Consulting firms need to be specialists in their field and also be excellent public relations, but they must also take care of marketing, sales, and administration. Business consulting and technology services are in high demand in 2021 and beyond. Find out more about this topic below.
There are many types of consulting companies. However, whether it is advising new strategies, solving a crisis, helping a company to gain efficiency, or proposing IT solutions, any consultant has to face the same challenges.
How to find new clients? What do the most faithful expect? How to acquire and retain talent in such a competitive market? What is the best way to keep track of time?
1. Attract new customers
Consulting firms are experts in their field, but they don’t have to be good salespeople or traders per se. However, small and medium-sized consultancies and independent consultants often have to embark on new projects to stay in the marketplace.
After all, consultants, by definition, are the problem solvers, they are the ones prepared to offer their help at the right time; But with the problem fixed, your mission is practically over. If word gets out that a consultant has done a fantastic job for a client, it will likely be the one that other clients call first for a future project. Although you cannot know when that will happen.
Consultants, consulting firms, and agencies who do not want to live in this insecurity must first overcome the challenge of creating a stable client agenda that can provide them with work all year round. So, to find that stability and growth, they look for creative ways to discover new businesses.
2. Retain old customers
“Some consulting firms claim they’ve never lost a client, but that’s just a bunch of bullshit,” says marketing guru and consultant trainer Neil Patel. And, of course, it is true: few companies always remain with the same consultancy. There are many reasons for that.
The first one is, above all, economic. If the going gets tough financially, a contract with a consultancy may be one of the first things not to be renewed.
Second, some clients have huge expectations, especially in the executive arena. They expect too much in too little time or they don’t see the added value in what is being offered. To establish lasting connections with a consultancy, that’s precisely the most important thing: to clearly show that what they get from professional advice is much more valuable than what it will cost them.
Furthermore, the relationship between the consultant and the client is very personal and needs frequent maintenance. Whether you work alone or in a team, your professional reputation will overshadow anything else. In other words, a good speech can win customers, but it is the impeccable –and proven– experience that makes them loyal.
“The relationship between the consultant and the client is very personal and needs frequent maintenance.”
3. Attract and keep new talents
Consultants have a demanding job. They travel frequently, their hours are very long and they must be reachable at all times, even outside of their working hours. The impact on your personal life is obvious. So it should come as no surprise that there is a lot of movement in this sector: there are people who choose to spend more time with their families, and, at the other extreme, those who often change companies to advance their careers.
It is a very competitive business. The European consulting firm market is forecast to grow 4% in 2021. With this momentum, comes a growing demand for new talent.
All of this has made strategic consulting firms a very popular career path. Although that is very good news for the sector, it indirectly promotes more, if possible, job change.
What does that mean for small consultancies that want to grow? Well, they face the great challenge of finding and keeping talents in a highly competitive market where there are many job offers. With each advisor who goes missing, you run the risk of losing your client portfolio as well.
4. Time Management
Consultants typically charge by hours, expenses, and/or work performed; which means that time and expenses must be properly justified, and projects and tasks diligently verified before any invoice is issued and the client pays for services rendered.
However, few consultants enjoy this part of the job. His strength is analyzing situations and starting projects, as well as sharing his knowledge; not writing long reports or filling out service sheets. They are seldom good accountants or virtuous clerks. Also, the fact that many of the timekeeping methods are outdated and difficult to use doesn’t help either.
Some consulting firms that work for agencies or small firms even distrust time control and see it as an instrument of power. But, nothing is further from the truth, time tracking offers advisors a clear view of exactly what they did and for whom, as well as insight into the inner workings of their business. And customers, in turn, appreciate that transparency that makes the difference.
The question is how can consulting firms control time more easily, efficiently, and rigorously, and without giving that Big Brother feel.