8 Sales Problems a Consultant can Solve
From the keyboard of Doug Cowan | August, 2013.
The use of consultants to solve business problems is a well established practice and is becoming more commonplace, even for small companies. Among other benefits, a consultant can:
1. Diagnose, recommend and solve intractable business problems that a company’s internal resources don’t have the time, expertise or experience to handle.
2. Present innovative and creative ideas by being outside of a company’s political or cultural influence.
3. Provide access to highly specialized and focused knowledge and talent that is too expensive to have available on a full-time basis.
When should you hire a Sales Consultant?
Here are eight situations where hiring a consultant may be a justified course of action:
1. Sales are falling and you don’t understand why.
A prolonged loss of sales with no apparent reasons, or in the face of good indicators (markets are the same, sales staff are working hard, there are no major product deficiencies, no new competition is obvious) needs action to determine cause and plan a clear course of action.
2. You or other senior management are too involved in day-to-day sales activities and you want to reduce this time involvement.
Perhaps you or your partners started your company, or you joined the organization when it was small. You may have been the sole, or a major generator of sales during those early days. Now your company has grown and you need to create an independent sales function, but aren’t sure how to proceed.
3. Conversely, your sales function opposes your efforts to understand its inner workings.
Sales can be quite mysterious for executives with no sales background. If you sense you need more understanding and control of how sales works in your company, the steps to get there are not obvious or easy to perform.
4. Your current method of generating sales for the business has become too risky.
If you find that you are relying on a limited number of large accounts to generate the bulk of revenue, or a small group of reps to bring in most of the sales, or you are using heavy discounting to close sales, these could be precarious tactics. You need a detailed plan to get back to a more balanced business generation approach.
5. Your ‘sales productivity’ is not growing and/or is below your competitors or industry average.
This sales stat can be a key leading indicator of the medium- to long-term sales success of your business. You cannot survive in a market where you trail how your competition is performing.
6. Expenditures on productivity tools like CRM software and Sales Force Automation have not produced the benefits and results expected.
Suppliers of these tools have toned down the initial hype that accompanied their introduction. None-the-less, companies that are not well prepared to launch these expensive solutions can be disappointed with the sales results they get.
7. You are unsure what sales training investments to make that will generate maximum benefit and return for the company, and be embraced by the sales force.
Your past sales training efforts may have produced mixed results and have not been fully embraced by individual reps or managers.
8. You want to increase your sales performance towards world-class standards but don’t know how or where to begin.
You feel your sales team is capable of producing much better results but the leadership to do so is not present.
These sales problems and others, can be solved by consultants who have worked with other companies to deal with similar problems. Use their experience and expertise to solve yours.