Companies shopping for IT resources often take a commodity approach: “Give me 100 resumes. I will select the best 10 percent, and I will pay them by the hour.” They want to maintain control over what is done, when it is done and how it is done.
That model, known as "body shopping," definitely doesn’t work well for the service provider, and may be worsened by sales people who tend toward the point of least resistance. It also is not the best solution for many customers, who would be wise to buy a total solution to their specific problem and not just the tools to create a solution.
The organization of your sales team must address issues for how you structure your service packages, how you price them and how you differentiate them from competitors. Part of that is optimizing your client size to your organization. Larger service providers, for example, typically would not be set up to encourage their staffs to go after small deals because of the high overhead in maintaining the accounts and keeping customers happy.
Your structure and processes also must address the differences between acquiring a customer and establishing a long-term relationship. That requires, of course, hiring the right people and training them well.
Rewarding sales people on, say, total contract value (TCV) can be a good idea because you can generate large backlog of orders. But a company also can lose money if the per-hour billing is for low-priced services.
Some major India-based firms, for instance, compensate sales staff based on both TCV and revenue, but not on margin. For such publicly traded companies, a key goal is to generate profits, which is driven by high margins. Companies need to align their compensation plans with broad corporate goals.
The sale of IT services is a partially technical discipline. Sales staff members, obviously, must have sales skills and service offering knowledge, but they also must have knowledge and technical skills enough to take a consultative approach with clients. They must be able to translate customer needs into packaged services offerings that will solve customers’ problems. So:
Typically, consultancy sales happen in person. It is very difficult to sell services by phone. In a big country like the United States, or for globally oriented businesses, travel gets expensive quickly.
How can you organize your sales efforts to take advantage of placing key sales and pre-sales personnel near your clients, versus flying people in from India, China or Russia? Optimizing the size and scale of your team is an important step.