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Sunday, January 13, 2008

I think one of the most critical parts of any sales consulting project is defining the output... or "what success looks like".

Without a clear idea of how the sales consulting project will be a success, before you start it, it's almost impossible to judge what value has been delivered.

Unlike selling, which is always measured by one metric - revenue - a consulting project is too short in duration to deliver immediate revenue results. Being clear about what else would be a success for the project is essential before undertaking an sales consulting assignment.

Here are two examples, one good, one bad from our experience.

Poorly defined - we undertook a sales consulting engagement with a start-up that had just secured it's first round of funding. As with many start-ups, the goal is always changing, but in this particular situation we started our project just prior to a key member of the management team arriving. Needless to say, as soon as she started the new Director had her own ideas and the scope of work changed instantly resulting in a new project hurriedly outlined. Since we were already hired for the gig, we continued but the results were not to our satisfaction. With hindsight, we should have resigned the account immediately. However, when the project was completed we declined an offer for further work.

Well defined - at the other end of the spectrum (and I'm pleased to say we have more examples in this camp) we were hired to research and profile UK resellers for a large international company. The brief was clearly outlined and, with our client, we defined the metrics necessary for success. In this case, our main deliverable was to map the reseller landscape for competitor and complimentary vendors and score them to identify companies that our client's Business Development team should approach. We executed the consulting project on time, to spec and delivered the report as defined.

Taking the time to clearly define the output for any sales consulting project is an essential step. Success can always be described in many ways other than revenue.

And whatever the definition of success is, having it agreed from the outset will always make it more likely to be achieved.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 6:52 pm |   | Links to this post  

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