IBM became legendary for impressing large corporate clients by calling on them with a team of salespeople, each member an expert in one of the customer's particular computing needs. Small companies without an enormous sales force can look bigger and more experienced by hiring a consultant part-time to go along on sales calls.
Beth Armknecht, owner of MA& A Group, a $4-million information-systems consulting firm in Atlanta, went one step further and hired someone full-time from a prominent consulting company to add depth to her sales team. "There are a lot of people who are sick of traveling and are willing to take a reduction in pay to avoid the travel," she observes.
Other small companies bring along salespeople from big-name suppliers who will be involved in filling the order. Bill Theriault, vice-president of Precision Components, in Peterborough, N.H., observes, "as much as a big-name client likes you and your company, chances are they like doing business with another big brand name more."