Who is a sales consultant, and what do they do? A sales consultant is someone who is charged with the responsibility of finding and securing customers to purchase company products. They can also be an individual who uses his or her skills and experience to help businesses increase sales. In this article, we talk about when and how to hire a sales consultant.
Nevertheless, a sales consultant’s task is simple: INCREASING SALES.
Other responsibilities may include:
- Training sales representatives to implement new technology to increase sales.
- Creating and maintaining a healthy working relationship with clients.
- Increase product knowledge and understanding of the market and competition with the aim of increasing sales.
- Teaching sales representatives what record-keeping is.
- Liaising with the marketing department to come up with new strategies to increase sales and brand awareness.
A sales consultant’s qualities make them a useful asset to businesses and companies. Their strong negotiating, selling, and people skills make them unstoppable.
Here are a few things you should know about hiring a sales consultant.
The Cold Hard Truth About Hiring A Sales Consultant
Deciding to hire a sales trainer or sales consultant is a lot like deciding to go to therapy.
You have 3 choices:
Own It! You can own it, understand you need help, and actively seek the guidance and support with a willingness to make changes.
Go Through the Motions – Perhaps, you have decided on getting help, but in the end, your ego prevents you from hearing and implementing the advice you are given.You may go through the motions, but things don’t stick due to a lack of consistency, coaching, or self-accountability.
Oftentimes the ego comes down to “budget” or “Oh, I can do this myself”. Based on what we’ve seen and experienced in life and business, accepting that you need help and taking necessary steps towards improving your business will lead you back to #1.
Do nothing (Smokescreen for job security) – Thinking that things will get better without a real shake up to the system is a fool’s errand. And no, the “beatings will continue until morale improves” is no longer viable. That may have worked with Gen-X sales teams, but it’s the 21st century, and you will either adapt or die a slow and painful death.
Surface Pains vs. Core Pains
When we talk to new potential clients one of the first things we ask them is “Why now?”
We often get what we like to call “Surface Pain Responses”
- “We missed goals.”
- “We are ramping the team.”
- “We have a team but everyone is doing it their own way.”
That is not really the answer we are looking for, and neither should you.
Here are five reasons why it might be time to consider hiring a sales consultant:
When to Hire a Sales Consultant: 5 Signs You Need One
1. Falling Behind Competitors
Have you been noticing significant changes in the business: low sales, losing ground against competitors, investors pulling out, or losing major clients?
If that’s the case, it’s time to begin the conversation around hiring a sales consultant. Their experience and skills will help you come up with innovative strategies to revive your business.
2. Your Sales Team Doesn’t Understand What To Do
A successful business has several components at its core, one of them being a sales cycle. However, it’s not just a sales cycle. It must be clear and definitive, with all the steps outlined and in a logical order.
Your sales representatives should understand and implement these steps for successful sales.
3. Sales Forecasting Often Turns Out to Be Wrong
Sales forecasting helps businesses predict sales and revenue, as well as evaluate performance to implement the appropriate remedies.
A sales consultant will help create a framework that will guide sales reps on how to accurately forecast sales. They also define and help meet the expectations of a company.
4. Margins Are On a Down Trend
If you have noticed that your margins are decreasing or the volume of sales has been steadily dwindling? Then it may be the right time to hire a sales consultant.
They will help identify problems and create solutions to correct them. They will also help train sales representatives to improve their sales cycles by implementing helpful strategies effective in increasing the company’s sales margin.
5. Lots of Employees Are Leaving
Perhaps you’re blowing through employees faster than you’re making sales, or you spend more time recruiting and hiring new staff than you are meeting the company’s financial expectations.
All these are reasons enough to hire a sales consultant. Their presence within your company or business is guaranteed to bring positive results. They will help you identify and resolve the reasons why you’re losing employees.
How to Hire a Sales Consultant: 5 Tips
According to Richard Harris, there are five essential skills and qualities you should look out for when hiring a sales consultant. Below are a few pointers on how to hire a sales consultant and what to look out for.
