• Sales consultant: How to choose the right one

    This comprehensive guide looks at the six different types of sales consultant

    and offers tips on how to find the right one.

    Sales consultants take on a number of roles and responsibilities, but their main objective is to increase sales. This might be done in a number of ways, including:

    • Finding and securing new customers

    • Creating long-lasting relationships with clients

    • Training other sales representatives and supporting them on the sales journey

    • Working closely with the marketing department to facilitate lead generation campaigns

    Of course, the roles and responsibilities will vary depending on the type of sales consultant they are and the job they’ve been hired to do. But no matter what, it’s clear to see that sales consultants play an important role in boosting profits and driving the sales team forward.

    This might leave you considering a sales consultant for your own business.

    But if so, how do you know who to choose?

    Well, you’re in luck. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to look at the six different types of sales consultants before offering our top tips on finding the right one for your business.

    What are the different types of sales consultants?

    As we said, if you’re hoping to hire a sales consultant for your business, you need to choose the right one. And knowing the different roles is the best place to start.

    Below, we’ve put together a list of the six most common and popular types of sales consultants. We will take a look at these individually to get a better understanding of what it is that these consultants set out to do. These include:

    1. Outbound sales consultant

    In order to understand the role of an outbound sales consultant, it’s important to understand the differences between inbound and outbound sales. The primary difference being the origin of leads.

    For inbound sales, the lead comes from the potential customer as they reach out to the company to find out more. Often, these leads are generated by the company’s marketing efforts.

    However, outbound leads come from the efforts of sales consultants who actively identify and reach out to potential customers. These individuals may not have directly expressed interest in your goods or services.

    Keeping this in mind, this means an outbound sales consultant is usually hired to contact prospects and to sell products or services as the solution to their biggest pain points.

    This takes a lot of skill as typically, the prospect hasn’t reached out themselves. Therefore these professionals need to be persuasive and have strong communication skills.

    2. SaaS sales consultant

    Before we look at what SaaS sales consultants do, let’s quickly recap on what software as a service (SaaS) is.

    According to Tech Radar SaaS is ‘a cloud-based service where instead of downloading software to your desktop or network, you instead access an application via an internet browser’.

    Therefore, a SaaS sales consultant is concerned with selling web-based software to prospects. But most commonly, they are tasked with up-selling, cross-selling and creating long-lasting relationships with clients.

    They will also be required to work closely with the sales team, teaching them how to understand the customer journey and be more customer-focused.

    3. A mentor for your startup

    Not all sales consultants have to express their role in their job title, and they certainly don’t have to fulfil the traditional role. For example, a mentor for your startup can help to boost your sales in a number of different ways.

    A startup mentor dedicates their time and experience to helping new startup founders to develop their business. In fact, some of the world’s richest people (Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Steve Jobs, etc.) relied on mentors when they were first starting out.

    As such, startup mentors use their experience, knowledge and contacts to offer advice and support. They also help the entrepreneur to:

    Grow their network

    Find funding for their new business

    Set goals

    Stay motivated through difficult times

    Understand how to market their goods or services

    All of these aspects will contribute towards the overall success and sales of the business. But, of course, the startup mentor will also be there to offer advice on making sales, as well as who and where to target the right customers.

    Plus, they can bring credibility to the new business, helping to boost their reputation and, therefore, sales.

    You get the point; you see how this works now.

    4. Startup coach

    Following on from the above, a startup coach is like a business consultant, but they specialise in helping and supporting startups and new business owners.

    Like a mentor, they use their expertise to offer advice and they draw from their own experiences of starting a business, whether this was a success or not.

    Typically, they help to deliver a strategy in several phases; these are growth tactics, contacts for investors, networking and general business support.

    What’s more, the coach will work with new business owners to create a roadmap to achieving their goals. One of the key goals being to increase sales, of course.

    They also work to create and nurture a working environment based on confidence. It is a non-judgemental approach that doesn’t just tell the new business owner what to do but rather listens and asks questions to give them the skills and confidence to do it themselves.

    5. B2B sales coach

    In order to understand the role of a B2B sales coach, there are several aspects that we need to look at.

    Firstly, B2B selling is where one business makes a commercial transaction with another. Not to be confused with B2C selling, where businesses sell their goods or services directly to consumers.

    Secondly, what is sales coaching?

