Selecting the right sales consultants for your next training program can be a daunting process.
Of course you want to pick sales consultants with a good training program, good chemistry, and good references—but as you go about checking them out, make sure you include these often overlooked considerations.
Hiring Sales Consultants
Will They Hold Us Accountable?
A good partner isn’t afraid of holding you to the standards you want. I’d be suspect of a sales training partner that tells you what you want to hear. Don’t look for sales consultants that are people-pleasers.
- Agree on Key Performance Indicators
- Use 3 or 4 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that your sales growth partner aligns with so they can drive their efforts to moving them in the right direction.
- Use a scorecard to measure them monthly. When we work with a company, we measure the managers. Measurements are based on their ability to drive the KPIs through their direct reports.
- Discuss them quarterly
- Review the KPIs with senior management and your sales consultants to determine if the training models are working. Look for gaps in performance and decide what is going to be done about them and by whom.
- Check in weekly
- Don’t wait for a month to go by to discover that things are trending in the wrong direction. Frequent but short check-ins, say for 30 minutes, with your core team and your training partner allows you to start heading of potential problems. Make sure your partner buys into this level of involvement before engaging them
Hold Up Your End of the Bargain
Remember, this is a partnership. Don’t hire sales consultants who do all the work, only to find out that you are dead in the water when they leave.
From the get go, assemble a team. Yes, a team! Not one individual who is driving the program from inside your company.
This team will take it over when your training partner leaves, so you should find out if the sales consultants you are working with have leadership training programs to empower them to do this effectively.
Make this team represent the entire company. Sales is not an island. The way the rest of the organization works with sales is critical.
Marketing gets leads and collateral for the sellers to use, sellers get on the ground with market intelligence to the marketing team.
Operations delivers on what was sold.
Finance helps set compensation plans and pricing.
Management mentors and leads the sellers to stay focused and do the best job they can.
This team is responsible for making sure all the training and development continues to be adopted in the company. They should work hand-in-hand with your sales consultants during the engagement and then continue after the partner has left.
A good sales training partner has knowledge outside of sales and can help guide your internal sales growth team to work on strategic as well as tactical initiatives.
Trust is Key
Trust your training partner.
Be open to allowing them into your intimate meetings and gatherings. Their objective outside world experience can give you fresh, unbiased input on key decisions you make to grow your business.
Lastly, make sure you’re not nickel and dimed.
Trade off—sometimes they’ll work within scope and frankly, there will be times they will go out of scope to do whatever it takes to make an impact, such as conducting more coaching or working with individual sellers or managers.
Obviously if scope gets out of control, it’s time to reassess the terms of your contract. But ask what their level of flexibility is in dealing with ever changing business conditions, especially if they are on a long-term contract with you.
Most important of all, ask your partner to explain how all the training and whatever else they deliver translates to moving the needle upward for increased sales.