Hiring a sales consulting firm is a big decision for any company in any industry. It can be difficult to bring in an outside opinion when you already understand your business so well.
Some entrepreneurs are hesitant to delve into the details of their sales strategies or are wary of accepting constructive feedback. However, if your company is struggling with sales staff turnover, low profits, or sales department disorganization, a consultancy may be your best bet for a sales revolution.
Often, overcoming a decline or plateau in sales requires a little extra assistance. Even companies that achieve results may not be reaching their full potential, thus remaining stagnant. A new perspectives that an outside expert can bring are really valuable in many cases.
In this article, we will discuss the right time to hire a sales consulting firm, how to correctly choose a company in this niche, and how to make the best use of this investment.
What is a Sales Consulting Firm?
The types of sales consulting firms that exist can vary from company to company and there is no single strategy that works for all scenarios. A sales consultancy may include:
- Training of salespeople for better adoption of technologies and improvement of results
- Creating and evolving mutually beneficial customer relationships
- Temporary management of a sales team and hiring of additional professionals
- Meetings with potential customers and follow-up to closing
- Creating processes designed to increase the conversion of leads into sales
- Lead generation for your market
- Evaluation of marketing actions to help qualify and generate leads
- and more.
When to Hire a Sales Consulting Firm?
Hiring a Sales Consulting Firm means committing to an investment of time and money.
If you hire at the right time, your investment can generate a significant return to your company's revenue, reputation and long-term growth.
So understanding when is a good time to hire a consulting firm is essential. Consider the following reasons as indications that your team needs extra strength in sales operations:
1. There have been changes in your market
Is your company suddenly struggling to keep up with competitors? Have you lost important customers to other solutions or businesses? Marketplace changes could be part of the problem. After working in an industry for years, it can be easy to lose touch or get stuck on a path as the competition changes direction.
A business consultancy can help provide a deeper insight into the current landscape of your industry and the tactics your competitors are using to close deals. Consultants can not only present solutions, but also show you how to implement changes quickly and efficiently, helping to modernize and evolve your business model.
2. Your sales process is undefined
To be successful, your entire sales department needs to be moving in the same direction. An effective sales process helps you map your customers' buying journey and gives your salespeople clarity on how to sell at different stages of the Sales Funnel.
Therefore, your sales process must be clear and defined. Your team should know what to do and when to do it based on buyer-driven data and accurate reporting. Sales consultants help build and define these processes. They can help implement the tools and KPIs that every salesperson will adopt so they can spend their time actually selling and generating returns for the company.
3. You have a high employee turnover
Bad hires cost time, money, and productivity. If your employees are leaving the company or if you have a hard time keeping the sales team working at your company for more than a year, that's a sign that your sales culture needs an overhaul. A high-performing sales team must include salespeople who are engaged with your business and with speeches appropriate for your market.
A professional sales consultant can help pinpoint data and details behind your hiring process and give you an idea of why your salespeople are leaving. They've seen it all with their many clients and know how to get hiring and compensation practices back on track.
4. Your sales department lacks revenue predictability
If you're always in a rush to secure a sale on the last day of every quarter, it's time to rethink how you forecast your sales funnel. Managing the sales forecast is a frustrating part of every sales manager's job, but it's vital to understanding how your team is performing.
You need consistent processes that can be repeated and the lines of communication need to be wide open between the sales team and the manager. Sales consultants help create a framework that defines expectations and qualified leadership criteria, while guiding and directing managers how to forecast efficiently and accurately.
5. Special skills are required
Another common reason companies hire a Sales Consulting Firm is the need to gain access to a specialized skill set that may not exist in-house.
By hiring a consulting firm, you will have access to a group of professionals with skills that can range from creating processes to structuring a business data sector, for example. These highly skilled people would not only be expensive to hire in-house, but the company might not have enough work to keep these employees busy year-round. But thanks to consultants, companies can bring this skill set on demand, when needed.
6. You need to implement tools (such as a CRM - Customer Relationship Management)
The implementation of sales tools must guarantee the centralization of all the important information of your sales, marketing and after-sales teams.
This may include information from spreadsheets or other technology (or a combination of all of these). Therefore, you need to make sure that this data is safe and recoverable, even if something goes wrong during the import phase into the new tools.
Therefore, the process of implementing new technologies may not be as simple as logging in. And for that you will need good professionals who know how to correctly set up these platforms from the beginning and make it work in your favor.
In addition, this needs to be done quickly, with a simplification of the backup and migration of existing data, including data-driven training of the team, and that is not an investment imbalance for your budget.
That said, several sales consulting companies include this service, making this process much simpler and faster than it could otherwise be.
