Sales consultancy: development opportunities for today’s graduate
Understand how partnerships and a part-time, flexible approach to working with small businesses can provide multiple opportunities for personal learning and commercial development.
As a recent graduate, looking for an entry into the working world can be rather daunting. There are hundreds of different roles available and an even broader range of routes you can take, all of which are difficult to fully understand until you are 6 months into the role itself. So where do you start?
Last summer, I graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in International Business Management with French, and a very vague idea of the career path I wanted to pursue. I knew I wanted to be in a commercial, client-facing role, but I was finding it tough to narrow it down to working for just one business or in one specific industry… The role as a commercial consultant first caught my attention because they work with a range of different businesses – brilliant! The perfect opportunity to maximise my experience without being tied down to one!
This article will cover my original thoughts on what a sales consultant does versus what the new wave of sales consultants are currently doing, and how starting my career at Facets has helped me to rapidly develop commercially.
The role of a Sales Consultant
When I first started at Facets in June, I originally thought the role of a sales consultant was simply to drive new leads and boost revenues for a number of client businesses. Whilst that is somewhat true, through my experience in the role itself, I have come to realise that there are further boxes we need to check in order to truly add value to the businesses we work with.
Becoming a part of the team
One of the most important things I’ve learnt and a core value at Facets, is to become a part of the client team. Although we may be separate from the business itself and often provide our service on a part-time basis, it is vital to engage with clients to the extent that we are seen as a team member. Whether it be by attending regular meetings, aligning work flows on CRMs or joining up on Slack channels or WhatsApp groups, being fully immersed in the client businesses we serve, and being held accountable for our actions, is essential to achieving results.
As our Founder Guy Littlejohn puts it; “You’re truly part of your client’s team when you’re invited to their Christmas parties”.
Fresh pair of eyes
Just like the Founders and Directors of the client businesses themselves, sales consultants should have specialised knowledge of the industries they are working in. A strong sales consultant provides a fresh pair of eyes for the businesses they service. Founders and Directors are often too close to the business and can have ‘tunnel vision’ when it comes to making decisions, whilst a sales consultant is able to see the bigger picture. It is key that we provide that extra bit of perspective that clients might be missing with a full-time employee and that we communicate any interests or concerns effectively.
Most sales consultants work across a number of different businesses, many of which will have the same end customer, but service them in a different way. At Facets I’ve come to learn that we can add great value to our clients by arranging partnerships through which businesses collaborate to provide a broader range of services to customers together. A successful sales consultant should be able to easily facilitate new partnerships and provide their clients with new opportunities through building strong relationships. As a graduate, experiencing this process first hand has been invaluable to my growth – learning how knowledge and expertise can be pooled together to both improve existing relations and build new ones is a vital role of the consultant.
Overall, my experience at Facets so far has shown me that there is more to being a sales consultant than simply selling and meeting targets; don’t get me wrong, these aspects are certainly important, however so much more value can be leveraged from building relationships and forming partnerships both with and between clients.
If you’ve recently graduated university, and are looking for an alternative way of working, which offers flexible and part-time opportunities which suit the current working landscape, I would suggest you look beyond the typical 9-5 roles and consider what working as a sales consultant could do for you...