Episode 5: Delivering Value Beyond Cost Savings

By Katherine McCleery | August 31, 2020

In this episode of The Sourcing Hero, we welcome Nick Gunn, CEO and Founder of The NiVACK Group. Nick has spent over 22 years in procurement and shares powerful insight about the importance of understanding as the foundation of any strategy.

From the motivations of the customer to the greater business goals, understanding equips procurement to determine creative approaches and deliver solutions that bring true value.

Listening Guide

[01:27] The definition of a Sourcing Hero. A hero understands the needs of the organization and uses that knowledge to create strategies that deliver value in addition to cost savings. 

[02:40] An “aha” moment. One of the key lessons Nick learned during his time in procurement was about due diligence and the importance of understanding your customer.

[07:38] Finding the win-win. Understanding your customer’s perspective and motivations will enable you to come back with a win; for them and for you.

[09:56] The power of common ground. Hear about the impact of positioning as Nick shares how a question followed by a story led to an incredible outcome. 

[13:58] Beyond the data. Procurement is notoriously good at collecting and analyzing data, but the ability to align your strategy to the business goals is where the true solution lies.

[16:56] The why leads to the how. Dig deeper to understand the “why.” Then you’ll have much more latitude to come up with creative solutions to meet those needs.

[21:07] Paying it forward. The NiVACK Group provides small businesses with advice and coaching to improve their profitability by focusing on lowering their costs and becoming more competitive.


The importance of understanding. 

When Nick presented a new sourcing strategy to senior leadership Hewlett Packard, he learned a hard lesson. Despite intense preparation and planning, his presentation fell flat. He realized he had missed the most important part of his strategy development – understanding the perspectives of the people he was trying to influence. To this day, he coaches others on the importance of understanding what your audience wants.

Storytelling can win an audience.

Another important aspect of winning over an audience is storytelling. He shared an example of how emotional connections can get in the way of accomplishing a greater goal. During a particularly impactful presentation, Nick asked his audience a question to which they all answered, “no.” Then he showed them through a data-packed story how, in reality, their actions were yielding the very thing they didn’t want. Procurement can tell a story using facts, analogies, metaphors, and emotional hooks to win the hearts and minds of the people.

Connect first and then deliver data.

Procurement is notoriously good at analyzing and presenting data to drive objective decisions.  The thing that procurement is usually not as good at is connecting and finding a hook with their client or stakeholder. When you take the time to figure out the needs and goals of the business and align your procurement strategy to those needs, you’ll have the solution that hooks your audience.

Helping small businesses.

Nick founded The NiVACK Group with the purpose of helping small businesses through coaching. He starts with a conversation about your business to learn what’s important to you and the barriers that are inhibiting you from becoming more profitable. From there, he works to help you realize the value your organization could achieve through education, coaching, and partnerships. His goal is to develop procurement teams so they won’t need to work with a consultant in the future. In the end, you’ll have the capability to deliver value yourself. 


Host: Katherine McCleery, Head of Marketing

Special Guest: Nick Gunn, Co-Founder & CEO, The NiVACK Group

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