Consultant are better at software sales than salespeople and account managers! Why do I say that?
1. Consultants know which software solves which problems.
2. Clients believe consultants.
3. Consultants appear to have no commission driven agenda.
4. Consultants truly want your clients system to run better.
Number 2 is the kicker, Clients believe consultants. A salesperson can talk about a new module all day, but unless the consultant says it is good stuff, and that he/she can deliver the solution then the whole process is a waste of time .
So Salespeople, before you start mass resignations – your role is not redundant. Someone needs to knock on the doors and close sales. Your other job is to ensure that you have a team behind you that knows the solutions deeply and are 100% confident they can deliver.
Some of you will have heard this story, but I am going to repeat it here. Consultants will not recommend a product if it means they will miss dinner with their family next week. If by suggesting a new module that they don’t understand deeply and they think there may be problems or support will be tough to get – which means next week they will have to work late on site, or spend three night reading manuals – why would they make that recommendation? On the other hand if the clients needs a new SmartList or a new FRx Report then that is a job a consultant wants as they know 100% they can deliver that. Have you ever wondered why the solutions you deliver today are very similar to what you delivered 5 years ago?
The key here is 100%. As salespeople we can generally survive and hold sensible conversation at about 30% knowledge and 70% experience and bluff. For a consultant who has to make it happen there is no room for bluff and they have to be sure – 100% sure. That is 100% sure they can deliver the solution. Consultants are remarkably intelligent problem solvers and can work most things out given a little time, so I am not suggesting they need to know everything about a solution before recommending it – but they do need to know enough to be confident that they can work the rest out. I repeat, 100% confident they can deliver the solution.
So as business owners, sales teams and consultants wanting to fill utilization hoppers the key is to get your team trained. This can be through time to read manuals, online training, or classroom training ( I still believe classroom is the best learning experience).
There are some great technologies available to us as Dynamics VAR’s and ISV’s. This might include GP modules like Navigation Lists, Excel Report Builder, HR, Audit Trails and eXtender or stepping outside GP to SharePoint, PowerPivot, BI etc. Consultants will never move on to these solutions unless they are 100% sure that they can deliver.
So, if your consulting team is not trained then you are missing out on significant opportunity and significant services revenue. Let me give you one example of the opportunity taken by a partner in regards to SmartConnect. One VAR had their entire team take a deep training session and followed up with specific training topics for key individuals. As a result of this and high energy marketing activity they sold 74 SmartConnect’s inside of 24 months. This generated an average of 7 days services with each deal. This is more than 518 days or roughly $766,000 of services revenue. Adding in the software component we are talking $1 million revenue that would not have been generated had that training session not taken place.
In summary, salespeople are important but need consultants that can deliver. Consultants can not deliver without knowing a product deeply – and that usually involves training. A VAR that does not invest in training is missing out on massive revenue opportunities.
The eOne training team is currently in Chicago and hosting jam packed training day for 13 consultants. Earlier this week we ran an online training session for 24 consultant from one single VAR. Our next deep dive training session on SmartConnect will be in New York on January 21st-22nd. Spots are already starting to fill up and if you are within easy reach of East Coast it would be great to have you along. To lock in your place at this training contact either myself or Abbey at email@example.com.