Like any good business partnership, it takes time and energy to build a trusting relationship. However, at times, there are signs that a relationship is not going to work out. My goal is to provide you with insight to help you determine up-front when a relationship with a Supplier Diversity Manager (SDM) is likely to pan out in your favor.
Let's look at the following two scenarios representing a Friend versus Foe. In EACH scenario, you have reached out to the SDM to request more information about an opportunity you saw and to ask for an introduction to the appropriate department, leader or even better, a key decision maker
Focused Direction: The SDM answers with a bright and interested voice. They are happy to talk with you and to learn even more about you and your businesses. They realize the level of excellence AND the experience you can bring to the table. They offer to connect you with the key decision maker and give you important details as to how to make the meeting successful. They share information about the decision maker’s personality and their expectations. They are guiding you to increase your chances of success. They truly are your liaison. You sense they are well connected within the organization and able to guide and ... This SDM is your friend!
Unguided Distraction: The SDM acts uninterested and can't tell you who you should connect with, let alone offer an introduction. But you still have hope! You inquire about other opportunities in their pipeline, but low and behold, the SDM does not have that information. In fact, they don't even attempt to learn more about your business. It becomes obvious this conversation is pointless. You tactfully end the conversation, realizing this SDM is not well connected within the organization and therefore is unable or unwilling to offer introductions and your efforts, at best, will result in meandering attempts at connections leading nowhere. This SDM is your Foe.
A Supplier Diversity Manager who is your ‘Friend’ will be your champion! They will provide guidance throughout the process. They will be your liaison between you and where you want to go and GROW your business within the company.
Those are two very disparate stories. Yet, each can happen, and you need to have your radar on to detect and respond appropriately early in the process.
I'd love to hear your feedback on whether you have experienced a Friend or Foe! Let me know in the Comments sections or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.