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Sales consulting involves individuals or firms that work with organizations to optimize and excute a variety of different sales strategies. Strategies include assessing people, processes and strategies and identifying a company’s competitive strengths and threats. Sales consultants often look at a business’s history to identify performance gaps and areas of potential growth. This guide will provide business owners or sales managers with more information on the benefits and pitfalls of hiring a sales consultant. Hiring a sales consultant can have a huge imapact on both new and established businesses that need help identifying sales problems or increasing sales.
Meeting Market Challenges
In an increasingly competitive business environment, sales consulting firms can offer professional advice to meet market challenges successfully. A recent Dun & Bradstreet Business Expectations Survey showed that an increasing number of businesses expect sales to weaken, and the same downward trends are forecast for employment and capital investment. 53 percent of firms anticipate declining sales, with 60 percent having similar profit expectations.
In this gloomy market scenario, most businesses can benefit from the advice of sales consultants to revise their sales strategies and ramp up their marketing operations. Marketing and brand consultancy is useful for businesses of all sizes, ranging from large multinational corporations to a small businesses operating in a single geographical market.
Strong Brand Positioning and Brand Identity
Businesses that cater directly to consumers with their branded consumer durable and nondurable products and services need a strong brand identity and positioning. However, in a crowded marketplace where many brands are offering similar products and services, it can be very difficult to create a strong identity and brand recognition for a business.
Sales consultants can provide useful advice on improving the creative branding and promotion strategies for the company’s products and services. Both retailers and manufacturers dealing in consumable goods can benefit substantially by achieving a clearer brand identity and positioning in the marketplace.
Introduction of Innovative Marketing Tools
Most businesses are slow to adopt new marketing tools and techniques, and continue to press forward with the traditional forms of selling and advertising. Sales consultants can encourage the company to adopt cutting-edge sales technologies and tools to sharpen its sales approach. Online selling and promotion, social media marketing, and the latest customer service software products can refine the company’s sales campaign to achieve better results.
Insights about Competitor Behavior
Sales and marketing consultants work for multiple clients and understand the changing pulse of the market. They are usually aware of the latest marketing strategies and tactics being employed by industry competitors. They can provide insightful information and tips to the company to successfully counter the sales strategies of competitors. All types of businesses dealing in consumer products and services can benefit from such valuable insights to improve their marketing strategies and compete strongly in the marketplace.
Before you make the decision about sales consulting, consider the following issues that might cause difficulties in the process.
It is easy for the head of a company to see the overall benefit of bringing on a sales consultant to optimize sales strategies and assess people and processes. However, it is not as easy for those being assessed. Before hiring a sales consultant, make sure that your present staff understand the consultant’s purpose, and reassure them that the consultant is not there to undermine the sales staff. You don’t want employees suffering under the perception that the consultant’s purpose is to remove an underperforming worker.
Employed or Independent?
Another critical decision is whether the sales consultant will be employed or independent. Some companies employ a sales consultant, requiring salary, commission, benefits, etc. Others hire an independent consultant for a specific task or period of time. At issue here is whether you perceive your company as having ongoing needs or just needing a slight readjustment from someone with a fresh perspective.
Make sure that you are clear with both your sales consultant and the rest of your employees as to why the consultant is at your company. Some consultants are brought on to perform an overall assessment and make recommendations, while others are hired to oversee day-to-day operations. The size and needs of your company will help determine what you need a consultant to accomplish. The critical point here is that the consultant understands the purpose and length of time he or she is expected to assist the company.
If you are bring a sales consultant on staff rather than hiring an independent consultant, this is less of an issue. However, if you do hire an independent, make sure that the expected time commitment and compensation is clear at the beginning of the process. As with any contract, this helps avoid misunderstandings and negative feelings later.
Sales consulting businesses and individuals work to increase a company’s sales and profits made from their products and services. As many as 46 percent of businesses do not have their own website; according to The Kelsey Group, 31 percent of people prefer to research a product or service on the Internet before investing any time or money. Having a sales consultant can help these types of businesses understand various options to use when marketing.
The way fees are set up depends on the individual (if self-employed) or the company, along with the services that either offers. Most individual consultants calculate the amount of money they would make if they worked with a company and multiply that amount by three to get their hourly wage. Other ways sales consultants charge for their services include fees by the day, fees per project and fees for services. Depending on the level of consulting that is needed, these fees can range from $200 to $900 for a single session.
Using sales consultants is a great way for companies to meet marketing challenges or competitive sales goals, especially when internal initiatives have underperformed. Sales consultants are also educated on how to introduce companies to innovative marketing tactics. Having a sales consultant can also help a company build a strong brand identity and positioning, along with finding new ways to increase customer loyalty. One of the biggest pitfalls of hiring a consultant is that existing employees can see the consultant as a threat. Other negative issues include having to pay for the consultant and ensuring that proper contracts are worked out to define the consultant's services.
Every business needs to employ quality sales consultants to keep the company moving forward. Sales consultants are usually the first people clients meet, whether it is online or in a physical store. Professional sales consultants must take their jobs seriously. It is their expertise that determines whether potential clients will become paying customers.
Using online sources to find and hire sales consultants is a growing trend. Business.com provides a network to agencies that specialize in lining up quality sales consultants with the type of business that is best suited to their skills.
It can be a time-consuming process to interview sale consultants through classified ads or window signs. Attract professional sales consultants by inquiring with reputable online agencies that specialize in aligning sales consultants with compatible business. It is a waste of time to interview a sales consultant who is experienced with office paper sales when what is needed is someone who knows about selling vehicles. Online hiring agencies eliminate the hassle of going through lengthy interviews that amount to nothing. Credentials are viewed online and only those qualified will be presented to the employer.
Business.com is the place to make connections with professional sales consultants who will keep your business running smoothly.
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