IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Turning Your Salespeople into Consultants: Your Pathway to Success

Use the ultimate sales methodology of “business guidance” to create stickier customer relationships, greater revenue, and higher channel productivity. By Keith Lubner

Many organizations need to change their sales approaches, and by default their salespeople, into something more consulting focused. The big question is how do they accomplish this transformation?  

First, let’s address why the organization needs to change. Very simply, the prospect buying process has changed, forcing salespeople to change with it. Prospects and existing customers are savvier because of the Internet and social media. Additionally, salespeople are too focused on selling product and they are stuck in the “old” ways of selling. Think about it. For the past 20 years, salespeople have been trained to ask prospects about their pain points. And, for the past 20 years, prospects have been hearing this pitch. While still relevant in many regards, there is now a missing piece when it comes to selling, especially as it relates to cloud and mobile technologies. We call this piece “business guidance,” and it is rooted in the principle of a salesperson morphing into more of a trusted adviser who offers business guidance. The results can be extraordinary—stickier customer relationships, greater short- and long-term profits, and more loyal clients. 

This transformation must stem from the commitment of management to infuse their particular organization with a vision. Once the “mandate” is set forth, salespeople can buy into business guidance methodologies. Until then, they will always try the old ways, with not as much success as they could potentially realize.  

The “science” of this movement is the actual methodology of business guidance. We do not propose a wholesale replacement of your sales approach. There are still some good and relevant areas within strategic or solution selling. We advise organizations to insert business guidance into the mix, which allows the salesperson to switch modes during the sales process—ultimately guiding the prospect or existing customer toward unrecognized business needs. The result: showing the prospect other areas that they can redeploy resources (and funds) to. This is highly relevant in cloud- and mobility-based technologies because salespeople are now being taught to discuss shifting costs from capital expenses (CAPEX) to operational expenses (OPEX). And, of course, the salesperson is in prime position to help them!  

Make your organization better by making your salespeople more efficient and effective—driving them to deeper pipelines and more opportunities. 


Keith Lubner ([email protected]) is managing partner of Channel Consulting Corp, a global consulting organization focused on channel strategy, design, enablement, outsourcing, and training for growing companies. For more information about Keith and his organization, visit Keith and Ken Thoreson of Acumen Management have developed a comprehensive program on business guidance. Contact Keith if you are interested in learning more.


Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, his consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world. He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2014. Ken has written five books, and latest is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers. Ken provides keynotes, consulting services, and products designed to improve business performance. Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project. Contact him at [email protected] or visit Read his blog at

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