How to develop your consulting company?

Professional service automation 
Shannon M August 18, 2020
  1. Making yourself known: Outbound and Inbound marketing
  2. Expose and develop your expertise
  3. Focus on the customer experience

At the heart of a complex and constantly evolving economy, consulting companies are characterized by their very different profiles in resonance with a very competitive market. Indeed, each year, activities in the sector grow significantly, peaking at 12% in 2018 after 6 years of consecutive increase. Even after a decline in activity in 2020 (-11.4%), the consulting market continues to evolve thanks to new trends. This allows the activity to, little by little, continue to grow.

The Big Four (Deloitte, PwC, Ey and KPMG) alone account for 37.4% of the global market. The top 10 consulting firms are in possession of up to 56.6% of the total market. This is why the smallest remaining structures must demonstrate responsiveness and intelligence in order to find a place for themselves and remain competitive. The growth of a consulting company depends on sales and marketing strategies, the adoption of which is crucial.

A consulting firm, after having identified its target market, its niche and a perfect client profile, must take the lead in order to boost its growth.

1. Make yourself known: Outbound and Inbound Marketing

Peter Drucker, the “pope of management”, Austrian-American management professor and consultant, considers that “ The objective of marketing is to make selling superfluous. ". Thus, well branded, a product or service sells itself: it has become essential in the eyes of the customer.

If a consulting company is aware of its target audience, it will be able to refine its communication to adapt to its needs and present a truly tailor-made message to its clients.

Outbound Marketing: reaching out to prospects

Outbound marketing

How to gather the right audience?

With professional associations and federations, or other events such as seminars, trade fairs, workshops or even round tables. These are multiple opportunities for meetings and exchanges.

But making yourself known and exposing yourself to circles of potential customers first requires a regular and relevant presence on the web and social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Acting proactively, the consulting firm is thus omnipresent when its audience is looking for a solution to one of its problems and finds itself exposed to a wide range of choices and options.

Indeed, the Internet, unlike face-to-face networking, has multiplied the alternatives while offering more, more optimized comparisons. This makes the competition tougher and more based on the company's services than on its employees.

Once contact has been made, the key is to stay in the customer's mind. This requires, in addition to constant activity on the Internet, adjusted emailing (newsletters, invitations, publication of articles, etc.). You should not break the exchange once it has started. Therefore, the firm's website must directly expose a way to maintain this contact: subscribing to the newsletter or to social networks. This makes it easier to create engagement with the prospect.

Paid advertising on the internet or offline is also a possible marketing strategy to develop your consulting company.

Inbound Marketing: ensuring that prospects arise naturally

Inbound Marketing

Create quality content. This demonstrates the company's expertise in a specific niche and responds to the issues and developments in its field. It is also a way to clearly illustrate the capabilities of a consulting firm. Much more than popularization, these articles correspond to a discussion between experts. 

This content mainly takes the form of blog articles published in the blog/articles section of the firm's commercial site and hosted on a platform such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace or Posterous. These articles illustrate a constant updating and questioning of the expertise of the consulting company in addition to increasing activity, and therefore traffic, on the website. 

With appropriate SEO, this content becomes a real indirect commercial strategy. Indeed, clients click on the article, attracted by its content and land on the consulting firm's website. They are exposed to the relevance and expertise of a company with appropriate answers to their questions as well as a way of continuing the dialogue via the blog, the newsletter or even social networks. The visibility of the site increases, therefore increasing potential leads.

2. Expose and develop your expertise

In 2021, digital communication is all the rage and it can be difficult to stand out from others and highlight your expertise. The multiplicity of distribution channels can produce the opposite effect to that sought: visibility.

It’s up to you to choose your method and your supports. For a consulting activity, writing is often more suitable.

Once a consulting firm becomes aware of the type of clients and topics to prioritize, it is able to write a white paper that sets out its skills and expertise in its field of activity. A white paper, often in e-book format, answers a specific question. In the form of professional advice, it offers various answers and solutions.

A white paper can serve as a real practical guide dedicated to the services of consultants, positioning them as experts in their field. Mainly used in a B2B context, the white paper allows a particular company to stand out from its competitors, via technical capabilities on the one hand and via communication capabilities on the other. 

Communication of processes with target customers must also be developed and deepened. More than a brief overview, it is about explaining in depth the work cycle, from start to finish, and the services offered by the consulting company. The audience can thus be reassured and better understand why and how their money will be invested. 

These commercial strategies, in addition to demonstrating the expertise of the consulting firm, also make it possible to explain the exact role of the firm in the face of the various issues that clients face. Why is this specific consulting company a relevant answer to this or that question? The justification lies in targeted expertise and effective communication.

3. Focus on the customer experience

A consulting company, like all companies, requires improvement right down to its inner workings in order to reach its full potential. Indeed, it is fundamental for any consulting firm to equip itself with the appropriate tools in order to prepare to respond as effectively as possible to each of its client projects and to offer the most successful client experience possible.

This affects the reputation of the company, which can be spread by its customers spontaneously or in the form of comments on comparison sites, recommendations, etc. The customer becomes an ambassador of the consulting firm. It constitutes his first network of acquaintances and acquaintances.

Furthermore, in addition to having a proven track record in marketing and serving as information-rich indicators for prospects when they are exposed, past client testimonials are also crucial for the consulting firm to be able to evolve and calibrate with even more precision in its services. They inform it about the needs, criteria and requirements of its audience and allow it to continue to perfect its communication and marketing.

Faced with an economy in transition, consulting firms must react accordingly and adapt. The development of the Internet and connected markets increases the potential for each customer. A consulting company must therefore stand out through otherwise constant, regular, quality communication, suitable for the most used mediums, through up-to-date and challenged expertise and through a particularly qualitative customer experience.  

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