Careers in sales consulting are on the rise, with an expected 26,200 job opportunities across the U.S. from 2019 to 2029. Anyone with a background in sales has the potential to become a sales consultant.
In addition to being financially rewarding, becoming a sales consultant will help you advance your career in sales.
“There’s a big difference between a salesperson and a professional sales consultant,” says Merit Kahn, CEO of SELLect Sales Development and co-host of The Smarter Sales Show podcast. “A salesperson may have their heart in the right place and sell the solution that is best for the client regardless of their own personal gain, but a professional sales consultant is serious about their career. They are professionally trained and have worked hard to develop the skills needed to excel in the field of sales. They have earned the right to consult on solutions.”
Keep reading to find out what it takes to become a sales consultant.
What Is a Sales Consultant?
Sales consultants are crucial to businesses because they are experts in product knowledge and successful at improving sales performance. A sales consultant’s job is like that of a traditional salesperson with an additional layer of critical analysis. It is their responsibility to maintain in-depth knowledge of a company’s product/service and educate sales teams accordingly, ultimately increasing sales.
What Does a Sales Consultant Do?
Sales consultants use their skills and experience to help increase a company’s profits by implementing new strategies and improving current processes. Not only do they drive improved sales performance, but they also act as a liaison between businesses and customers, establish trust, spread company awareness, and much more.
What can a sales consultant offer to a business? In short, a sales consultant’s job is to provide solutions for client needs. These professionals achieve sales success by demonstrating expertise, identifying problems and offering solutions to their clients’ sales and leadership teams.
Sales improvement consultants can work in a wide variety of fields, including technology, publishing, corporate, education, insurance, and medical. Their key roles vary slightly depending on the industry, but they are an integral part of businesses, nonetheless. Here are some common duties and responsibilities of sales consultants:
- Increase knowledge of products, services, target markets and competition to determine the most effective selling strategies.
- Work with associates to discuss innovative ways to effectively sell to customers.
- Manage and train your sales team using defined sales performance metrics.
- Use sales strategy development tips to teach in-house reps how to improve effectiveness.
- Manage current staff and hire additional sales representatives.
- Work with the marketing team to develop new lead qualification standards and improve brand awareness.
- Create and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with prospects and clients.
How Do Sales Consultants Get Paid?
A sales consultant’s income varies depending on the company or industry for which they work. Some industries are known for paying an hourly rate, while others opt for monthly base pay plus commission. Either way, sales consultants will almost always have a sales quota. Employers expect quotas to be met and often offer bonuses for meeting set sales goals.
How to Become a Sales Expert
Sales consultant requirements can vary depending on the position, industry, and employer. However, a few key qualifications are consistent across the board. To become a successful business sales consultant, you should meet the following requirements.
Get the Right Education
Sales consultant education requirements differ depending on the company and industry. A high school diploma or equivalent is typically the minimum requirement for entry level sales consultant jobs. However, for higher level positions, an associate or bachelor’s degree is strongly preferred.
Employers often look for bachelor’s degrees in Business Management, Business Administration, Advertising, Communications and Marketing. In addition, a Master of Business Administration degree is highly beneficial when it comes to furthering your career in sales.
Acquire Training & Work Experience
In addition to educational requirements, employers also prefer to hire sales consultants with work experience. Having a background in inside and outside sales will certainly stand out. Experience in commerce, customer service, advertising, marketing and accounting is also a plus. Another great way to impress employers is by completing sales training and development programs.
Certifications Not Required, But Helpful
Professional certifications allow sales consultants to advance their careers by increasing sales knowledge and learning practical skills. Certifications aren’t typically required for sales consultant jobs, but they are certainly helpful. A sales consultant certification will prove to employers that you are knowledgeable, qualified, and dedicated.
The following are some of the most beneficial certifications for sales consultants:
Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP) – The National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) designed the CPSP program to enhance the skills of sales professionals. This six-week online course teaches salespeople how to shorten sales cycles, create habits that drive success, effectively overcome objections and close more sales.
Certified Professional Sales Leader (CPSL) – The NASP also offers the CPSL program. This virtual six-week program is intended for presidents and VPs of sales, sales directors and managers, small business owners, and sales professionals looking to move into a leadership role. This comprehensive course teaches sales professionals how to build leadership habits that cultivate a high performing sales team.
Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP) – The American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) offers several certifications to provide a framework for salespeople, including the CISP program. This web-based program contains 10 modules and a final “live sales call” role play exam. The certification is valid for three years and can be renewed annually by completing five or more continuing sales education (CSE) credits.
Develop the Right Skills
What does it take to be a sales consultant? There are certain skills that you must have to succeed in the world of sales. Some might come naturally, like a charming personality or hard work ethic, while others can take years of practice to master.
Either way, there are a few key skills you need to become a successful sales consultant:
Professional sales consultants need to have the ability to communicate effectively to inform and persuade clients and prospects, as well as work with colleagues.
Sales is all about building relationships with people, whether it be over the phone, virtually, or face-to-face. Sales consultants connect with clients and prospects by having an outgoing and friendly personality, while also showing confidence and expertise.
Sales consultants are responsible for coordinating meetings, presentations, and phone calls, so it is crucial that they know how to manage their time effectively.
It’s important that sales consultants are comfortable and articulate when giving presentations and demonstrations to show their expertise and impress clients.
Sales consultants must manage their schedules and consistently meet deadlines in order to keep accurate records and remain organized for maximum efficiency.
Technology plays a huge role in modern sales, so it’s necessary for sales consultants to be proficient and confident using computers, mobile devices, and customer relationship management (CRM) software programs. Many companies use software programs to document client communications, manage leads, organize digital contracts and more.
Follow the Right Sales Methodology
Sales methodologies provide aspiring sales professionals with the foundation for sales success. An effective sales methodology will guide you through the various stages of the sales process, taking your skills to the next level.
The SELLect Sales Methodology does just that. This selling system consists of 8 steps that will teach you all about finding prospects, qualifying opportunities, closing deals and everything in between. The SELLect Sales Methodology teaches best practices based on consultative selling processes, providing newcomers as well as seasoned sales professionals with the knowledge to SELL more, SELL faster and SELL smarter.
As a SELLect Sales licensee, you gain access to a rigorous online sales training program for you and your clients. This provides you with a framework and resources to scale your sales consulting business without recreating the wheel.
Starting a Sales Consulting Business? – SELLect Sales Can Help
Becoming a sales consultant or starting a sales training consulting business on your own can be intimidating, so let us help!
As an experienced sales training company based in Texas, SELLect can help you learn how to become a successful consultant in your own field. Our extensive collection of training videos, interactive webinars, templates, and tools are designed to help individuals and companies boost their sales performance.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you in your journey to sales consulting success.Posted by