Well, this concludes today’s episode.

Next week we’ll return with another fascinating topic.

Till then, stay safe and happy sourcing, and if you have any questions regarding today’s topic or anything consulting procurement-related, remember you can always contact Helene directly on LinkedIn or by email because she’s always game for a chat and stays connected with us through our community on LinkedIn and follow our Twitter handle @ConsQuest.

Don’t forget to like and subscribe to our channels!



Happy Sourcing!

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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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