1. Does the candidate understand your product’s value?
A good sales consultant should understand your company’s product and its value to clients. They should possess knowledge and understanding of your company’s background, mission, and history to understand your sales process.
They can do this by volunteering to sit in during a sales pitch to comprehend your sales techniques fully.
2. Does the candidate possess a design or technique?
An effective sales candidate should provide innovative techniques or guidelines to aid your company’s sales process. These techniques should be tailored to suit your needs and expectations.
3. Can they customize their services according to your needs?
An excellent candidate for the sales consultant role should be able to identify and root out areas where your company may be struggling and create a customized approach to solving these problems.
They should be versatile and fluent in sales and marketing knowledge to assess areas that need work and implement this insight.
4. What does their track record look like?
Do they have credible proof of their services, such as customer testimonials or case studies from clients they’ve worked with? Do they have referees who can vouch for them?
5. Is their approach any different from the rest?
A good sales consultant should possess a fresh approach, achieved by researching and keeping abreast of emerging trends in the sales industry. They should have a complete mastery of your product and its value, just like anyone else within your sales division.
An efficient sales consultant should be wise, and able to view aspects in a different light. They should also invent new approaches and strategies and apply them to areas that require them. Besides, they should also train sales representatives on how to implement these techniques.
What Other Sales and Marketing Leaders Are Saying
Keep in mind, everything you just read was written BEFORE asking any sales leaders in the wild for their opinions. Can you spot the similarities?
From Dave Hawley, CMO in Silicon Valley
When is the right time to bring in a sales trainer?
The time to hire sales development coaching in my experience is when you have a small team that you’ve been coaching yourself for a few months. The fresh perspectives that a professional coach can bring are invaluable.
The other great time to bring in a sales development coach is when the team starts to plateau. Do it immediately. Again, it’s about the fresh perspectives, but in this case it’s also about the skills that have yet to be developed and opportunities that only an outsider will see.
From Bob Marsh, Founder and CEO, Level Eleven
When is the right time to bring in a sales trainer?
A sales trainer should be brought in when you need an outside party to bring your team a fresh perspective on how to qualify, progress, and close better. Many sales leaders have the skills needed to be successful, but don’t have the time, or often the know-how, to take what’s in their heads and turn it into learning material.
From Matt Belitsky, SVP, Global Sales & Marketing at Komiko
When do you want to hire an outside sales trainer or sales consultant?
When you start asking yourself two things: (i) there must be a better way…?; and (ii) how will I do this on my own? When you hire externally, you’re seeking not only outside counsel but also an implementer.
Did you see that?
We posed our questions to the two well-respected sales leaders and a very smart and respected CMO who has owned the top of the funnel SDR team in his two previous roles. We did not share any information with them.
The fact that 2 out of 3 specifically said “fresh perspective” and the 3rd one said “a better way” should confirm your own internal thoughts about when it’s time to bring in outside help.
If you are having these thoughts, then it’s time for you to start having bigger conversations around the subject of sales training and sales consulting.
“Will I lose credibility?” (No, You Won’t)
Oh, and for your “Do Nothing / Will I lose credibility” comment rolling around in the back of your head, you should keep the following in mind.
Even though you can implement sales training yourself, you are still a human being. You will always have a list of at least 10 things to do today, tomorrow, and six months from now. So bringing in a sales consultant will help you scale and allow you to focus on other very important tasks.
Don’t worry, you won’t lose your job if you are an inside sales leader or even a sales enablement leader. There are always plenty of other important things to be working on. In fact, you will most likely be seen in higher regards within the organization and your sales team.
Whether you are running an inside sales team or a team of field sales reps, if you are saying these things to yourself or your suspect, you will be saying them as part of your 2018 Sales Planning. And that means it’s time for you to start having conversations with a sales trainer or sales consultant.
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