Sales are the lifeblood of most businesses. It doesn’t matter how good your communication skills are, how great your team meshes, or how cutting-edge your technology solutions are. If you and your team can’t close those deals and keep revenue flowing in, your business will be in deep trouble.
For many businesses, the solution is to hire consulting firms. Consulting firms usually have good entrance into the companies’ boards however they are not specialized in sales processes. Sales consultants on the other hand have the knowledge and the day-to-day experience to improve the processes along with helping to improve the actual sales figures. A great sales consulting expert can radically overhaul your sales processes while bringing you the skills and tools you need for success.
Not every company needs an outside sales consultant, but if any of these scenarios describe your company, there’s a good chance that you do.
Five Situations When You Need A Sales Consulting Pro
1. No one on your team has sales experience
Many business owners, particularly newcomers, believe that management skills or communication skills are the same as sales skills. While there is some overlap, these are not the same skill set! Someone could be the best possible manager when working with their team but still lack a natural ability to make sales happen.
In these cases, more training and education is the obvious solution. Sales consultants can come in and help you – or your entire team – understand the principles that drive better sales closure rates.
2. You have many leads, but few sales
You need leads to make sales, and lead-generation techniques are easy to learn and apply. However, leads don’t magically convert into buyers. They have to be carefully nurtured and pushed along the sales funnel before they’ll start spending.
So, we often see companies – particularly startups – who’ve been successful at building a lead database but just can’t quite move those leads along. In this case, all the tools are already in place. You and your team just need a little extra edge to go from marginal to successful!
3. You know you need technology but aren’t sure how or where to start.
Sales consulting firms – at least the good ones – update with time. The days where 90% of sales happened over the phone, or over martini lunches, are mostly gone. Making sales today is about having the right technology, along with having the right sales techniques. Software such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and marketing automation programs can radically improve your ability to attract well-qualified leads who will be easy to convert.
Modern sales consultants are well familiar with these tools, and help you update your business methods. This can be especially helpful for well-established businesses who are seeing their sales start to decline and need to embrace modern methods to get back in the game.
4. You feel you don’t understand buyers born in other generations
Technology and techniques aren’t the only things changing – people are changing too! There’s a huge generation gap between those who grew up with the Internet and those who came before, and it can be difficult to bridge that gap from either side.
This is a problem that can affect new and old businesses alike. Older operations may have trouble reaching out to younger buyers, while new startups may similarly have difficulty making inroads with older decision-makers. Sometimes they’re downright antithetical. Techniques that work on Boomers will almost certainly not work on Millennials, and vice-versa.
The right sales consulting firm can break down the differences in attitudes and approaches between the various generations, and help you understand the right outreach techniques for the buyers you 5ant to reach.
5. Your existing sales team does not have the focus and interest on selling an additional product
Every sales person in your team is occupied with servicing his or her existing customers base and increasing their sales to reach their targets on new business. Understandably they focus on what they know best, and that’s selling the products or services they have been dealing with for long times. Adding new products that need to be sold to new target groups threatens their ability to reach their targets. Moreover, the division in attention for different goals might lead to lower performance on both sides therefore increasing your overall sales in existing areas. And that you do not want.
How to Find The Right Sales Consulting Team For Your Needs?
Not all sales consulting firms are created equal – not by a long shot! Even leaving aside those who are knowingly bad actors looking for a quick buck, there are many situations where one otherwise reliable sales consultant may simply not be a good fit for your business.
Here are a few considerations and aspects to look for.
1. Experience with your industry
Contrary to what some MBA types might think, sales methods are not one-size-fits-all. Sure, there are some similarities between methods, but every industry has its own quirks, processes, and preferences.
If you can find a sales consultant who has direct experience in your industry, or an adjacent industry, they’ll almost always have the most valuable insights. If you know one of your competitors hired a certain sales consulting firm, you might even consider hiring that firm for yourself. If they helped your competitor succeed, they should be able to help you as well.
2. Appropriate teaching techniques
Some sales consulting firms specialize in classes, seminars, and other group-learning techniques. Others are more like tutors, who focus on directly mentoring one or two people – usually at the executive level – to improve their personal sales skills. In terms of teaching, these are two different skill sets. A consultant who’s good at one type of teaching may not be good at another.
So, make sure you look for consultants whose teaching styles and preferences match the outcome you’re looking for.
3. A willingness to stand by their work
Take a careful look at the contracts that your would-be sales consulting wants you to sign. Do they take any responsibility for the effectiveness of their teaching, or make any guarantees past the point that their consulting period ends?
The best and most reputable sales consulting firms will usually have some provisions to help provide you with more security, or at least will be willing to come back in for another look if things somehow go wrong. Be aware of consultants who give themselves a free pass to walk away and never look back.
As always, in situations like this, looking for referrals and testimonials will help.
4. Offering specific solutions
Try to get a look at some of the work a consultant has done with past firms, or at least their case studies. It’s relatively easy to notice and diagnose problems within a sales funnel – but are the consultants offering specific and tailored solutions to fixing these problems? Or are they only speaking in platitudes, jargon, and buzzwords?
You want sales consultants who will be able to help you with the specific problems facing your business. If they’re only going to offer boilerplate suggestions, you could get those from a book.
Skondras Has the Customized Sales Consulting Solutions You Need
From in-office sales consulting to full-service sales outsourcing, Skondras is devoted to improving your sales and your bottom line. If your business is struggling to bring in enough sales to keep the lights on, time is of the essence. Contact us to discuss how we can help!