Sales Consulting for Your Business
Understanding Sales Consulting Services
Alright, I want you to take 10 seconds and think of one skill in your life that you were magically born with. Go.
Did you think of anything?
Odds are, even if you did, you’re not being completely truthful. The only things humans are born knowing how to do are breathe, eat, sleep, and swim (although we lose that last one after a few months). Every single skill you have, down to tying your shoes, had to be taught and then practiced. Even piano prodigies take years before they can grace the stages of Carnegie Hall.
It baffles me, therefore, why so many sales companies think they know it all. According to them, they are the MASTERS of their craft. No one could possibly have anything to teach them. If they’re not making money, it’s the fault of the buyers or the market. It couldn’t possibly be any issue with leadership…
The fact is, succeeding in any business isn’t about ego, it’s all about knowing how to use your resources to your greatest advantage—and your greatest resource is usually a brilliant sales consultant.
What is sales consulting?
Sales consulting is the business of business advising. It focuses on training companies develop new sales strategies in order to facilitate team growth. By understanding everything from market insights to audience trends, sales consulting provides you with an outside eye to pinpoint exactly what you need to build skills and ensure performance improvement.
Think of sales consulting as Olympic-level gymnastics coaching—but for your business. We’re not here to focus on improving individuals or morale; we’re here to push hard and get your team the gold. Our straightforward approach might not make us the darling of the office, but you can bet it makes us the MVP.
Now, if that sounds aggressive…that’s what we do. Sales consulting is largely about coming in and figuring out what isn’t working in your company so that you can buckle up and fix it. From experience, I can tell you that no one (including me) likes being told they’re screwing up. But if you don’t look your sales mistakes dead in the eye, you can’t fix them.
Considering that 86% of sales leadership think coping with change in the industry is more important than ever before, it’s time to get comfortable with facing your royal blunders. (1)
Or, as Michael Porter, creator of the Value Chain says, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” (2)
That’s it. That’s the entire consulting industry in a nutshell. No wonder we still follow our man, Porter, today.
What is a sales consultant?
A sales consultant is your ultimate guide to sales growth. Your coach for critical thinking and business performance. Your guru, if you will. Consultants work with businesses of all shapes and sizes to ensure that sales reps, and even leadership hone performance, increase development, and ultimately Make. More. Money.
Now, sales might not be part of your mission statement (actually, it shouldn’t be), but there’s no ignoring that at the end of the day, if your company isn’t making a profit, it’s sunk. Sales consultant services are here to change that.
Perhaps you need new sales strategies for savvier clients? Or new marketing plans for shifting audiences? Sales consultants can even help you tackle problems at the root by steering you towards stronger recruitment and better performance for a newly empowered sales team.
In fact, there’s really only one thing a sales consultant can’t do for your company: sell your products or services. To be clear, they’re absolutely capable, it’s just not their job. Sales consultants are sales enablers, not salespeople—though any consultant worth their salt will have an impressive sales background to bring to the table. Anyone who doesn’t probably isn’t worth your investment. Just saying.
Sales consultant duties and responsibilities
Michael Zipursky, a consulting expert, once said “As a consultant, your product is your expertise.” (3)
- He’s absolutely right.
- That expertise dictates all duties and responsibilities for sales consultants.
Depending on the company, sales consultants perform all sorts of services, including:
- Developing sales strategies
- Teaching sales techniques
- Organizing ongoing coaching
- Analyzing data
- Reorienting sales leadership
- Guiding hiring practices
- Managing sales operations (temporarily)
However, all of those activities require the application of experience and expertise—the true responsibility of a sales consultant.
A great sales consultant considers it their duty to be the living embodiment of a strategic Google search—an impeccable source of information with the resources to pinpoint crucial data and apply it directly to strategy suggestions and sales training.
Why should you hire a sales consultant?
Okay, let’s level. If your business is in a state where you really need a sales consultant, chances are, you don’t have a ton of extra budget to throw around. That makes perfect sense. If you had all the money in the world, you wouldn’t need help with sales growth.
When you’re down and out, deciding what to spend money on gets tough. You start looking at cutting small things like perks or non-essential office supplies and then you start cutting larger things—like your team. While I’d love to say that cuts are always 100% the way to go in a crisis, it’s not always the case. Cutting the wrong things can actually shoot you in the foot harder than spending a few more dollars.
So, why spend the money on a sales consultant? What on earth makes this extra person worth even one of your precious remaining dollars? Let’s get into it.
Sales performance improvement
Cutting your staff is never going to improve the abilities and performance of the salespeople you keep. If anything, you’ll end up with fewer people trying to hit the same quota on a deadly mix of caffeine, burnout, and fear of job security. Hiring a sales consultant to improve your sales process brings in more money in the long run than you’d save through cuts.
A great sales consultant can:
- Break down your sales pipeline and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Align your sales strategies with your audience expectations and buyer personas.
- Teach your sales team new techniques and relationship-building skills.
- Redefine KPIs and goals to create a more motivating environment for your sales team.
- Assess your inventory and make suggestions for cuts, deals, and promotions based on past purchase data.
- Work with a new company to create a go-to-market strategy.
- Act as a sounding board for new ideas based on consultant feedback.
The fact is, we’re all dealing with a market full of incredible products and services. It’s no longer about just having a great product and expecting people to flock to you—you have to play the sales game. Consulting services drastically improve sales performance by creating expert game players. When your sales team can shift on a dime in the middle of a pitch based on tone or body language, that’s when you’re going to get your win.
Strategic account management
Listen, maybe your sales process and performance is flawless. Maybe your closing rate is astronomical—but you’re still struggling to achieve net growth. The problem isn’t always in the process.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: you close the deal, you drink champagne, you shift to the next influx of leads.
