Hiring a Sales Consultant: How to Find and Hire the Right Person

For your sales organization to succeed, you need a repeatable, predictable sales process. This is the only way to increase revenue and grow your business.

So, how do you get to this point?

Hiring a sales consultant is the fastest way for many companies to ramp up their team, build a structured sales process, and turn their reps into high-performing sales masters.

Are you thinking of hiring a sales consultant? Here’s what you need to know:

  • What does a sales consultant do?
  • 5 key steps to take before you start looking
  • How to hire a sales consultant: 3 places to find the right consultant
  • 5 steps to evaluate your options and make your final fecision

Ready to supercharge your sales team? Let’s get started.

What Does a Sales Consultant Do?

A sales consultant is an ally to your sales team who works alongside both leaders and individual reps to boost key results, such as outreach rates, revenue, or productivity. They’ll normally work short-term with your team to fix processes, develop clearer strategies, or improve your sales stack (or the way you use it).

The advantage of working with a sales consultant is that this isn’t their first rodeo. An experienced sales consultant has accomplished the same tasks and built solid, repeatable processes for multiple companies. They know what they’re doing. And they have their process and methods to boost the productivity and effectiveness of your sales team.

Whether you’re building a new sales team from scratch for your growing startup or you’re trying to optimize the work of your current sales team, working with an experienced sales consultant can help you get the job done right the first time.

A sales consultant’s services might include:

Each sales consultant has their own strengths and mindset for success. So, how do you find, evaluate, and hire the right consultant for your team and goals?

5 Key Steps to Take Before You Start Looking

We’re about to dive into a total of 13 steps you need to take throughout the process of looking for and signing with a consultant. Let’s start with what you should do before you begin your search.

1. Prepare Yourself and Your Team

If you’re even considering hiring a sales consultant, you’ve decided it’s time for external help to solve business problems. But it’s important to make sure that your whole team is ready to accept help.

Remember: A sales consultant can only be as successful as you allow them to be.

If you, your sales team, or company directors come into the consulting relationship with a bad attitude, you’re unlikely to get anything useful from the time and money you spend.

First, ensure no one on your sales team feels like this consultant is a threat to their position. When communication and transparency are limited, team members may feel that they’re under attack rather than viewing the sales consultant as someone coming to help. Talk to your team about your issues, and explain the help you’re looking to get.

Then, make sure you get buy-in from higher-ups at your company. Just like when you want to spend money on software, you should have a clear business case for your consultant.

2. Define What Kind of Sales Consultant Your Business Needs

Here’s how SMB and SaaS sales consultant Mor Assouline explains it:

“There’s a difference between a sales consultant and an advisor. A sales consultant is way more hands-on; the advisor isn’t doing hands-on work; they’re just giving feedback and advice. So my advice is to decide: Do you want someone to be more hands-on, doing the work, or do you need someone who validates ideas and gives you recommendations and advice? Those are two different things.”

Think about the level of help your team needs to improve its results. Do you need someone to come and help you clean up your process, or do you need continued support to build and scale your sales team over time?

3. Document Where You are and Where You’d Like to Be

The more specific you are about where you are and what you need, the easier it will be to get the results you want.

On the other hand, if you go into this relationship with a very vague idea of what you need, it’ll take much more time and energy to get to where you want to be. Or you may end up working with a sales consultant who’s not specialized in the areas you need help with.

So start by asking yourself a few key questions:

  • Which piece of our sales process needs help?
  • Are we looking for help with inbound or outbound?
  • What kind of support do our sales reps and AEs need?

We asked Jake Dunlap–CEO of sales consulting agency Skaled–about his thoughts here. He said: “My best advice for a lot of firms is that you need to be smart about saying, hey, here’s where I’m at, and here’s what I need over the next three to six months. And the more time you take to document some of that, you’re going to set yourself up much better for success.”

