Sales and Marketing consulting can be a source of new and needed revenues for many more Turnaround Management Firms. However, before that occurs, traditional, financially based Turnaround Management professionals must become more aware of and comfortable with how Sales and Marketing services can be profitably deployed.
While there are many ways to use Sales and Marketing consulting within a Turnaround Management Firm, there are 2 primary ways: during the client pitch process and in client case work.
The Pitch Process Including the Contributions of the Sales and Marketing Practice
It is axiomatic that the most successful sales pitches are those where prospective clients are most engaged and where they do the most talking. However, it is all too common for TM firms in their presentations to only focus on their experience and their case work. This singular focus can easily bore a prospective client and can lose a potential engagement.
Involving a SM practice in a pitch process will not only differentiate the TM firm, but if done correctly can turn the pitch into an interactive and engaging process. To do it right, the Sales and Marketing consultant should be deployed by the firm to research the client and their industry prior to the pitch and to work with the financial consultants to tailor the firm presentation to the clients’ specific strategic issues and needs. In this way, the client can be better drawn into the conversation and the TM firm can present their credentials within the context of the clients’ specific issues.
In appropriate cases, the Sales and Marketing consultant should be present at the client pitch itself to show how it may be possible to generate client growth during and after the turnaround engagement. Discussing a growth platform in addition to the traditional financial and lender management services can greatly change the atmosphere of a pitch from one of client fear to one of hope.
Pitch contribution work by Sales and Marketing consultants can be a great differentiator for a Turnaround Management Firm. However, it is in casework where Sales and Marketing consulting can generate the greatest client, stake holder and Turnaround Management Firm value.
Sales and Marketing Casework in a Turnaround Context
In many turnaround cases poor sales force performance is at the heart of the financial distress of the company. That and the fact that sales and marketing expenses are often substantial at a client should make sales and marketing a prime area of focus in many turnarounds. Yet, it is often the case that senior company managers and financially oriented turnaround professions are uncomfortable questioning sales and marketing personnel and their positions/assumptions on issues. This, despite the fact that few things in a turnaround can have a greater impact than improving short term sales or significantly slashing unneeded sales and marketing expenses.
Only a competent and experienced sales and marketing consultant can effectively challenge the assumptions and action plans of the internal sales and marketing team. Moreover, only a competent sales and marketing consultant can make the credible case that the Turnaround Management Firm can do a better job at leading strategic sales plan implementation than the existing sales and marketing teams.
This is the key area where an SM practice can help a Turnaround Management Firm to generate consulting revenue. Initial assessments of anywhere from 1-2 days to 3-4 weeks, can easily blossom into multi-year, multi-consultant engagements when the Turnaround Management Firm has made the case that it can better implement plans versus ineffective internal sales and marketing managers.
Sales and Marketing consultants can be deployed in many other ways at a Turnaround Managment Firm, including managing the firm’s own marketing, doing valuation work, quality of revenue assessments and for top-line due diligence work. However, it is in pitch work and case work where a Turnaround Management Firm will likely generate the most benefits from Sales and Marketing consulting.
How a Turnaround Management Firm can do this and ensure profitably will be the subject of the next blog post.