If your company is looking to improve its B2B commerce strategy hiring an outside consultant can help. Businesses often choose to hire a B2B commerce consultant to achieve lasting results over a shorter timeframe than its in-house team.
However, you must choose the right B2B commerce consultant for your company. Here are 7 factors to consider when choosing a B2B commerce consultant to work with.
1. A Strategic Expert or a Functional Specialist
There are two basic types of B2B commerce consultants who can help your companies digital marketing strategy: the strategic expert and the functional specialist. Both serve different purposes.
The strategic consultant focuses on key strategic issues that your company is facing. This person will advise you and empower you to make the changes you need to turn change.
A functional specialist brings specific technical skills to the table but operates differently. A functional specialist is more of a support resource who provides tactical compliance and alignment with your companies stated goals.
The first type of consultant tends to have a background as a CEO or senior executive and the later is usually a compliance officer, human resources professional, or even a CPA.
These are two very different types of consulting. Take a look at what your business needs and make the appropriate choice of who to hire.
2. Look at Their References
It is always important to look at references and reviews. You want a consultant who has B2B commerce experience but is also easy to work with.
When you look at reviews and references online and provided by the consultant make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
Take a look at work they have completed in the past for companies in your industry or that are relatively the same size as your company to get a good idea of what it will be like to work with them.
Some excellent sources for recommendations include your peers, past clients, current clients, professional associations you belong to.
If you are hiring a consulting firm, be sure to check out the references of the individual consultant you will be working with as well as the firm. This will show you how the firm and the consultant handle business and if they are easy to work with.
3. Choose an Area of Focus
Many commerce business consultants focus on managing existing business operations of your company and reducing bottom-line costs. Reducing expenses, improving operational efficiency, and enhancing quality are all examples of the bottom of the line focus.
If you are looking for a consultant to help with business growth you are focused on achieving results at the top of the line of the company. This could be new go-to-market strategies, new product introductions, sales and marketing strategies, or positioning.
Each of these approaches will take different strategies so be sure you are clear on where your business needs help before contacting a consultant.
4. Assess Their Knowledge
It’s important to hire a consultant who knows what they are doing. Often this can be difficult to prove.
Take a look at their experience, education, professional organizations they belong to, and certifications to help you determine if the consultant has the right type of experience you are looking for.
If you are looking for a consultant who can help increase Internet traffic ask about the types of projects they have worked on in the past involving organic or paid search.
If the consultant has prior experience in the area your company is looking to boost this is a good sign.
Additionally, consider working with a consultant who is a member of trade organizations or professional organizations in your industry.
Professional organizations can help consultants keep up to date on the latest industry news and help them to better understand your company’s goals.
5. Make Sure Your Consultant is Focused
There are many professional consultants and consulting firms that offer other services besides consulting. For example, if your company was hiring a marketing consultant it would be best to work with a marketing consultant than a marketing agency that also offers marketing consulting services on the side.
This way you know that consulting is their primary focus and they will focus on your commerce strategy. A firm that has other streams of income may try to identify every problem your company is facing that they can solve for you. Whereas a consultant will get the job done that you hired them to do.
Stay focused and hire a business commerce consultant that primarily sells consulting services.
6. Ask About Their Process
You want to get inside your consultant’s head a little bit and figure out their processes. What is the proposed scope of work? When can they finish the job? What type of software are they using?
Usually, a commerce consultant will present your company with a proposal outlining all the details of the project. This is a great practice for expensive and complex projects because it clearly defines the expectations and allows you to see how your consultant will work to solve your problems.
Make sure you understand everything in the proposal before you agree to it: from simple things like how they plan to target an audience to complex situations such as the timeline.
Everyone should agree on the costs, deadlines, fees, travel, and support costs associated with the work before beginning.
7. Look at Your Company’s Priorities
Once you have reviewed all of the above information determine which consultant has the qualifications you are looking for to achieve results. You can even share the decision making the responsibility with colleagues to allow them to weigh in on the decision process.
At the end of the day, chose the commerce consultant who will put your business’s priorities first.
Choosing a B2B Commerce Consultant
Choosing a B2B commerce consultant can be confusing and time-consuming. Look for these 7 factors to help your company make the best decision.
6 Street Technologies (6Street) is a certified Salesforce Partner who provides expertise and guidance to companies looking to scale and make good use of their investment.
6Street will work to be your trusted advisor and help your business navigate the evolving technology landscape and changing consumer expectations.
Request a free consultation with 6Street today to learn how we can help you achieve your business commerce goals.