“Just take a bit of time to think about what you want to get out of it,” he says, “Even if it’s just a to-do list. Something like that can be a starting point.”

4. Build Realistic Expectations

A sales consultant is not your fairy godmother; they won’t be able to turn your sales process and revenue into a golden carriage if you’re handing them a bunch of pumpkins.

With the right expectations, you’ll be able to focus on accomplishing the work rather than rushing through a process just to get to the finish line.

To build those expectations, do research. Talk to people in your network who have already hired a sales consultant and see what they have to say about the process and the results. When you start considering sales consultants, you can read reviews and recommendations from their past clients.

5. Decide What Kind of Budget You Have for a Consultant

Your budget will ultimately decide where and how you look for a consultant. For example, if you’re willing to spend bigger bucks, you can probably afford to check out top sales consulting agencies and firms. But if you’re trying to cut costs, look for individual consultants.

But never forget that this is an investment, not an expense.

Mor Assouline explains it here:

“Some startups go, okay, I can just figure it out on my own. Now, the CEO is playing a consultant instead of a CEO because they’re looking at it as an expense rather than an investment. I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make.”

How to Hire a Sales Consultant: 3 Places to Find the Right Consultant

Now that you and your team are prepared to invite a sales consultant into the fold, where can you find the right person?

1. Dive into Social Media

If you’ve ever searched for sales-related content on LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube, you’ve probably come across the advice and strategies of top sales consultants.

Many consultants give away their advice for free online. As Michael Halper of Sales Scripter says:

“I’ve kind of become the sales messaging script guy. So when you search for sales scripts, a lot of times you’ll end up on my website or my YouTube channel. By no means am I an influencer, I just crossed 18,000 subscribers, but it is an audience that I can communicate to.”

Find content and strategies you agree with, and you’ll have a better impression of how aligned this consultant will be with your business from the start.

You can also use advanced search features on LinkedIn to search specifically for consultants. Scrolling through a sales consultant's posts and content is a great way to get a first impression of their ideas and methods.

2. Ask Your Network

There’s nothing better than a great referral. When talking to other sales leaders and startup founders in your network, ask around to see if they know any great sales consultants.

There are a couple of advantages to getting a referral from your network:

  • First, you’ll be more likely to find a consultant who aligns with your industry
  • Second, you’ll get a recommendation from someone you trust

3. Browse Consulting-Specific Directories and Platforms

While you can simply Google ‘sales consultant,’ an online marketplace or directory can work much better than a simple search. Directories give you filtering options, and some are more geared toward the type of consultant you’re looking for or your industry.

Of course, each marketplace and directory has its advantages. Here are a few of the top options:

  • Consultport: A consultant marketplace platform that handles the process from start to finish and helps match you to the right consultant by having you fill out an in-depth form.
  • COMATCH: Top consulting marketplace with 15,000 consultants and experts in 10+ sectors and departments, including sales. Requires you to sign up and submit a form.
  • G2: Listings mainly for large sales consulting agencies, along with ratings from clients.

5 Steps to Evaluate Your Options and Make Final Decision

At this stage, you probably have a few consultants that you’re trying to decide between. Maybe you’re about to speak to some of them.

So, what should you look for? What key aspects can help you decide which consultant is right for your sales org?

Here are five key methods to evaluate your options when it comes to hiring a sales consultant:

1. See if They’re Good Communicators

Here at Close, we’ve always been huge promoters of over-communication, especially when running a remote team. This principle holds true for your relationship with a sales consultant.

As Jake Dunlap of Skaled says:

“Communication is one of the most important aspects of a great partnership.”

Here’s what good communication should look like:

  • The ability to clearly explain what they do and how they do it
  • A plan for regular communication throughout the project
  • Agility within different forms of communication, both synchronous and asynchronous
  • The ability to listen and comprehend what you tell them
  • Asking good questions that draw the right answers from you

Of course, the communication style and schedule will depend on the project and your needs.

