If you are a founder, an owner or a major shareholder of a company statistically you have no problem to admit if there is something wrong with your B2B sales.
Board members I talk to don’t feel insecure to state that their company needs external sales consulting (at least for some industry-specific benchmarks and best-practices that cannot be generated out of thin air within the organisation).
But if you are a sales director or a CEO you might not admit such problems that easy!
If you are a sales director or a CEO for a while it can get somewhat challenging to ask for the budget of some B2B sales help. Many of them shares with us that it does feel risky to ask help in the B2B sales arena.
Where is this uncertainty coming from?
According to my clients: this is a job security issue.
It is their own title (being called sales director or CEO) that makes them feel that B2B sales is something that they should know. They feel that they were hired for their knowledge and experience of B2B sales. So asking for help would be the confession of coming short.
But wait a minute! Isn’t it strange? It is so normal for our CFO to buy tax advisory or for our CTO to buy any kind of IT consulting. And still somehow Chief Sales Officers rarely dare to ask for any sales consulting help. And even when they do, they feel safer to disguise their needs: by buying CRM implementation projects or HR selection consulting when in reality all they want is to talk to somebody who has got sound knowledge about the benchmarks of the sales processes or motivation systems of their industry.
(*Image – Brave by Disney/Pixar)
Would you conspire with your sales director?
Some board members do. They share such ideas with their sales directors to enable them to get the budget from the board in a professional way:
- Using instances from the organisation (or from competition)
If there is a tax advisory firm helping our CFO or some consultants are helping our IT department it is effective to show to the decision makers that B2B sales techniques and benchmarks change just as fast as (let’s say) tax legislation and the sales department needs just as much external help as any other department. The other obvious argument is when our competitors are investing in their sales skills.
- Being specific instead of crying out for general help
Instead of “…we’ve tried everything to sell better!…” it is always safer to say: “…we need a better CRM tool to better monitor our sales resources so we need an expert who can help us with the CRM selection…”, “…we need a written B2B Sales Methodology, for quality assurance and for faster break-even of the new sales colleagues…”, “…we need industry benchmarks of sales processes to learn if we are doing better or far worse in the terms of sales-cycles, conversion rates or motivation systems than our competitors…”
- Coming up with some initial ROI calculation drafts
“…If we could shorten our 5-month long sales cycle by 1 month that would bring us cc.12% more monthly revenue…” or “…If we could devise better account management processes, our add-on sales could grow by 10%…”
So this is what you as a board member can do for your sales team – not letting them feel insecure. (Not a bord member? Consider sharing this with the one you trust!)
…and thus let there be the arrival of consultants, if I might share this video-gem at the end… 🙂
(*YouTube video – Pulp Fiction by Miramax)