Profile - How I Won A $500,000 Deal

Q & A with Pratt Pande

You've heard of Internet matchmaking, but probably nothing quite like this. Through a service called Ariba Discovery, global online buyers (thousands of companies and prospects) and sellers can be paired up. So far, Ariba has provided more than 225 million leads to different sellers. What's the membership cost, you ask? Not a cent. Want some even better news? These prospects are decision-makers ready to buy today.

Within the ad specialty industry, one of the early Ariba adopters is Pratt Pande. Counselor asked Pande – the vice president at Proforma Idea Press (asi/300094) – how his firm used Ariba to secure a half-million-dollar order.

Q: About two years ago, you were introduced to a business commerce network called Ariba Inc. How did that happen?
A: We were actually introduced to Ariba by a customer who started doing all his commerce transactions through Ariba and wanted us to join as well. We were really intrigued by the concept at that time. But it was in the last year or so when we realized the value the Ariba network provides.

Q: How is working through Ariba different from using traditional selling approaches?
A: In a traditional sales cycle, you first qualify the leads to find out if they are a fit and then check to see if they have a need that you can satisfy. This takes several steps to turn a lead into an order and can consume a lot of time and resources before any business inflow happens. Ariba matches the needs of a buyer directly to a supplier. This significantly reduces the time it takes to close a sale and conserves on resources.

Q: You recently won a new client and a $500,000 order through Ariba Discovery. How did you do it?
A: We received a request for proposal (RFP) through the Ariba network. We responded to the request and had several meetings with the customer to hash out the details of the project. Once we understood all the parameters, we were able to present a formal proposal and quote to get the business award.

Q: How long did it take to complete this half-million-dollar deal? What was the process?
A: From the time we got the RFP to closing the deal, it was around 20 days. The customer had an immediate need, and we were able to move very quickly to provide samples, quotes and proposals to seal the deal.

Q: What types of promotional products and services are you providing this new client?
A: We primarily supply this client with a wide variety of craft products, but we have actively cross-sold a wide range of promotional products including apparel, displays, giveaways, awards, etc.

Q: How has this deal impacted your staff and your capabilities?
A: We have added several new employees to support and service this new business. Also, this program has added new capabilities to our portfolio that allow us to market to other customers and prospects, driving more business for this product line.

Q: How do you plan to leverage Ariba's services in the future?
A: Ariba has recently expanded its platform. We plan to take advantage of some of the added features to its software platform that will help us be more visible to the buyers looking for products or services we offer. Internally, we are adding resources to work on the leads generated from the Ariba System.

Q: How can a distributor join the Ariba network?
A: Contact Ariba or visit its website ( to fill out a registration form. Once that is filled out and submitted, Ariba's team reviews and evaluates the application.