What a Sales Consultant Should Do, Part 2
In our last post we talked about sales consultants and walked you through some of the things a sales consultant should do to help your organization clarify its sales goals and work out a plan to reach them. We told you about the preliminary steps your sales consultant would help you take--things like defining your sales objectives and value proposition. Beyond that, he or she can also help you develop a sales team deployment plan and sales flow.
However, even after your sales consultant has helped you put in place a secure foundation for your sales initiative, there's a lot of work left to do to build and manage a successful sales team. This post will take you through the crucial next steps of what a sales consultant should do to facilitate your success in hiring and managing your sales executives.
Supporting and Managing Your Sales Function
Once you have developed the underpinnings of your sales program, your sales consultant can assist you in coming up with a support system for your sales team, as well as a way to continuously manage reporting and ensure accountability.
Do you already have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution in place? A sales consultant can help you determine what type of CRM tool your company needs, and how to employ it most effectively. In addition, he or she should assist you in setting up sales funnel reports and performing ongoing industry and market research to ensure that you are going after the most promising sales targets.
Some sales consultants are equipped to stand in as an integral member of your senior management team, directly managing your sales teams. In this case, your consultant should collaborate regularly with you on program issues, as well as providing you with customized sales reports keeping you appraised of the sales program status.
Besides the initial creation of a training manual and sales training process, your sales team will likely require periodic updates to sales support materials, as well as additional sales collateral to support new initiatives or products. Many sales consultants have the expertise to help you create sales collateral--be sure to ask if this is something you anticipate needing.
Recruiting and Hiring Sales Personnel
With the conceptual framework laid and your management strategy in place, you are ready to start acquiring sales executives. You can choose to recruit internally, but many sales consultancy firms also offer a sales recruiting service, and some can even handle the day-to-day training and management of your sales team.
Whether you turn recruiting over to your consultant or handle it internally, you should expect for it to be an ongoing process. Significant sales executive turnover is a fact of life, and most successful sales departments recruit constantly and maintain a 30% "bench" of qualified prospective employees who can be hired on when needed.
When it comes to hiring, your sales consultant can run through your options and help you choose the hiring model that will work best for your company. The two main sales executive designations are W-2 employees or 1099 contractors.
The W-2 model carries more substantial upfront costs, including more complex hiring paperwork, benefits, and usually a base salary. However, it also maximizes your control over the representation of your brand, and ensures that your sales executives are exclusively dedicated to your program.
If you choose to utilize a 1099 independent contractor model, your costs will be more heavily weighted to commissions. You will trade control and dedication for the flexibility of contractor sales executives, who also spend time selling for other companies.
Both hiring designations have their advantages and disadvantages, and your sales consultant will help you consider your product, industry, sales model, and overall objectives and make the best choice for your company.
However much of your sales process you decide to delegate to your sales consultant, he or she will be an invaluable resource as you develop, implement and manage your sales initiative.