    Well, often, sales managers will hire a SaaS sales coach to help boost and maximise the performance of their sales team. They do this by supporting every sales rep individually to reach their personal targets. They also empower them to positively impact the wider sales efforts.

    Effective sales coaching must be iterative, individualised and inclusive. Typically, sales coaching will focus on skills and techniques rather than just numbers. This helps the sales reps to get good behaviour and tactics in place that will stand them in good stead long into the future. Even after the sales coach has gone.

    So now, if we combine these two things, it’s easy to understand the role of a B2B sales coach. They provide support to sales reps for selling goods or services to other businesses. They work with them individually on aspects such as time management, building client relationships and perfecting their product pitches.

    By working with each member individually, they can have a huge impact on the team and sales figures as a whole.

    6. B2B SaaS sales consultant

    As we mentioned earlier, there is a very distinct difference between B2B and B2C selling. And this is particularly true when it comes to software as a service (SaaS).

    One of the key differences, other than the target audience, is that B2B selling tends to deal with either professional buyers or high-level executives. As such, it often commands a higher level of professionalism and negotiation.

    Particularly because these people are used to making deals and getting the best possible price from service providers.

    Not only this, but it also means that B2B SaaS sales consultants need to be more adept at dealing with gatekeepers such as receptionists and assistants, so they can get past them and get to the real targets, CEOs, executives, etc.

    The role often focuses not only on securing new clients but also on retaining or upselling to current customers.

    Tips for choosing the right one

    Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of sales consultants, mentors and coaches that are out there, you can begin to find the right one for your business.

    But to make this even simpler for you, we’ve also pulled together some of our top tips. In this next section, we’ll guide you through how you can find the right sales consultant to help drive your business forward this year.

    Our top tips include:

    Considering the type of business you have

    First and foremost, one of the simplest and most effective ways to determine the type of sales consultant you need is to think about the type of business you have. This should be fairly self-explanatory.

    For example, are you a B2B business? Do you provide SaaS? Are you a new startup? Are you looking for a coach for your existing sales team?

    Ask yourself these questions, and you can begin to narrow down your selection from:

    • Outbound sales consultant

    • SaaS sales consultant

    • Startup mentor

    • Startup coach

    • B2B sales coach

    • B2B SaaS sales consultant

    Finding a consultant with the experience to back it up

    Depending on the nature of your business, you want a sales consultant with experience in either your goods, services or industry. This is important to know that they can quickly get to grips with your offering, but also that they have a good understanding of the market.

    For example, it’s no good hiring a startup coach if they’ve never started or run their own business. Similarly, if you’re a B2B business, you want a sales consultant with a proven track record in other B2B organisations.

    So before you jump in, it’s important to find someone with relevant experience who can get stuck in straight away.

    Looking for someone with a strong track record

    Now you’ve begun narrowing down your selection; there are several other key aspects you need to keep in mind. When looking for the right sales consultant, you need to look out for someone with a proven track record.

    This means doing some research and looking for consultants with great online reviews or those who have shared testimonials on their website.

    This can help you to determine if this particular sales consultant is going to be able to help you achieve your goals or not. If you find someone and they aren’t able to produce any reviews or testimonials, this should be a big red flag.

    Asking questions to ensure the consultant will offer a tailored service

    As with many things in life, when it comes to business, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t often work. As such, you want to find a consultant who is able to tailor their services specifically for your business and/or team.

    It is not enough for them to come in, spout tired old strategies or bark orders at your sales reps and hope to see results. Instead, you need someone that will really get to grips with your product or service. This way, they can offer tailored support and advice to get the most from you and your team.

    So when you begin doing your research and speaking to consultants, be sure to ask them lots of questions. This will give you a good indication of whether they know what they are talking about and whether they are going to be able to offer a fresh perspective and tailored service for your business.

    Are you ready to find your sales consultant?

    It’s worth noting that these are not the only things to consider when choosing a sales consultant. However, these are certainly some of the most important things to look out for.

    By keeping these in mind when you’re doing your research and shopping around, you’ll be able to find the sales consultant that is best going to support your business.

    It’s also important that you determine what type of sales consultant will suit your business. You can do this based on the six most common types we’ve outlined above.

    But whatever you do, don’t rush this decision. This could potentially be quite a big investment for your company. Although, in the case of a mentor, you might get their services for free.

    As such, you need to put careful thought and research into finding the right person. Do this, and they can help to drive your business forward and achieve your goals.