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Consulting firms: Ensuring growth under changed conditions

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

How to ensure the growth of your consulting firm in the current market environment


As a management consultancy, you need to adapt to the changing requirements and needs of your customers in order to be successful in the long term. There are several issue-driven trends that are influencing the market for management consulting today, in addition to the challenges posed by the economy:



Next-level topics from a clients' perspective 2022 (Source: https://cardea.ch/beratungsmarkt-trendstudie/)



Unmet expectations of customers

Customer expectations towards consulting companies have increased, especially with regard to these latest topics. To solve these challenges, clients expect their consultants to provide a combination of deep and broad (end-to-end) functional expertise, technological know-how, multidisciplinary problem-solving capabilities, and change expertise. Gaps between the expected skills of the customers and the performance of the consulting firms and thus also in the satisfaction of the customers with the consultants and the project results achieved suggest that the consulting firms currently fulfill this only to a limited extent.



Intransparency for customers due to information overload and a multitude of different offerings


In addition, customers still have difficulty recognizing the major differences between consultants when selecting external resources. The differentiation and at the same time visibility of consulting competencies, new services or methods, but also of the people who implement them, are often lacking clarity and therefore are difficult to compare in an increasingly competitive environment. The marketing and positioning methods are basically the same, but clarity of the service offering, credibility & continuity must be recognizable by the customer.



Strategic options for consulting firms


The strategic options for consulting companies to successfully survive in this environment are diverse, but also challenging. They can be outlined with the following measures:

  1. Analyze your positioning: Review your positioning and messaging. Make sure your services are communicated clearly and understandably and that your positioning is tailored to the needs of your target audience.

  2. Propose a clear and transparent value proposition: Make sure you offer clear expectations and value proposition. Explain your methodology and the value you provide to your customers.

  3. Promote innovation: Innovation is the key to future viability. Make sure you develop innovative ideas to offer your customers new and future-oriented solutions.

  4. Stay agile: Consulting companies also have to adapt quickly to changing conditions. You need to be able to respond quickly to new requirements and challenges. Make sure your company is flexible and agile and can adapt quickly to new conditions.

  5. Expand your expertise: customer challenges are increasingly complex and require an end-to-end view and multidisciplinary problem-solving skills (analytics, technology, customer experience, change, etc.) to develop sustainable and actionable solutions.

  6. Offer flexible delivery models: More than half of clients are looking for consulting firms that are flexible and offer new business models (https://cardea.ch/beratungsmarkt-trendstudie/). The role of consultants in the future will be to supplement the still important people business with flexible (hybrid) business models that are capable of delivering client-focused, creative, and technology-based outputs while ensuring profitability.

  7. Use state-of-the-art technologies: Use advanced technologies to deliver your services more effectively and efficiently. Use digital tools to automate your processes and improve communication with your customers.

  8. Leverage partnering: Expand necessary skills and expertise by building collaborations or ecosystems with consulting, tool providers, or agencies that can bring complementary skills to the table.

Customers will increasingly pay attention to both the functional capabilities of consulting firms but also to the "how" of working with consultants and the USP (added value and value proposition of consulting firms). By following the above steps, you can ensure that you are perceived accurately by your customers and that you have a differentiating positioning vis-à-vis your competitors.


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