The importance of influence in CPO jobs

The ability to sell and influence internally has become central to the role of CPO, according to industry experts.

In fact, it has been claimed CPOs spend a huge 80% of their time in this area.

Speaking at a procurement event in London last month, Coveris chief procurement officer Xavier Cassignol said:

"As a CPO you probably spend 80 per cent of your time selling your change project, or changing suppliers, to top management, and 20 per cent of your time negotiating with your suppliers. You leave the negotiation to your team, but you spend most of your time selling your transformation project to the top management."


CIPS Fellow Sean Clancy added that the CPO requires a talented team beneath them to handle "the mechanics" of negotiation and contracts. This leaves the procurement leader free to focus on influence, and "to ensure the ideas he is generating are embraced and embedded by the business".

Skills shortage

However, a recent study has shown that there could be a lack of these vital influencing skills in the industry.

The 2014 Deloitte Global CPO Survey found that 57% of the CPOs surveyed believe their teams lack the skills needed to deliver an effective procurement strategy. Chief among these were influence, leadership, communication and relationship building.

Cassignol added:

"We have a lot of professionals with the expertise to deal with category management, negotiation and so on, but we do not necessarily have the right people to deal with the soft skills – the ability to listen and understand the requirements of the business, the ability to sell your projects to the top management, to communicate."


Search for procurement talent

Portfolio Procurement is a recruitment agency specialising in finding candidates for procurement officer jobs with these sought-after soft skills. To register your interest call Pat Law on 020 7650 3191, or to find your next role, browse the range of procurement vacancies we have available.

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