Does anyone have any experience bringing in a hire gun/consultant to build a sales team and get things off the ground?
Sales Gun Consultant
If I may offer my perspective as the hired gun sales consultant, I will provide you with some information as to when it has worked and when it has not for us.
Where It Is Working and Has Worked for My Clients
The consultant has direct access to the CEO and only reports to him with a dotted line to any other executive. The company has come to the realization that they have sales problems and they want them fixed. This does not mean the company is not profitable; to the contrary, the company is profitable but realizes they are not reaching their potential from a sales perspective and have been leaving too much money on the table.
You must understand that accountability is a good word and, in most cases, the sales team has not been held accountable. People don’t like change to begin with, much less change that now holds them accountable. Are you, the CEO, willing to accept the collateral damage in the beginning that comes with holding sales people accountable? This may mean losing a longtime employee who has not been holding up his or her end of the sales goals.
The top responsibilities in managing salespeople are:
1. Accountability to the activities, and targets
2. Growing the team
5. Recruiting “A” grade salespeople
Sales growth requires constant focus and cannot be done part-time.
Where It Has Not Worked for My Clients
In my experience, the times when this has not worked is when CEOs are not engaged with the consultant or the consultant signs on to only coach the company. Other times, the executive does not want to rock the boat but still wants change. Status quo and hyper-growth do not mix. Many times, CEOs want to be patient with their team but want high return from the consulting company.
Another situation that, in my experience, does not work is when the executive team wants to tell the consulting team what needs to be done, or what does not need to be done. If this is the case, do not hire the consultant. Just do it yourself. The real problem with going about it this way is that the executive team cannot execute or implement the change necessary to achieve the desired results. This can be due to issues involving time, other responsibilities and/or expertise.
Bottom line: The best consultants help uncover your real sales problems by asking the tough questions. They provide you with the protocol, prescription, or plan to fix them. The great consultants make sure it is implemented and executed. If you do not like their plan, you have the following choices:
1. Get another opinion (like you would with a doctor)
2. Focus and do it yourself (Good luck. How has that worked out for you?)
3. Do nothing and enjoy your current success.
What would you do if you had a major health or legal problem? You would go with the best—the one you feel can deliver the best results.