Selling expert services is a little like selling airline tickets – once the plane has taken off, they can’t be sold. Equally, when a day of a consultant’s time is over, it can no longer be utilized. Staff time is valuable, and nobody wants it to be wasted – it is bad news for the business, and it is bad news for the individuals concerned. And selling projects that can’t be delivered is a waste of salespeople’s time and energy, a little like selling tickets for a plane that is already full. Managing the sales process in a rapidly growing organization requires a disciplined approach.
It’s not only important what skills are being sold, but when they are needed. Any slippage in the start of an engagement may lead to lost utilization, leaked revenue and unconsumed backlog. Equally, rapidly expanding businesses sometimes find themselves selling skills on a timescale that can’t be delivered. As a result, someone has to go back and tell the customer that a consultant can’t be provided on the promised dates.
Organizations that engender a better working relationship between the sales team and the service delivery team can meet these challenges. They build a collaborative culture around better-defined sales and resourcing stages, creating information which is shared and trustworthy. Sales forecasts are more reliable, and delivery is more efficient. A longer-term view on future demand is what underpins optimized resource management, business predictability, and more sustainable growth.
In this Best Practice Guide from Kimble, we provide five simple steps to a better and more disciplined sales process.
We will presume that the reader has, or is planning to buy, some kind of Professional Services Automation solution – ideally, one integrated with their CRM (opportunity management) system. It is hoped that the reader already understands that spreadsheets, the most widely-used resource planning technology, are not sufficient or appropriate.