David Allen, one of the world’s most influential thinkers on personal productivity, has said, “You can do anything – but not everything.” If you’re a sales or business leader looking to solve big challenges, a sales consulting firm can help.
Especially given the current workforce trends and the “Great Resignation,” consultants offer an effective solution to expanding the depth and breadth of your team. According to Oxford Economics Workforce 2020 Report: The Contingent Workforce, “83% of executives worldwide say they are increasingly using contingent, intermittent, or consultant employees.”
This article will explore four signs that your organization should hire a sales consulting firm. First, let’s look at the difference between sales training and sales consulting.
Sales Training vs. Sales Consulting
Sales training and sales consulting firms are related, but different, services.
Sales training can help take your team to the next level. It relates to skill development of your sales leaders and sales team so that they can master modern sales skills and be successful in winning new opportunities and growing existing clients. Sales training can be delivered virtually, in person, or using a hybrid approach.
Sales consulting firm and advisory services are designed to help sales and business leaders to step away from the day-to-day and focus on the big picture strategies that will move your organization forward. These engagements tend to be strategic and targeted in nature, addressing challenges and opportunities that are outside of skill development. For example, improving performance, targeting new markets, or introducing new products or services.
In my experience, the two are frequently tied closely together. Ultimately, it depends on the needs of your organization. An engagement may begin with sales consulting and follow with sales training, or vice versa.
When to Hire a Sales Consulting Firm
If you’re not sure if hiring a sales consulting firm is right for your organization, considering the following four scenarios. If they sound familiar, it’s likely a sales consulting firm could benefit your organization.
1. You need a fresh perspective. CEOs and high-level sales leaders like CSOs and Chief Growth Officers need to have vision, a view of the horizon, to understand potential opportunities and challenges. When they spend to much time “in” the business, they don’t have time to look up and out. A sales consulting firm can provide an expert, outside perspective and new, innovative thinking to help you make informed decisions. A sales consulting firm can also help you out of a rut. One client had experienced strong growth over multiple years, but then a competitor began catching up. They needed outside counsel to help them develop a new strategy, because the inhouse team didn’t have the right skills or experience.
2. You’re blindsided by your own blind spots. Every organization has blind spots. But the fact is, it’s nearly impossible to identify your own. Just like successful leaders hire coaches to help them become even more successful, the same idea applies to your sales organization. For example, a recent client hired me to conduct sales training. Through that engagement, I discovered blind spots they didn’t previously realize. They didn’t have a CRM, follow a sales process, or have sales managers as part of their organization chart, and didn’t grasp the effect that was having on their results.
Signs you need to hire a sales consulting firm. No. 2: You’re blinded by your own blind spots. @amyfranko #modernsellerClick to tweet
3. You want to conduct an objective audit or sales team assessment. Successful sales leaders take time to uncover the gaps in their organizations and build sales development processes. Rather than relying on intuition, data-driven assessment as a precursor to your sales training will study your team’s productivity and performance so you can truly understand their competencies—before you make the sizeable investment in upskilling the team. It also gives you the opportunity to stop and consider if you have the right people in the right roles with the right skills to get you where you need to go as a business. A sales consulting firm can conduct an evaluation before you launch your new sales training initiative. That way you’ll know what type of sales training to invest in, rather than guessing what might work. Being smart with data will help improve sales performance.
4. You need to sharpen the saw. Habit 7 in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to “Sharpen the Saw.” It means we need to take some time out and invest it in ourselves. That goes for sales organizations, as well as individuals. Leaders need to make sure their sales organizations are being smart and strategic about their efforts to improve sales performance. Even if things are going well, you can’t afford not to stay sharp. Online sales training is a great way to make sure skills are kept to a high level and the latest successful techniques are implemented.
Steps to Take Before You Hire a Sales Consulting Firm
If you found yourself nodding when reading the above descriptions, it may be time to hire a sales consulting firm. Here are four steps to take to lay the groundwork for success.
1. Don’t wait until you have a problem. Start by scanning industry experts, thought leaders and consultants before you need them. That way, you’re not starting from scratch. Three resources I recommend are Women Sales Pros, The Sales Experts Channel, and Top Sales World.
2. Do your research. Follow sales consultants now, so you can stay abreast of who is out there, what their expertise is, and who might be a right cultural fit for your organization.
3. Schedule 30 minutes to get to know them. It will likely take two or three calls to develop a rapport. But it almost always starts with “You were recommended to me.” Or “I saw you on LinkedIn.” Or “I read your newsletter.”
4. Make sure you know your purpose. What are you hiring the sales consulting firm to do? What are the opportunities and risks? How will you define success?
A sales consulting firm is your partner for sales growth. Do your due diligence to find the right firm, and they will help you accelerate new business and exponentially grow your results.
Talk to Us About Your Sales Needs
Don’t let your competition get an advantage. We can help. If you want to sell more and increase your organization’s impact, let’s talk about sales consulting. Contact us to schedule time for a discovery conversation with Amy.