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QUESTIONS TO CONTINUALLY ASK

1. What is your (client) challenge?

2. What decisions do you (client) have to make?

3. How do I lay my value on top of that?

And most importantly:

Does this (solution) make sense for my client?

Exhibit 4.8 Key Selling Questions
110 The Front Office: Driving Sales and Growth

Remember, typically, an internal group at the client site has made a
commitment that they are accountable for achieving and have encoun-
tered bumps along the way.
3. How can the prospective client solve the problem? At this stage of the
discussion, there are three options the client can choose to pursue:
”Do nothing. The prospective client makes a determination that
there is a problem, but perhaps the problem does not have enough
weight or is not understood well enough to proceed with a solution.
”Solve internally. The prospective client more clearly understands
the problem and determines that the best route is to use an internal
team to manage the project.
”Go outside. The prospective client more clearly understands the
problem and determines that the best route is to bring in a team of
external professionals to manage the project.
4. Research the solution. If the prospective client decides to pursue a
structured solution or to “do something,” the client will either assign
an internal team to research a solution or retain an external firm to re-
search the solution. Ideally, your professional services firm will be en-
gaged at the solution research, or proposal development, stage.
5. Evaluate the proposed solution: Once proposals have been developed,
the prospective client will then look at the proposal through a set
of evaluation criteria and determine whether they have the budget
to proceed.

The challenge for many professional services firms is that the consultants
get brought in at the middle of the buying process; thus, they walk in and
start selling a solution. Or, some professional services firms are so confident
in what they think they know that they either go through the five stages in a
surface fashion or don™t go through them at all. However, if your sales profes-
sionals are trained to sell as your clients buy and to continually ask the right
questions, you will create context for the dialogue with the client, which will
result in greater selling power and, ideally, greater client satisfaction.

Targeting and Lead Generation
The terms targeting and lead generation both equate to identifying and
touching potential customers. As a salesforce, it is important to focus on gen-
erating a steady hum of revenue. In a professional services firm, if you don™t
have new business, your consultants are on the beach. While this steady rev-
enue might not be the most interesting business, it will keep your firm™s con-
sultants active. At the same time, however, your sales organization needs to
be available for and attuned to the big deals. During the exercise in which
you defined your unique sales process, you likely uncovered some marketing
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Sales Management

and lead generation tactics that resulted in qualified prospects for your firm.
In addition to this insight, tips to effective lead generation include:

• Identify the buyers of your service on a regular basis. The buyers of
your service depend on the nature of your consulting services and
might be broken down by industry, size, or geography. Know them inti-
mately: What do they read, what organizations do they belong to, what
authority impresses them or regulates them? Invest in market research
to understand their buying behavior and preferences.
• Frequent “touches” with your buyers. By using an activity-based sales
model combined with specific targets, you increase the number of times
that you are in conversation with the buyers of your services. In conver-
sation with your targets, continually ask yourself what information you
can share with them that creates the perception of the value you pro-
vide and gets you in front of them. You want to get your prospects ex-
cited, whether through opportunity or pain. Storytelling is a proven way
to touch your buyers. People listen and remember through stories, and
whether you are phone canvassing or selling in front of a client, leverag-
ing your great case studies, dressing them up, and sharing them is a
home run tactic. And, above all, brand your touches. If you want to be
memorable, you have to be branded.
• Be opportunistic. While you are paying regular attention to your steady
buyers, pay attention to what™s happening in the marketplace. If you
see a need that your services can meet, go after that business. Your pro-
fessional consultants, the experts, will be attuned to marketplace
shifts, and it is important that sales professionals stay close to this pulse
of knowledge. Intranets and knowledge portals can be helpful with this
level of knowledge sharing. In addition, the daily business papers and
weekly trade journals are excellent sources of knowledge, as well as in-
dustry-specific databases. For example, FTI sales professionals regu-
larly access Lexis Nexis, CourtLink, and CourtEXPRESS to check the
dockets for significant upcoming cases where the firm™s services might
be useful to a law firm or corporation.

