When sales lag, profits are down and past success isn’t likely to be replicated with your current sales methods and personnel, it begs the question: Do you need a sales consultant or a hands-on sales builder?
The answer depends on where your organization is today and where it wants to go in the future. Here are some factors to consider when determining if you need to hire a sales consultant or a sales builder.
Recognizing When Change Is Necessary
For many owners of small- to medium-sized businesses, there is a creeping awareness that change is necessary because what worked in years past will surely no longer carry the company forward. For others, a triggering event – the loss of a large customer account, the loss of your top salesperson, difficulty leading because you are “wearing too many hats,” etc. – will signal the need for change.
In any event, the longer you ignore issues like these and wait to change course, the harder it will be to miss that iceberg. Once you decide that change is necessary, the question remains whether you can steer the ship in a new direction yourself (along with your current management team), need the help of a sales consultant who will advise on new strategies or require a “sales builder” who will become actively involved at both the strategic and tactical levels to improve sales performance.
That decision will require analyzing several factors:
Personal And Organizational Goals
As the leader of the organization, what are your personal goals? Do you plan to retire in the near term? If so, do you plan to sell the business or pass it on to family members or organizational stakeholders?
Do you plan to remain the owner but take a less active role in the day-to-day operations? Or do you plan to stay involved full time but find a new resource to more actively manage the sales function?
Sales Team Characteristics Moving Forward
Take a hard look at your sales team. Do you have the right people in the right jobs currently? Can you promote a top salesperson to sales manager? (Or would that not be a good skills match?)
Do you have enough people to cover products and territories and handle a renewed focus on bottom-line sales results? If you’ve lost your sales manager or your top salesperson, can you spare the time to step in and take charge? If so, do you have the skills and dedication needed to lead the team at this point in your company’s history? (Can you afford to step away from other commitments to take on this critical role?)
Changes In The Marketplace
Have you recently lost a large client that will be difficult or impossible to replace in your current industry environment? Or have you seen a slow but steady erosion of market share? Even if market share hasn’t yet suffered, do you anticipate that loss due to technological advancements or aggressive marketing by competitors? Have some of your competitors recently merged to create a larger, yet more nimble and competitive organization?
All of the above are essential questions in determining the likelihood that your company can respond to short-term challenges and thrive in the longer term. As you answer these questions (and more like them), you will begin to get a sense of how great your need for change is, and how well-equipped your company is to handle that change.
When all is said and done, knowing whether to bring in a sales consultant or a sales builder will probably come down to analyzing two “buckets:”
- The wisdom/competency bucket is filled (to some level) with the ability of your current sales leadership and sales personnel to handle future growth
- The time/commitment bucket is filled with the time available to manage and lead the sales effort, along with the level of enjoyment or interest you have in dedicating necessary time to the tasks at hand
Simply put, if these buckets are more empty than full, or seem to be full of holes, you probably need the help of a sales builder to put your sales effort on track for future success. This is the case for most small- to medium-sized businesses.
If your buckets are more full than empty, you might be able to make do with the services of a sales consultant who can infuse your organization with new strategic ideas and energy that your current staff can deploy moving forward.
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.