Consulting firms often suffer from their history. They are reluctant to admit that things have changed and that they must adapt. In their defense, unless they are in the IT field, the evolution of their actual consulting services has not transformed at the same speed as has the process by which prospects decide to buy those services. Strategic planning, for example, is still conducted much as it was years ago. It seems only rational to believe that marketing and sales activities have continued to evolve at a similar pace—but the fact is that they haven’t.
The smart phone and the internet have disrupted how prospects communicate and how they get information about consulting firms. This has made the traditional approach to marketing for consulting firms significantly less effective. When a salesperson must already have a relationship in place with someone before they will take their phone call, a radical and different approach is required. Further, when a salesperson finally gets to speak with a prospect, they discover that the prospect already knows their own needs, the desired approach to the engagement, and the likely costs - they are more than half way through with the buying decision! At this point, the consulting salesperson realizes that they are too late to the party and have a slim chance of winning the business.
The following are the 3 most common mistakes we see consulting firms make in new client acquisition as they attempt to adapt to a radically changed marketing environment.