As companies find it necessary to sell more professional services, many are experimenting with consultants that both deliver and sell.  At Technology Services World (TSW) in San Diego last week, we spoke on that subject. The format was not your typical presentation, but a “workout”, where we frame up the discussion, share industry benchmark data, then pose a problem statement followed by a series of questions that we work out with the audience. The hundreds of years of experience represented equated to meaningful insights.

We discussed topics such as: organizational barriers to integrating delivery into the sales motion, specific elements of that integration, sales and services structure for the new model, additional skills needed for delivery personnel, hiring and onboarding for the new dual sales and delivery role, altering the current delivery team to adapt, management challenges and more. A fast-paced hour for sure!

Are you looking to move to a dual role sales and delivery model with your consultants? Here are some tips to Sharpen Your Edge:

  • It’s a common perception, especially among sales leaders, that adding delivery to the sales motion can slow down the sales process. Ensure you’re focusing on the total customer value delivered by tying solutions to business outcomes.
  • Most consultants did not sign up to sell, and many think of selling as demeaning. Just as great consultants gain customer trust and focus on creating great outcomes, ensure they understand that great sales people do exactly the same thing. And through their behavior, they are always “selling” themselves.
  • Compensation is often mismatched between product and service sales, and some companies compensate delivery for selling while others don’t. Industry data here produces a mixed bag, so you’ll likely experiment to see what works best in your organization.
  • Proper messaging is crucial. Delivery consultants are more prone to be focused on the detailed aspects of the solution, and providing value messaging that will help them have business discussions and articulate business outcomes will go a long way toward their success in the sales part of the role.
  • Knowing which of your delivery consultants have the aptitude to sell can be difficult. You should start with those who want to give it a try, followed by an assessment that identifies selling competencies that are natural to them.
  • Selected consultants should be provided with a career path roadmap and appropriate training/coaching on necessary sales skills.
  • There is no clear data on how to migrate a delivery only team to a dual role team, but as more companies forge this path forward, data will certainly emerge.

With the need to sell more professional services, it’s clear that using the product sales team just doesn’t move the needle enough. Utilizing consultants in a dual role that includes both delivery and selling sounds like an easy solution, but in practice, the complexities can be overwhelming and far reaching.

How are you navigating these waters? Let us know!

Don’t lose your Edge – Good luck and good selling!