Every supplier knows the drill: You identify your most valuable customers and classify them as “strategic accounts.” You can’t afford to lose them. Whatever they ask for, you deliver with your best team and best turnaround — even if it’s unreasonable or unprofitable. The customers know they are a strategic account, so they’ll try everything to wring out cost savings. Even customers that use extensive analysis and a rigorous qualification process to identify the ideal vendor have learned that discounts will flow if they put a supplier through the procurement price “buzz saw.” It’s a brutal process. No wonder a recent study showed that salespeople worry more about the price conversation than any other part of the sales cycle.