Here’s what good communication looks like for some top sales consultants:

“Slack, email, weekly calls. With some of our clients, it’s two or three calls a week. But certainly, weekly communication with key team members is mission-critical.” – Jake Dunlap, Skaled

“We do a 1-hour Zoom every week. Then people add me to their Slack community, they can text or email me, we do a ton of work in Google Docs and Google Sheets. You tell me what works best for you, I’ll tell you about what works best for me, and then we find a happy medium there.” – Scott Leese, Scott Leese Consulting

“I like to lean into asynchronous communication. I record Loom videos. We have a working document in Google Docs that everything gets recorded in, all our meeting notes and call recordings are linked there as well. My clients can also contact me on WhatsApp, you can leave voice notes that give a lot more context and detailed answers than simply typing them out.” – Mark Colgan, Yellow O

Here’s the key: find a sales consultant who knows how to communicate well and is willing to adapt to your favorite methods.

2. Watch for Genuine Interest in Learning About Your Business

Any sales consultant worth their salt will want to know about you, your business, your team, and your current processes and systems. That’s the only way they can give good advice and actually help you.

That’s why a key quality to look for when evaluating sales consultants is genuine interest and curiosity.

Think: Are they asking in-depth questions about my business, or are they simply selling their method or playbook? Are they really interested in what we sell and why we sell it? Are they interested in learning about our customers and industry?

When you see actual interest in understanding the value of what you sell and the flexibility to customize their approach to your team and needs, those are good signs.

3. Learn About Their Strategy for Consulting and the Results They Expect

Most sales consultants will focus on a specific sales area and know how to pull the best results from that area.

So, as you talk to your potential sales consultant, ask them: Do they have a specific way of consulting and improving processes? Can they prove their way works?

The consulting strategy is key because it can make or break your relationship. Here’s what Jake Dunlap of Skaled has to say about the red flags you might see here:

“If a consulting firm won’t tie themselves to results or outcomes, that’s a red flag. I think about the outcome I want to drive to. That’s why we try to preserve as much of the language and processes used internally as possible, versus having one cookie-cutter way that we put 55 companies through a quarter. I just think that’s old school and more companies are looking for someone who’s going to take the time to get their business, and the solution that comes out the other side doesn’t feel cookie-cutter.”

The point: If a consultant is trying to squish your business into one cookie-cutter way of doing things and isn’t comfortable tying their work to real results, that’s a red flag.

4. Collect References, and Have Meaningful Conversations with Them

Just like hiring a new team member, you’ll want to see references and recommendations. Sometimes, you might have enough with online reviews or LinkedIn recommendations, but sometimes, you may want something more.

If you ask your sales consultant for references, make sure these conversations are meaningful. Think in advance about what you need to know about this sales consultant. Find out what kind of results they had when working with the consultant.

This can help you go into the relationship more confidently.

5. Remember That Working with a Consultant is Just the Beginning

When you work with a sales consultant, you’re not just paying for the time you spend working with them—you’re paying for the results you’ll continue to see after they’re gone.

That’s why it’s essential to think about and evaluate the follow-through. What will you have at the end of the contract to enable your company to continue successfully? What will the sales consultant leave you with to implement the ideas and advice they’ve given you?

When you evaluate beyond the time of the contract and think about the continued results you’ll see over time, it’ll help you evaluate which sales consultant is working to set you up for success in the long term versus simply helping you get temporary results in the short term.

How to Hire a Sales Consultant and Improve Your Results in the Long Term

It can be scary to bring an outsider into your sales org and allow them to mess around with the processes and workflows you’ve grown accustomed to using.

But having an outside perspective can be just the kind of shake-up your team needs to reach their potential or even grow beyond it.

When hiring a sales consultant, you’ll need to have buy-in from the whole team and be prepared to take in and implement the advice and strategies they give you. When you and your team are well-prepared and ready to improve, you’ll gain more than expected.

Ready to start the process?

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