Fixing the Strategy-Selling Gap
A client launched a consulting practice to support and complement its core service offerings, and to gain access to more strategic-level contacts within its clients. The marketing team developed promotional and training materials for the sales organization so they would be able to promote the consulting offering along with the company’s other product and services. Six months later, there was limited sales pipeline activity for the consulting offering and it appeared that the sales organization did not understand the importance of introducing the offering to clients.
Our team quickly identified several areas of disconnect between marketing and sales that contributed to the lack of success with the introduction of consulting services. The major areas of disconnect included:
- The dollar value of potential consulting projects was small relative to other opportunities within the client, so sales people wanted to focus on larger value opportunities to improve chances of making quota. Potential commissions where also small in the minds of the sales people.
- Sales people where neither equipped nor comfortable in shaping the value proposition for consulting, particularly since they did not see the consulting work leading to other immediate opportunities with the client. To effectively sell consulting services, sales people needed to be able to understand and explain to clients several potential commercial models to fund the consulting work.
- Most of the company’s clients viewed them as a service provider, rather than a consulting firm. In fact, some of the types of consulting work that the sales people were pitching, the client was accustomed to receiving for free in the past.
The marketing team had developed the promotional and marketing materials with the best of intentions. However, they lacked the expertise to understand the tip-of-the-revenue-spear challenges that the sales people encountered in promoting the consulting offering. We helped the company rebuild the promotional and training materials to address the sales person challenges. Additionally, we developed a special incentive program that motivated the sales people to sell consulting services that did not conflict with selling the company’s other services. Within ninety days of the re-launch of the consulting offering, several large and strategic consulting engagements were secured, which eventually allowed the company to sell other services to the client.