12 Aug 2013

Decision: A Consultant vs. A Director To Build Your Inside Sales Team?

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Introduction: In this blog, I’ll point out the pros and cons of hiring a Consultant as the Acting Director versus a Director (employee) to build and manage your Sales Development Team or your Inside Sales Team. Let me start out by saying that I am a Consultant, and I am brought in many times as the Acting Director to initially build, or manage, or improve, or turnaround an Inside Sales Team. After I  build or re-architect the Team, I then hire my replacement, the Director of the team. However, I will try to give you a fair and honest opinion based on my experience, and I will not bias my comments towards the Consultant choice.

 

General Opinions and Assumptions

  1. Many Choices: There is a reasonable number of Directors of Inside Sales available in the market. There are, however, fewer Consultants that can come in and help you. But you do have choices.
  2. Different Skill Sets: I believe it takes a very different skill set to initially build a team from scratch or to re-architect or turnaround an existing Inside Sales Team than it does to manage and grow an existing, reasonably running Inside Sales Team.
  3. No Hard, Fast Rules: And in all the comments that I make in this blog, I would be the first to admit that there are no real hard and fast rules to go by on these issues. You must use your instinct from your past experiences, successes, and unfortunate failures.

 

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Director, an Employee

Pros

  1. He/She Can Get the Job Done: There are Director candidates in the market that are good and can come in and get the job done that you need.
  2. More Dedicated: A Director may be more dedicated and committed over the long term, since he/she is an employee, may have left a very good job, and even may have relocated his family to the new company and location.
  3. Retained Learning: Most of the learning during the early weeks and months will likely be retained, since the Director will remain with the company
  4. Lasting Relationships: Most of the relationships that the Director builds with other functions, like marketing or sales, will last

 

Cons

  1. Limited Process: The Director may not have a structured methodology, process or formula
  2. Slower Decision-Making: A Director might not make decisions as fast as you’d like, because he/she’s just getting to know his boss and his company, and may be tenuous for the first 6 months in his/her decision-making
  3. Lower Quality: The team might not be high enough quality that you expect if the Director doesn’t have a pre-built methodology, framework, process and templates to use
  4. Potholes: Since a Director might have only set up or run 2 or 3  teams at this point in his/her career, he/she might not know where all the potholes are to avoid

 

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Consultant as the Acting Director of the Team

Pros

  1. Structured Process: Will very likely have a structured methodology, framework, templates, and process that can be customized for you as needed
  2. Faster Decision-Making: Will likely make decisions faster since the Consultant knows he/she has limited time to get the job done and is likely more senior than a Director
  3. More Tasks Completed Faster: Will likely get more tasks completed, since the Consultant has his/her framework and has likely implemented such teams many times, likely 10-50 times.
  4. Higher Quality: Will likely provide a higher quality team because of the structured process, templates, training and experience
  5. Avoid Misfires: Will likely avoid any potholes or misfires because of the large experience the Consultant has

Cons

  1. Not an Employee: The Consultant is not an employee, and that could reduce his/her effectiveness or cause political issues
  2. Higher Cost: Will likely cost you 10 to 30% more than a Director
  3. Political Cost to You: Your boss may feel you should know how to do this without a Consultant
  4. All Learning Not Transferred: Some learning may not be completely transferred by the Consultant to the team when the Consultant leaves
  5. Not As Committed: A Consultant may not be as committed as a Director may, since the Consultant will be leaving in 3-9 months.

 

In my candid opinion:

Hire the Director: Usually, but not always, it makes more sense to hire a Director, an employee, if:

  1. Team Is Running Well: The team already exists and its running reasonably well
  2. The Task Is Basic Management: The task of the manager is primarily to mange an ongoing group and expand it
  3. You’re Tired of Recruiting: You, the hiring manager, are tired of trying to find this hire, and your Director candidate will get the job done for you
  4. Need New Blood: You just feel you need some new blood in the group or the company
  5. You Have a Good Candidate in Your Hands: Through your network, you know of a good Director and can hire him/her quickly

 

Hire the Consultant as the Acting Director: Usually, but not always, it makes more sense to hire the Consultant if:

  1. Build from Scratch: You need to build a team from scratch
  2. A Turnaround: You need to re-architect, or turnaround an existing team
  3. Speed Is Critical: You need to get this team up, running, and re-architected extremely fast in order to meet your revenue goals
  4. Cannot Misfire: You can’t afford to misfire or make a mistake, there is too much risk at stake
  5. Need A Mover And Shaker: You need a very strong manager, more of an independent mover and shaker for you
  6. Need Very High Quality and A Process: You need the team built with extremely high quality and need a structured framework and process for the organization and the long term.

 

Final Comments: Usually, but not always, it’s best to hire a Director when you have an existing Team that is performing reasonably well. Usually, but not always, it is best to hire a Consultant as the Acting Director when you’re building the team from scratch, trying to turnaround the team, or when speed to completion is crucial.

 

 

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