All companies want to grow organically through manageable, self-sustaining sales pipelines. Often it’s a lack of strategy that holds them back. In some cases that lack of strategy is obvious: companies aren’t willing to undergo the pain of change.
Just like people, companies fear the unknown: Downsizing staff is risky. So is hiring. Increasing expenditures can seem daunting. As well, there is no guarantee that change will lead to success. The only certainty is that change will lead to discomfort. So companies put off making the very changes that will help them streamline and improve.
This circles back to what I was saying in Can a Sales Consultant Guarantee Sales Revenue? That’s where I discussed the need for companies to take action after collaborating with a consultant. All too often, companies hire consultants with the expectation that they will be able to sit back and watch the additional sales roll in. What they fail to realize is that a consultant’s job is to show the client where it can make changes that will lead to better results and even assist the client in driving these changes HOWEVER – it is still up to the client to implement said changes. And it will be painful.
When consultants aren’t needed
The crazy thing is, if companies were ready and willing to undergo the pain of change in order to improve their big-picture results, chances are they wouldn’t need to hire consultants in the first place. I remember one company I conducted an introductory consultation with.
It had been years of delays and it finally became apparent that the stalling wasn’t helping. They realized the level of loss they were realizing when they could be reaping the rewards. They were finally feeling the pain enough to do something about it. They only needed guidance and direction. They did not need a consultant to make the major, transformative changes that set them on a path to growth again:
- Replacing their whole sales division (including firing the sales manager).
- Taking a calculated risk, they hired an internal consultant from operations to take on the sales management role.
- Implementing dashboards to increase transparency in the sales process and business operations across the company.
- Making sure they tracked every relevant metric.
- Restructuring by implementing a call centre, which separated the functions for cold calling and closing.
- Hiring an experienced team leader with major corporate experience who understood sales, sales process, management, coaching – and had the motivation to drive the whole initiative.
Can you recall a time in your life when you stood on the brink of a big change such as a career transition. Have you ever relocated to a new city to accept a great job opportunity? These kinds of changes in your personal life can be hugely stressful, but the payoff is equally enormous. The same principle applies for companies.
Remaining stagnant is a sure-fire way to limit your growth. Sometimes, even when you know you’ve got a mountain ahead of you, you’ve got to grit your teeth and move your company past the pain of change.