We moved this to the Sales forum. That's where our sales training experts hang out.
Categories: Sales and Distribution
Hello All! My company sells software to small and medium sized organizations nationally. We have a serious need for some sales consulting/sales training.
We have 10 outside sales people and 2 sales managers. We are considering engaging a sales consultant to help us with strategy in the board room. Additionally, we are weighing the pros/cons of hiring a sales training firm to help us get our sales team back on track with a "Solution Selling" or "Strategic Selling" program.
My questions are:
1) What are the typical hourly rates for sales consultants in our industry?
2) What are the typical training rates in our industry and are training events billed as hourly or fixed price?
3) Do you all typically get your sales consulting where you get your sales training?
Any advice would be MOST appreciated!
Your message is intriguing and difficult to answer. I am going to try to walk the line between giving you some information - without looking I am saying "Call me!! Call me!!!" :D Hope this worksÂ?.
I think, I can say - for all my fellow trainers and sales consultants out there - that there are no "typical answers"
A few guidelines:
(1) Hourly rates go from $100 to $10,000. There are few consultants I know that work on an hourly basis. Most will bill by the day or the project. MY specific billing practice is value based on the project because I believe your project should have a beginning and an end - you have to eventually learn to be self sufficient. IN my mind, its unethical to bill hourly because then I have no incentive to end the project....
(2) There are no typical project rates because their are no typical projects. I can tell you that I have clients that pay me $600 per month and other that pay $10,000 depending on the project scope, deliverables and value. You should expect to pay between $5,000 - $10,000 for an initial analysis and evaluation of the situation, and a detailed plan of what to do next
(3) You will find some company's - like Steve Kraner's, and mine (Engage selling) that do offer both. I am sorry that I can't offer advice on the rest of the sales experts on this panel ( and I hope they don't take offence to me not mentioning them!) Some only offer training and other's only consulting.
The short answer is, its best to speak to the trainers and consultants directly and let them find out more about your project so that they can provide an accurate price, and deliverable proposal as well as references to prove they can do the work. Working a consultant isn't for everyone - and who you work with is a personal decision. In our business we are careful that if we do mutually decide to "engage," with a client, we are all sure it's because we both feel there will be a high degree of value added to your business.
The most important thing is to feel comfortable with the consultant you chose. They will be working closely with you and your team and you have to be confident that they can do the job - and get results!
There is an important distinction between sales "training" and "consulting".
Courses on selling ... of the many types ... wether it is appropriate, relevant and actually useful to your situation, only you can be the judge. You will see courses as low as $350/day to $5,000 day or more (to groups of people). Some well-recognized names command premium prices.
Sales consulting is another matter entirely, and as Colleen eloquently points out above, many outfits approach the situation as a "project" - which they should. What it will cost you is often tied to deliverables and value received, rather than necessarily a "billing" rate per hour/day, but it can break down to that too if need be. Not only coaching/training, but process improvement, org. structure, strategies, methodologies, positioning, approaches, etc... a lot of things can get looked at. The end result is getting you from Point A to Point B ... where hopefully your organization sells a lot more effectively and will continue to do so in the future. The better ones don't just focus on technique, but factor in the big picture issue of how to improve individual performance while creating a better sales "organization" as a whole.
As Colleen points out, you need to be comfortable with the consultants. Many offer a unique sales approach, which distinguishes them from others, and it is important you feel comfortable that the approach being proposed actually makes sense for your organization.
You're starting with price. A good salesperson would start with the problem (diagnose) and then prescribe - and the price is part of the prescription.
Call a good sales consultant and be open to a solid diagnostic. Like many professions, you'll find more bad ones than good ones, and the good ones are busy and expensive.
To find a good one:
1) Look at the Hotshots listings here.
2) Watch how they sell, and see if it's effective.
My suggestion would be to first analyze the problem and then hunt for a solution. In reading your note I guess the issue is that your sales success is not meeting either your expectations or your requirements - you are not alone! However, that problem is not necessarily resolved with sales training. There are a variety of issues that might be causing it that are totally unrelated to the skill set of your sales staff: perhaps the wrong market, pricing, sales process, sales tools, product issues, etc. This is where you may want to engage a consultant who looks beyond sales training (ie - when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail) and diagnoses the problem first and then recommends some solutions that you can try that won't break the bank. The best way to do this is through an iterative process versus signing on to a full make over.