It doesn’t matter how great that champagne tastes, my friend—if you’re ignoring your customers after the transaction goes through, you don’t have anything to celebrate.
No one returns to a company or becomes a loyal client over products alone. No one. Except perhaps Apple customers, but I think we can all agree that Apple is a benevolent cult leader, not a company—and they still provide exceptional customer service. The rest of us plebeians need specific strategic approaches to customer account management or we end up stuck in the endless cycle of churn and generation. The average cost of acquiring a new customer is anywhere between five and 25 times more expensive than just hanging onto an old one. (4) Talk about a place to save money.
A great sales consultant will help ensure you build a reliable retention plan to save money and build rapport, referrals, and general brand credibility. And trust me—that plan is valuable. Because saying “oh they bought it once, they’ll come back” is not a strategy…it’s a wish.
Sales curriculum development
No one’s saying you need to hire a sales consultant forever. If you can, fantastic, but most consultants know they’re probably going to fly in like Mary Poppins, set things right, and whisk away back into the clouds.
However, a sales consultant can (and should) leave you with a long-term plan for continued sales growth.
Sales curriculum development is one of the largest benefits of hiring a sales consultant. The fun, mildly sadistic aspect of the selling industry is that it’s never stagnant. A sales consultant might whip you into top shape for 2023, but then all of those practices might be outdated by 2024. You need a structure to keep up with the market pace.
A great sales consultant will leave you with the skills to plan. That means a killer sales playbook, flexible sales scripts, repeatable sales training programs, updateable product sheets, and accurate buyer personas. Understanding your full sales curriculum will not only allow you to take control of your sales process in the future, it will also allow you to onboard new team members without digging through the dust of your memory to figure out what worked in the past.
Types of sales consulting services
I’ll admit, there should be a consistent job description for sales consultants, but if I’m being honest, the job changes depending on the company. Think of sales consulting as business therapy. Now, there isn’t just one type of therapy out there. You have different therapists and specialists depending on age, demographic, type of illness, income bracket, etc. The overall goal is to help the patient improve, but the process almost never looks the same—and it shouldn’t.
How confusing would it be if you went to get help dealing with general anxiety and your therapist immediately launched you into a program for severe PTSD? You wouldn’t be pleased, that’s for sure.
That’s why you have to make sure you’re hiring the RIGHT consultant, not just a GOOD consultant. What the heck does that mean? Well, here are just seven of many more types of consultants you might run across in your search for the perfect fit:
1. Sales management consultant
Management consulting focuses on working with business managers to improve their leadership and style. A top-down approach, if you will. Unsurprisingly, this is one of the most common types of sales consulting. We’re not out here trying to pretend that the new college intern is responsible for your profit dips. No, sir.
For company leadership that is ready to step up to the plate, this is the consultant for you.
2. Social media sales consultant
Oh god, the bane of every company’s existence. Social media is a necessary evil. Unless you live in a small town where you’re the only source of your product or service, you’re going to need to start making sacrifices at the MetaVerse altar.
Social media sales consultants are here to walk you through the ins and outs of traversing everything from LinkedIn to TikTok while maintaining brand credibility, customer security, and honestly…just plain sanity.
3. Business sales consultant
Business consultants work with small- to mid-sized businesses from a whole-company perspective. Their responsibilities overlap with many other consultants, but these are the experts you want when you need someone who’s ready to dip their fingers into any problem in any department. They’ll even help you tackle the slimy stuff—like your first layoff.
4. Sales and marketing consultant
Sales and marketing consultants (yes, we’re using the whole name because we can’t shorten it to S&M consultants) are all about productivity, audience, and product placement. These soldiers don’t particularly care what you’re selling, but they will make sure you get better at selling it. From relationship and sales tactics to choosing the right CRM, sales and marketing consultants are a great choice for anyone looking to ensure their sales pipeline is in tip top shape.
5. Brand consultants
You might’ve also heard these consultants referred to as the formidable “PR consultants,” but they actually do a lot more than that. Branding isn’t just about public image. Consistent branding affects your entire company from top to bottom, including how you choose to talk to your audiences. Brand consultants might also help you with becoming more sustainable or improving your Value Chain to find that perfect market niche.
6. International sales consultant
For the company with global dreams, international sales consultants are here to help you remember that international business isn’t just about taking meetings on the beach with a mimosa in hand. If you’re looking at expanding overseas, international sales consultants are the perfect people to walk you through global financials, restrictions, trends, and cultures.
7. Home/Direct sales consultant
Home and direct sales consultants are a little rarer these days, but they’re essential if your business works in door-to-door or cold call sales. Many companies consider these tactics to be a dying art and whether or not that’s true, it does mean that fewer businesses are competing for those front-door sales.
However, you have to be a master to succeed. Enter the professors of the traveling salesmen: home sales consultants.
Start solving problems today with an experienced sales consultant
Truth be told, with any investment, the best way to find out what a sales consultant can really do for your company is to call one and ask.
Contact my team today to find out how we can take you and your company to the next level and keep you on an upward trajectory to stardom.
1. The LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/business/sales/blog/trends/the-linkedin-state-of-sales-report-2021
2. Michael Porter, creator of the Value Chain, https://www.bprworld.com/news/the-essence-of-strategy-is-choosing-what-not-to-do/#:~:text=This%20quote%20comes%20from%20Michael,in%20business%20strategy%20development%20today.
3. Michael Zipursky, https://ca.linkedin.com/in/zipursky
4. Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2014/10/the-value-of-keeping-the-right-customers