7. When there is a growth in the sales team
Expansion can be exciting, but it can also create more task complexity for leaders. Expert advice helps ensure that you leave nothing to chance and that your sales processes are aligned to support and continue the growth leap.
8. When goals are not met
This reason is pretty obvious. No sales, no business. A sales plan can make or break a business, making expert advice incredibly valuable.
So, if you've been noticing significant changes in the business, such as: sales decreasing, investors withdrawing, or large customers churn, it's time to start the conversation about hiring a sales consulting firm. The experience and skills that this type of business presents will help you create innovative strategies to revive your company.
9. When you are looking for a more organized and more defined business process
Building a fully functioning sales organization is a complex task. It involves training, hiring tools, monitoring KPIs and goals, hiring people, managing salespeople, presenting results to C-levels, aligning with the marketing team, evolving processes and much more. The experience and guidance that a quality sales consulting firm provides can help you reduce this complexity, ensuring that all parties involved understand what needs to be done, and creating a smoother process.
10. When you need to generate more leads
Even if you have an excellent sales team, your staff is only as good as the leads they receive.
The sales department and the marketing department cannot operate independently of each other. If there is a disconnect between these two sectors, the quality of your leads will suffer.
A sales consultancy will evaluate your lead generation process (Inbound and Outbound). When doing this ICP definition job, each lead will need to meet certain criteria before a salesperson can present their products or services.
Ultimately, this will improve the performance of your sales team.
11. When you need to increase conversion rates
Related to our last item, as you get more qualified leads, your conversion rates are also more likely to increase.
But better leads aren't the only way to drive more conversions.
Every salesperson has certain tips and tricks they use to close a sale. Some of them are more successful than others.
As we said before, a sales consultant has worked with many different companies over the course of their career, and side by side with hundreds or even thousands of salespeople.
This way, he will know which sales methods really work for your market. They will be able to pass on this insightful information and provide feedback to your team for a constant evolution of sales pitches.
12. When there is a requirement from investors
Investors often see that a change in sales approach at the companies they are supporting is necessary. Since they already have market experience, they may point out that your sales team is underperforming and that drastic improvements will follow after a team transformation. In such a scenario, sales leaders must be ready to have these frank conversations about their teams, pointing out where they are succeeding and where improvements can be made. An experienced consultant can help with this assessment.
What to Consider When Hiring a Sales Consulting Firm
Each sales consulting firm has its own methodology, its own philosophy and its own portfolio of clients who may or may not have seen an improvement as a result of this partnership.
When evaluating options, ask the following questions:
What is the company's approach? How do they evaluate existing processes? How do they identify solutions? What do they do to ensure solutions have long-term benefits?
What sets this company apart from their competitors? Is there something about their philosophy that makes them look like potential partners to your sales team? What benefits do they offer that you can't find elsewhere?
What is the value in the growth they promise? How does that compare to the cost of partnering with this company?
Do they have case studies? Do they have a track record of success? Have they worked with companies in your industry in the past?
Will the partnership result in additional investments, such as hiring new systems or hiring more people? If so, do you have the resources for these investments?
The more your partner understands your team and shares your vision, the greater the chances of success.
Hiring a New Employee X Hiring a Sales Consulting Firm
Many professionals wonder why a company shouldn't just hire a new employee in-house instead of working with an outside sales consultancy.
In addition to all the benefits we've covered in this article, a sales consultancy is actually more cost-effective than a full-time in-house employee.
For a new hire, you will have to pay for training and ramping time, in addition to the payroll and tax expenses associated with having an employee.
You won't incur any of these costs with a sales consultancy.
In addition, the work of a consultancy is often adaptable based on your needs. Depending on your current scenario, you may not need more than 30 hours per week of sales consulting services. Other times, you may need more than 50 hours a week.
You may also want to work with a sales consultant for specific projects (such as implementing a tool and training for better usability).
As such, the flexibility you often get with a consulting firm cannot be replicated by hiring an in-house employee.
Transform your company's sales processes
Do you want to sell more and better? This includes having the right strategies, adapting your business to new market actions (which are constantly changing), focusing on the ideal buyer persona, correctly measuring KPIs, training the team and making smart investments in structuring the sales sector.
Believing that things will get better without a real jolt in the process is a game of luck and chance, and working with chance is certainly not the best strategy. And, of course, forcing the sales team to generate more results is not the most interesting option. This may have worked (badly) with Gen X sales teams or Baby Boomers, but we're in the 21st century and you have to adapt or your company could experience a painful decline.
If, after gathering all this information, you come to the conclusion that your company needs innovative methodologies, new processes and efficient technologies to optimize sales, then this is probably the best time to take this important step.
Here at Insight Sales we offer a wide range of consulting services. So let us know more about your company and we will discuss your needs during a first diagnosis.