Much has been written about the importance of procurement's role in developing effective supplier relationships. However, much less focus has been placed on the importance for procurement to look inwards and build cooperative relationships with its peer functions and stakeholders.
As procurement develops in maturity, the need to cooperate with other functions becomes paramount. Although procurement staff may be developing and expanding their competencies, it is not always the case that other staff in other departments keep up with such developments. So, if attempts to move forward feel like a 'cold call' the response can sometimes be confusion, disbelief or even confrontation.
People who are really committed to and excited about what they are doing (yes, that is allowed at work) sometimes fall into the trap of believing that everyone else is on the same page as them and understands where they are coming from. Engaging others is more about thinking about where they are and presenting proposals from that perspective. We've all experienced this, particularly when it comes to the more technical functions. We might think of them as 'geeks'. Their expertise isn't in question, but their ability to communicate and engage with others is - sometimes (one wouldn't wish to generalise, of course).
Building a momentum for integration is like courting a lover. It starts with conversations here and there, testing the water and seeing if you might be compatible. It might then move on to a more formal meeting, dinner perhaps, to discuss things in more detail and test out how you feel about each other. When things get serious you might go as far as holding hands or sharing some innocent secrets, a real sign of trust (although I wouldn't try this one with your colleagues). Ultimately, who knows where it might end?
Procurement isn't always the best at selling itself. Perhaps the concept of procurement selling is a little like poacher turned gamekeeper. Selling doesn't have to be all fluff and bluff, but procurement does need to promote itself in order to build relationships with the key leaders and influencers. If others aren't letting you in then look to yourself first. It's easy to blame others, but if we are going to change things then we have to start at home.