In relation to targeting, John Salomon, forensic advisory practice leader at
FTI Consulting, Inc., stresses the critical role that the sales professionals
play in being in front of a prospective buyer at the time they have a need. Sa-
lomon notes that while he might meet an attorney (prospective buyer) at a
function and talk with that prospect extensively at that time, if there is no
immediate need for FTI™s services, that prospect is most likely not going to
remember Salomon and FTI when a need arises three months or one year
down the line. The sales professional, on the other hand, is trained to iden-
tify prospective buyers on a regular basis and, in an ideal situation, can get in
front of prospects when the need is hot.12
112 The Front Office: Driving Sales and Growth

Mining Your Firm™s Consultants
Mining your firm™s consultants equates to knowing who and what you are
selling. John Salomon notes that a key role of the sales professional is to “as-
semble the best client service delivery team.”13 To do this, the sales organi-
zation must have intimate knowledge not only of the key practice and service
areas, but of the practice leaders and consultants within those practice
areas.
There are a number of processes, all communication based, that you can
institute to help your sales professional mine your firm™s consultants:


• Regular meetings: When your firm is small, hold regular meetings
where client service and sales professionals get together and discuss
what they™ve done. As your firm grows, regular networking opportuni-
ties and attendance at national sales meetings provide good discussion
and networking forums. In addition to information exchange, meetings
provide opportunities for the client service professionals to get to know,
respect, and trust the sales professionals.
• Relationships with client service leaders: One of the most direct routes
to locating the best consultant for the client need is to ask the senior
practitioner in a practice area: Where do I find this skill set? For rela-
tionships to form, meetings and networking are essential.
• E-mail: A simple use of technology is the firmwide e-mail distribution.
When searching for the ideal consultant for a new business meeting, the
sales professional can quickly send out an e-mail to the firm or a partic-
ular practice area, providing some background on the potential deal and
indicating what skills he or she is looking for (e.g., a senior practitioner
who has experience in intellectual property damages in the auto after-
market industry).
• Intranet knowledge database: A more sophisticated use of technology is
the creation of an intranet (internal) knowledge database that main-
tains updated information on the firm™s consultants. Ideally, the sales
professionals can search this database on key criteria such as region,
service experience, industry experience, and other more qualitative in-
formation, such as average client engagement size. This information
will help the sales professional put together the best team for a particu-
lar client.
• Decision matrix: At FTI, the sales professionals found that the practi-
tioners were able to speak clearly in relation to what they did, but they
could not talk about themselves in relation to the client or in a way that
was helpful or appropriate for sales professionals. To meet this commu-
nication gap, the FTI sales organization developed a matrix that asks
key questions and helps sales professionals to “mine” their client service
professionals:
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Sales Management

”Who is your ideal prospect (client)?
”What are the client™s decision triggers?
”What are the typical questions you get asked on a sales call?
”What is the marketplace competition for your service area?
”What is the structure/process associated with a typical sales call?
”What are the steps in your typical sales cycle?
”How do we price your services?
”Includes frequently asked questions the practitioner receives from
client prospects.
Communication is the cornerstone of effective mining. It is important
that sales professionals and client service teams get to know each other and
build relationships on mutual respect and trust. It is this integration that will
help sales professionals to identify and pull together the best team based not
only on skill and expertise but also on working style.


Measurement
When thinking about measurement, there are two distinct questions: How
much does it cost the firm, on average, to win a significant piece of new
business? How do I measure the success of my sales organization?
The costs associated with closing a new business deal in the professional
services environment are complex. One approach is to measure your sales
success in terms of efficiency. Your sales professionals, in this environment,
touch many people; and you can assess how many calls were initiated, pre-
sentations delivered, and deals closed. Another approach measures effective-
ness. In measuring effectiveness, understanding your sales cycle and how
much resource investment, in terms of time and money, it costs to get to the
end of the deal is the overarching issue. Measuring effectiveness is difficult,
and it can be even more difficult in an environment in which professionals
and salespeople are often in reactive mode and responding to requests for
proposal (RFPs) and other reactive sales efforts. In this environment, the
professional services firm is spinning its resources to respond to a client
prospect in a relatively short time and invest a significant number of hours
and money into winning new business. In this selling environment, it is diffi-
cult to step back and honestly assess how much it costs to bring in a deal and
then measure the cost of sales in relation to that figure. The challenge for
your particular firm is to assign some costs to time and touches. How much
time does it usually take for us to close a deal, and how many times do we
need to touch the prospect within this time period? Then, the question be-
comes: How do we economically touch and educate a reasonable number of
prospects to reach our revenue goals?
Once you determine the costs associated with selling, you can more accu-
rately predict the investment the firm will need to make in sales to achieve
114 The Front Office: Driving Sales and Growth

