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The SEM industry has been hit with increasingly aggressive customer supply chain management programs, initially introduced as PICOS, which have become more sophisticated and divisive. Their ultimate purpose is to demoralize supplier sales teams and reduce the supplier's high-tech products to commodity status, thereby transferring as much of the supplier's profits to the customer as possible.

Supply chain management programs have evolved to the degree that the supplier sales team is entrapped very early in the sales cycle and by the time negotiation begins, all of the supplier negotiation initiatives will have been neutralized. The only thing left to negotiate is the final price, which is now in the hands of the customer.

Quest Team's dynamic one-day workshop is designed to provide SEM industry companies with the knowledge and tools necessary for success in resisting commoditization of their products and maintaining profit margins.

The course content was developed following a multi-year examination of supply chain management programs being applied to SEM companies. Quest Team researchers conducted confidential discussions with several supply chain management executives and identified offensive and defensive tools that can be effectively applied by suppliers to level the playing field.

During the workshop participants gain a thorough understanding of the typical supply chain management process in the SEM industry. They learn a comprehensive set of tools to take control of that process and the negotiation in a non-confrontational way. This enables proper planning for achieving sales and relationship objectives without significantly compromising profit margins.

Who should participate

The workshop is designed for senior management, sales management, and account managers as well as product marketing/product management personnel who are involved in significant key account interaction.

What you will learn

  • Why better negotiation technique, by itself, does NOT address the challenge
  • Heightened awareness of supply chain management techniques (many of which are subtle) being used against you
  • Strategic policies and team orientation that puts the supplier on the offense during the sales cycle
  • Defensive neutralizing actions for customer negotiation initiatives
  • How to truly define value and have it replace price as the area of focus throughout the relationship
  • The critical role of the account manager and the account plan
  • Negotiation planning that effectively capitalizes upon the supplier's offensive and defensive actions
  • Special approaches to combat reverse auctions and controlled RFP situations

Course materials

Materials include: course manual, digital and hard copy offensive and defensive planning options worksheets for application at the participant's company, and a digital and hard copy structured template for proper planning of negotiations.

This one-day Seminar is held from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Registration includes continental breakfast and lunch. Casual business attire is appropriate.


  1. SEM Supply Chain Management Programs
    • How the process has evolved
    • Often hidden intent of the program
  2. Program Characteristics
    • A look at customer techniques applied at each stage of the sales cycle
    • Customer requests and "buzz words" that indicate you are under the program's control
    • Traps to avoid
  3. Preparing Your Company and Team to Disarm the Program's Impact
    • Policies and practices that must be installed before the customer applies the program
    • The special role of "value" and how to keep it at the forefront
    • Techniques and countermeasures for offsetting program traps
    • Bringing the account team fully on board
  4. Preparing for the negotiations
    • Application of concepts via a SEM case study
    • SEM Supply Chain Management Template to structure proper thought processes
    • Role-play demonstration of how case study concepts are applied during negotiation
  5. Special Traps to Commoditize Supplier's Hi-Tech Products
    • Asked to respond only to purchasing on an RFP or a Reverse Auction?
    • Alternatives available to you
    • Risks and likely outcomes of various alternatives
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For 42 years The Quest Team has provided high impact, semi-custom trainingprocesses for the development of sales, marketing and customer teams on 3 continents and with 800 corporations. 

  • QUEST TEAM MEMBERS are highly qualified. Each has had a successful career as a senior executive in a sales and marketing career path. All have in-depth experience in the areas in which they are consulting and/or training. This experience, combined with Quest's knowledge of learning and behavior change, provides you with quality solutions and defined payoffs at a highly favorable cost/performance ratio.

  • QUEST TEAM KNOWS YOU.  We have worked extensively with management, sales, marketing, engineering and manufacturing teams in some 23 industries. Our broad experience means innovative, timely solutions that are "real world" to your people.

  • QUEST TEAM APPROACHES are uniquely tuned to your organization. We listen to you and then design a semi-custom solution for the challenges you face. When seeking sales or marketing consultation we can rapidly bring to bear more than 200 person years of in-depth experience. When seeking training and development, we have numerous modules and hundreds at our disposal to design a process that is a precise fit for your organization. ...

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