If you are wrapping up the fiscal year, one of two things are happening. You are either feeling really good about how your sales team is finishing up 2016 or you are trying to figure out how not to repeat the same problems next year.

Research shows that using a third-party expert to customize and ramp up your organization’s sales processes, tools and content will drive high-impact results. Research conducted by the Aberdeen Group shows that best-in-class sales organizations are 61% more likely to turn to outside consultants or trainers for assistance in coaching their reps to success.How do you make sure your investment dollars are well spent? Here are some key things to think about before picking a partner to help you reach your sales goals.

Customized to Your Company

Any sales initiative needs to build on the foundation you already have in place. Think “draft in”, not “rip and replace”. Cookie-cutter approaches may work to an extent, but to drive real results you need something that is customized to your sales organization and your unique buyers. Keep what’s working. Fix what isn’t.

A Focus on Cross-Functional Alignment

Your customer engagement process is a critical component to the success of your sales organization. With today’s subscription economy and the digital buyer, it’s never been more important to ensure that your entire company is aligned behind the value you provide, how you capture that value, and what makes your solution different than your competitors. In order to drive lasting results, any partner you hire should build synergy between sales and other customer-facing departments such as marketing, services, product, etc.

Drives Executive Ownership

When executives own the process, they can drive the necessary results. Executives and managers should play an integral role in the content and planning that surrounds the initiative. This ownership also allows company sales leaders to analyze the value of the partnership on an ongoing basis, while ensuring continued engagements match your organization’s culture and contribute to overall goals. Your sales transformation partner should help drive success, but the ownership of the initiative should remain with internal sales leadership.

A Plan to Measure Success

Ensure your partner has a defined way to measure success of the initiative. Measurement should be built in to the offered methodology to ensure you receive a comprehensive program that continually provides necessary feedback to benchmark success. If you’ve got a plan to measure results, you lay the groundwork for implementing true change and not one-off success.

Remember, a third party needs you to thrive in order to sustain their own success. If they can’t provide references or proof of results, they aren’t going to be able to drive new business. They also have the benefits of executing patterns of success. They know what needs to be done to replicate the success they’ve achieved in other companies. True transformation partners are committed to your results.