set revenue goals. Two metrics you can use to measure the success of your
sales organization are cost of sales and revenue. Your sales managers should be
compensated based on these two metrics; this ensures that the managers
work both to control the costs associated with selling and to drive revenue.


Support Systems, Processes,
and Technologies
Technology is central to good selling and good sales management; this chap-
ter has touched on many sales and management processes, most enabled by
technology. As you begin to form your sales organization, a crucial question
will be: What technology do I need? The software that you choose will be
distinct based on your firm™s current technology, the structure and size of
your sales and marketing organizations, your unique sales process, and, most
importantly, how your sales and client service professionals actually work.
Choosing the right technology is important and at times difficult. Kevin
Hoff berg, of Decision-Quality, LLC, states, “For the most part, technology
for sales organizations is a miserable failure.”14 This failure primarily results
from a lack of understanding about how people work. Organizations often
purchase and implement technology solutions to improve productivity or
streamline processes without understanding what sales and client services
professionals do on a day-to-day basis. If you have done the work suggested
in previous chapters, you have a good understanding of your sales process;
you have worked to integrate your sales, marketing, and consulting profes-
sionals; and you know a bit about how your people work. This is the first step
in ensuring a successful technology implementation. To help you further
along the technology journey, this section marks a path through the layered
world of technology to help you evaluate your options.

Layer 1: Create access. Of prime importance is your professionals™ ability
to communicate and to communicate remotely. Thus, the first technology
layer enables access”access to clients and colleagues. To facilitate com-
munication, every firm should have e-mail. After this rudimentary step,
the communications challenges mount. Sales professionals, who spend
much of their time out of the office, need the ability to remotely access,
send, and receive e-mail; do text messaging; and make telephone calls. For
any size firm, remote access technology, such as the Blackberry, is rapidly
becoming a cost of entry. Your firm must invest in this technology if you
want your sales professionals to be available and responsive to clients and
prospects. Over time, you might consider providing your sales profession-
als with laptops or PDAs that enable remote access to documents or hard-
ware with Wi-Fi access. It is important that sales managers investigate the
latest technologies. Sales professionals will be hungry for communication
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Sales Management

technology that improves their access to clients, colleagues, and their
work, and they will actively use it.
Layer 2: Find ways to share. This layer is collaboration. Every professional
services firm needs to share information in a way that allows sales and
client service professionals to access collective wisdom and knowledge.
This collaboration helps professionals to mine data, build client service
teams, and create more compelling sales presentations. But, how do I col-
laborate? Before you can answer these questions, you need to examine how
people work.

How do they work? Most likely, both your professionals and salespeople
spend most of their time using office automation/desktop tools such as MS-
Outlook, MS-Word, MS-Excel, and MS-PowerPoint. After all, these profes-
sionals are in the business of communicating and building documents. Now,
management decides that the firm needs to share information and monitor
customer and pipeline data and asks sales and client service professionals to
jump to another console to input numbers. This approach will not work”
there will be resistance. In a call center environment, you can configure a
CRM tool, such as Siebel, so that the call center sales professionals can do all
of their work within that system. But, if you work for FTI, an advertising
firm, a law firm, or any other professional services firm, you will be hard
pressed to get your professionals to jump from Outlook or PowerPoint to an-
other console. They just won™t go there.
So, what is the solution? There is no simple answer; however, there are
some guidelines and tips that you can follow. The decision about what tech-
nology you need is driven by complexity. Access is the first and most critical

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