If you do decide that sales training is a requirement, then the next step is to decide what kind. Most sales training programs, while good (as the ones you have listed are), are targeted to different parts of a sales cycle. Some are oriented around call management, some deal management, others account management. Neither of the programs you listed are tactical but are strategic in nature: if your guys need block-and-tack tactics, giving them strategy won't help.
Another consideration is the kind of sale that you have: is it a complex sale (multiple buying influences which Strategic Selliing & Solution Selling are ideal for) or is it more of a single-interaction/single-buyer decision. All these should weigh heavily in what you chose.
Finally, one of the most important parts of introducing any kind of program, sales training or otherwise, is ensuring that you have setup management processes to keep things going after the training class is done. Most companies run sales training as events that are fun for the attendees but provide no long-term value because the concepts are not internallized and reinforced. I was involved in the roll-out of a Strategic Selling program for one vendor and discovered that the local sales management weren't promoting it - why? Because the management wasn't properly trained to mentor the program and so when sales reps asked for help, the managers didnt' have the answers. No manager is going to support something that makes them look silly. As a result, lots of money was spent not alot of results were to be had.
So here's my recommendation for what it's worth: get someone you feel comfortable with to help you figure out what the key problems are first, help you select the best programs to fix it, and work with you to design processes to reinforce your investments.
ps - we do this: www.soloquent.com
If you are still looking for information on sales training and consultants, you might try www.ESResearchCorp.com.
I'm looking for some sales training info too. I'm interested in the experience of anyone who has actually attended one these classes/programs.
In particular, I'm looking for a program that focus on selling software via the telephone with a Webex-like demo.
Thanks for any info.
I don't know of any particular courses I can recommend but here are some things you might consider:
1) Most of the "strategic" courses are designed to help reps strategize sales that require a high number of interactions with different levels and functional types of people. What drives these kinds of sales is the perception of higher risk in making a purchase decision: the greater the risk, the more people involved, the longer the sales cycle, the greater need for strategy. Often, when products can be sold over the phone, they don't have the same perception of risk and therefore don't require as strategic an approach. Therefore the ideal training maybe more tactical in nature and could be categorized as "call management" versus the "deal management" or "account management" which is taught in more strategy focused programs.
2) While there are some very good off-the shelf progams on the market which do an excellent job at providing tactical pointers, my recommendation is to have a look at your overall sales processes first: are you calling on the right market, do your sales people have the right tools (webex presentations, scripts, and demos), and do you have a good handle on the sales process and ensure that your reps know how to drag people through it. Once you have this baked, a generic sales training program can certainly add value provided you develop the follow-on processes to encourage the full adoption of the techniques learned. However, if you are not sure if all the necessary elements of your sales model are in place, then a better starting point might be to engage someone to audit your sales process and perhaps design something that is very targeted to your product and customer's needs.
Hope that helps,
Just to note also, sales training and consulting is also specialized by sales role. From one who knows, be careful not to force your presales engineers or channels people through vanilla sales training, they'll only find some fraction of the material useful to them.
First let me say that I don't believe in packaged solutions to optimize specific problems. It is like buying a play book as a preparation for a big sports tournament.
The best thing is to find someone who is very smart and that has enough experience to know if a good idea has a good chance to actually work.
Once you find this person you sit together and you brain storm until you have a plan. The plan and the execution will be as unique as your business.
I know from my experience with Colleen (Engage Selling Solutions at www.Engageselling.com) that she can be a great asset to have.
I know that good chemistry is crucial to make any optimization process work and Colleen apart from her obvious sales training and consulting expertise is also great at making it interesting and even fun :)
In some sales training / consulting engagements that I have seen, esp. the wasted ones the key factor was chemistry and ability to accomplish progress that could be adopted as part of everyday business work and not just as a weird punishment to sales people and management :) .
...and the money... the right person will tailor the solution to your budget in a way that will make sense to both. You both want a long term relationship of constant business improvement.
Roy Daya, CEO
DigitalClay is a smart application engine for building dynamic software solutions without coding.