One of the primary attributes a new consultative salesperson must possess to succeed today is the ability to lead a team.
Creating value for your clients is a team sport. To create value, to execute, and to succeed, you need to build a team within your organization. Think of it as your own professional services firm.
The Operations Arm of Your Firm
You might be the sharp end of the spear when it comes to opening and winning opportunities, and you may own the outcomes that you sell, but when it comes to delivering on the promises you have made, you need a team. You need deep relationships within your own organization, as deep or deeper than the relationships you have with your clients.
You cannot succeed—and neither can your client—without your operations team. You need to really know the people that serve your clients. If you want them to do as well as you need them to, you need to spend time with them. You need to understand their world. And, you need to give them whatever they need during your handoff to ensure that they succeed for your client.
You have to care about the team you build as much as you want them to care about your clients.
The smart new consultative salesperson builds an informal team of allies in operations and includes them in the sales process early. They introduce them to their client stakeholders and helps them build the relationships that they will later need. They also develop a list of questions and a list of “must haves” that enables the operations side of their internal professional services firm to execute.
The operations team is part of your professional services firm.
The Management Arm of Your Firm
As a new consultative salesperson, you spend your time in the field, with your clients. You spend more time with your clients and your dream clients because that is where you create value. You need to ensure that your team has the resources and the support to produce results when you aren’t available. To do so, you need a management arm of your internal professional services firm.
The smart new consultative salesperson builds relationships with key management individuals within their organization. They bring these individuals into the discussions and meetings around their clients and dream clients. They also pass ownership of the outcomes to these individuals so that they have leaders within their own organization that are as committed to serving their clients as are they.
Major accounts are built on exceptions. Large clients need modifications and adjustments to what we normally do in order to make it fit with the way they do business. The new consultative salesperson builds their internal professional services firm so that they can get the exceptions that their client needs, and so that their management team owns those outcomes.
If you have ever needed management’s support in a hurry, you know how difficult it can be to obtain. It’s far easier to gain their support by including them in everything leading up the point that your client needs something done differently. You win by building consensus before you need it.
Your management is a necessary part of your professional services firm.
Your Org Chart
Sketch out your own organizational chart. List the members of your personal professional services firm. Make note of the areas that you don’t have the relationships you need, where there is an empty spot on your roster. Make plans to develop the relationships you need to build the internal team that helps you to create value for, to sell to, and to execute for your clients.
And don’t overlook those you perceive as powerless. Include people from your information technology department, your accounts receivable department, and any other department that might in some way be able to create value for your clients.
The new consultative salesperson needs the ability to lead within their own organization and their client’s organization, and they need the ability to lead change. The stronger your relationships are internally, the easier it is to generate results externally.
Do you have the internal relationships that you need within your own organization?
Do you build consensus around how to create value for your clients within your own organization?
How do you include your operations and management team in the sales process early enough to ensure that they can execute for your clients?
How do you ensure management owns the exceptions that your major account clients need?
How do you make your company an extension of your will and your value creation for your clients?