When sales lag, profits are down, and past success isn’t likely to be replicated with current sales methods and personnel, it begs the question: Do you need a sales consultant, or do you need a hands-on sales builder? The answer depends on where your organization is today and where you want it to go. To help you get there, here’s how to determine if you should hire a sales consultant or a sales builder:
Recognizing When Change is Necessary
For many owners of small and medium-sized businesses, there is a creeping awareness that change is necessary because what once worked will no longer propel the company forward. For others, there will be 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. – which signals the need for change.
In any situation, the longer you ignore issues like these and wait to change course, the harder it will be to miss that iceberg! So, once you decide that change is necessary, questions remain:
- Can you steer the ship in a new direction with your current management team?
- Do you need the help of a sales consultant who will advise on new strategies?
- Or do you need a “sales builder” who will become actively involved at both the strategic and tactical levels to improve sales performance?
To make that decision, consider several factors:
Personal and Organizational Goals
As the leader of the organization, what are your personal goals? Do you plan to retire soon? If so, do you plan to sell the business or pass it on to family members or organizational stakeholders?
Or do you plan to remain the owner, but take a less active role in day-to-day operations? Or maybe stay involved full time, but find a new resource to more actively manage the sales function?
Sales Team Characteristics Moving Forward
Next, take a hard look at your sales team by answering these questions:
- Do you have the right people in the right jobs?
- 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, do you have time to step in and take charge? If so, do youhave the skills and dedication needed to lead the team?
Changes in the Marketplace
Marketplace changes can also determine if you need a sales consultant or a sales builder. Answer these questions:
- Have you recently lost a large client who 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, competitive organization?
Answering these questions is essential in determining if your company can respond to short-term challenges and thrive in the longer term. Your answers should give you 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 sales builder comes down to analyzing two “buckets”:
Your wisdom/competency bucket holds the ability of your current sales leadership and sales personnel to handle future growth. And your time/commitment bucket holds the time available to manage and lead the sales effort, along with your level of enjoyment or interest in directing necessary tasks.
Simply put, if either (or both) of these buckets is more empty than full or seems to be full of holes – a situation we observe with most smaller businesses – you probably need the help of a sales builder to empower future success. If you are in the minority of smaller business owners whose buckets are more full than empty, you might make do using a sales consultant who can infuse your organization with new strategic ideas your current staff can then deploy.
In either case, the licensed Advisors from Sales Xceleration can help. As experienced sales consultants, our Advisors can introduce proven sales plans and strategies to get your business back on track. And when they serve as outsourced VPs of Sales, they can serve as pathfinders and take a more hands-on approach to deploying sales improvement solutions. To learn more, click here to find your nearest Sales Xceleration Advisor, or contact us at 844.874.7253.