‘It must be 9 or 10 years or so since you got involved in sales consultancy’ I was recently reminded by a friend. ‘Wow is it really that long ago’ I responded.
As I reviewed my computer files and documents, I realised that I’ve been involved with or directly delivered work to over 100 businesses of various shapes and sizes, ranging from owner/managed businesses (that continue to be the main source of my work) to coaching a handful of multinational organisations.
So what has happened to these businesses?
Well the truthful answer is anything and everything, although I’m really pleased to say that the vast majority are significantly larger in terms of revenues than they were before – which if I’m being honest is exactly why they hired me. Some sadly, have slipped back into doing what they always did and are stuck on the hamster wheel of hiring and firing new recruits, some are really motoring forward and some have been sold for some pretty hefty pre Covid exit values.
What have I learned?
Working with many clients has allowed to me learn from their experiences, through them telling me what had and hadn’t worked before in the past. Personally, through writing more and documenting more with the clients I’ve worked with has been hugely beneficial – not just to me but to the many clients I’ve been able to share knowledge and skills with. I also hadn’t realised quite how much the 20 years in business software sales would have prepared me for running a sales consultancy. You are exposed to so many sectors, routes to market, profit variables to name but a few – it really does give a unique perspective that I’m delighted to share.
What could I have done better?
As a person who had a well-structured grounding in sales through big company insurance, if I had continued these learnings in parallel to my day to day selling then I feel my consulting would have taken off even faster. The recent process of writing and releasing 2 of my own books on sales has also propelled me into being a bigger sponge of other sales material than I ever would have thought.
How has the delivery changed?
Delivery and approach have changed significantly, particularly through the pandemic. Whilst we were already well on the way to transitioning towards a remote or part remote service model, there is no doubt that things have moved faster than anyone was expecting. Gone are the full days spent onsite with clients as they struggle to get people together. These have been replaced by short, sharp bursts of energy of 60-90 minutes at a time, which fits much better into delivering an agile solution. The other emergence has been the deployment of more technology to reinforce the work. Using our SalesEnabla platform really has been a ground breaker in being able to create and deliver great consistency for clients and embed the learnings and knowledge quickly and effectively. None more so than the ability to digitally start onboarding new sales recruits online even before they’ve stepped foot into the office.
What would I change from then to now?
I was probably a little too reluctant to speak out to a client if I believed something needed changing in the early years. This is probably somewhat of a surprise to many of my friends as I’ve never been described as being ‘backwards in coming forwards’ These days, I consider myself a lot faster at being able to find the pulse of the business, which allows me to analyse people and performances and get traction quickly when things need to be done. One of my favourite client quotes that I’m most proud of is:
‘The speed in which you grasped the challenges were mighty impressive, but the speed in which you got us on track and started getting sh#t done was even more impressive !!’