A lot of the time, terms like consulting are thrown around very frequently. From the side, it can seem very abstract, having no clear definition of what the person does. Does he or she just come and say things from general knowledge, do they dive deep into your company data and make suggestions, are they efficient, and is it worth hiring a sales consultant? All of these questions are troubling enterprises all over the globe. This is why we decided to give you a short rundown of what a sales consultant is and how, if at all, they can benefit your business!
Sales consultant - what do they do?
Good consultants are experienced specialists with in-depth knowledge of particular subjects as well as a versatile skill set for adapting their knowledge for the gains of their clients. Pretty much every person can consult on one or another topic, but in business, the key defining characteristic of good consulting is an efficient outcome.
A sales consultant can bring insights and suggestions:
- To boost sales
- To reduce spending
- To improve any key metric
- To boost the morale of your sales staff
They can also bring any other measurable benefit to your company - and that's a victory. Thus, there’s a huge gap between people who just consult and great sales consultants.
The latter can charge hundreds of dollars per hour (the same as the best lawyers) because their know-how and track record clearly indicate that they are the right person to help take your organization to the next level or get you out of a slump. But, most extraordinary consultants are usually very busy, meaning that you have to compete for their time or pay top dollar (or sometimes even both).
How do sales consultants work?
A consultant usually has a method or common practice which they follow. Each person is very different in the way they conduct business. Still, the goal of a sales consultant is usually to look at the way your sales office or teams are doing and look at ways to optimize specific processes, implement new KPIs to measure performance, and find nuances, usually not in plain sight, that can vastly improve sales.
Most of the time, when contacting a sales consultant, upon agreeing to hire them, you will be sent a questionnaire, or a representative from your organization will meet and talk with the consultant. They need to know your goals, aims, and what to look for during their visit. After setting out goals, the consultant arrives in your office to look at how things work. There could be interviews with your staff, a necessity for them to look at historical sales data, etc. Don’t worry; you can sign a standard-issue NDA for the sake of protecting your intellectual property, if necessary.
But every time, the process is very different, and every sales consultant can go about their business quite differently. However, they all will want to see how your company operates and how your sales division does its job at the end of the day. They are striving to find bottlenecks and areas for improvement.
What benefits can the sales consultant bring to the company?
In general, the sales consultant works to find solutions to problems that are bothering the company. That’s why they’re hired in the first place. So, for example, an organization has a goal set out by the board and is striving to improve their return on sales by 15% or reduce churn rates by at least 20% by the end of the quarter. But, in-house staff has no idea how these figures can be achieved, or they lack concrete solutions to problems. Instead of lowering the bar, hire a sales consultant. Tell them that you want to achieve this and that, as well as introducing them to the current obstacles and problems.
A sales consultant will then adapt their knowledge and show their findings to the right people after the whole entire monitoring period.
So, to talk about concrete benefits, you have to begin with clear-cut pathways to overcoming whatever may be troubling you. Let’s say that you were struggling because customer satisfaction was down, and sales reps couldn’t upsell your service. After a thorough analysis, the consultant may determine that you need to redesign your website to offer a more user-friendly interface, restructure your pricing plans for more efficient upsells, etc.
They could also suggest re-doing your sales approach from the ground up.
Biggest mistakes when hiring a sales consultant
With the numerous benefits seemingly in front of you comes the risk of hiring the consultant for all the wrong reasons. Not everyone needs sales consultants, and definitely, not all businesses can afford to hire one. Here are a few big mistakes that companies and organizations make when looking to hire a sales consultant:
- Hiring the person who charges the most just because you can afford that – specialization in your niche and recommendations from peers or other businesses are more important than blind spending.
- Hiring without a clear goal in mind – sales consultants are most efficient when they know which areas to focus on.
- Hiring without allocated resources for implementing solutions – if their recommendations remain theoretical and aren’t materialized because you weren’t prepared to spend, you just wasted money.
- Hiring when more important issues are pressuring you – a sales consultation is always a luxury and should never be lined up before more pressing issues.
In conclusion, we can say that a sales consultant is a person whose job is to find solutions to the sales-related problems of their clients. They come into the company, look at how things are going, and use the data to find issues. After that, they give recommendations and help overcome obstacles in the most direct way possible.