I was at a small business seminar last week with about 400 other entrepreneurial business people. One of the speakers asked the audience how many of us have blogs and about 50% of the people in the room raised their hands. He asked how many had published a book and there were still about 100 hands raised. Then he asked how many people had a podcast and not a single hand remained.
When you hear about content marketing, writing books and even video are mentioned, but podcasting typically takes a backseat. It’s actually very easy to create a podcast. Step one, record some audio. Step two, upload to iTunes.
Podcasting offers an interesting avenue for business development. You can get the word out about your services and it gives you access to prospects that you may be interested in selling to. How? It gives you a great excuse to ask for an interview with a potential buyer of your services. I have had success using this method when I created a blog-based interview series for a former employer.
Here are a couple of examples of podcasts to get the ideas flowing:
Glenn Gow’s – Moneyball for Marketing – Also available on iTunes
Management Consulting News Podcast Series – Great content and advice
Key quotes from the Gartner report:
“The worldwide consulting services market grew 4.5% to $119.3 billion in 2013, from $114.1 billion in 2012. The top 10 consulting service providers combined grew at a faster pace of 6.7% compared with the overall market.”
“The top four consulting firms of Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG International held a combined 40.4% of the total consulting market and grew at an average of 8.4%.”
“…Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG International to embrace technology consulting and implementation to leverage their business consulting capabilities into the areas of business analytics, digital marketing and application implementation services…”
“Technology-enabling consulting services are particularly strong in risk management services found in the Big Four’s traditional assurance and advisory services, in addition to technology-centric services scattered among audit, tax and advisory services.”
For the full online report, including statistics, rankings and analysis, visit Market Share Analysis: Consulting Services, Worldwide, 2013.
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I recently sat down with one of my management consulting firm clients, who began describing his firm by telling me what a great entrepreneurial culture they had. I nodded politely waiting for more, but the conversation shifted to a description of qualifications and responsibilities for an open position with his firm. I brought the discussion back to the topic of the firm’s entrepreneurial culture, but had some difficulty figuring out how I would represent this to an experienced consulting candidate. Finally, he told me the story of a consultant who was promoted within a year of hire based on his outstanding performance. This made the younger employee a peer of consultants many years his senior; an opportunity he never would have had with his previous employer. Now, that got my attention.
Almost every management consulting client who I have ever worked with describes their firm’s culture in glowing terms. It makes sense. Everyone wants to work with great people in a place that treats their employees as valued team members. But simply describing a firm’s culture is not enough. In order to be effective, a firm must describe itself in terms that are memorable, substantiated, consistent and repeatable. Uniqueness is also helpful, but not essential. Let’s look at each point in turn:
1) Memorable. People tie memories to emotions and generally remember only a few feelings and concepts. So choose one or two specific areas to emphasize, and work on the clarity and emotional content of your message. What your message says is less important than how you convey it. Focus on distilling your message rather than creating a long list of what makes your consulting firm special.
Examples of memorable messages include: deep industry focus, high-level client access, rapid advancement tracks, above-market compensation, recognized thought leadership, differentiated sales messages, a reliable sales platform, rapid expansion, interesting project work, deep client relationships, as well as unusual benefits such as stock options, paid sabbaticals, low travel, or charitable involvement.
2) Substantiated. Simply stating the benefits of joining your firm does not make your claims believable. You need to convey proof through your actions, true stories, and social proof. Your time is better spent considering how to demonstrate your claims, rather than considering how many great attributes your firm has.
You can substantiate claims about your company by highlighting your firm’s recognition or awards, thought leadership, success stories relayed verbally or on a website, depth of discussion on a topic, preparedness, and demonstrations of positive traits such as punctuality or preparedness.
3) Consistent and repeatable. A memorable, substantiated message must also be easily repeatable in order to make a strong impression on candidates and to enhance a company’s employment brand. A few simple bullet points discussed repeatedly in staff meetings or sent in reminder emails before an interview day will help you convey your intended message so that you can ensure that your organization is perceived in the way you would like. Consistency and repeatability also help you qualify candidates because they help you both understand how aligned your values are.
4) Uniqueness (possibly) – Uniqueness is a great attribute to have, so it is worth a mention, but it is not a critical selling point. There are many similarities among consulting firms and so differences between firms in a specific area are usually subtle. Memorable firms do not need to promote uniqueness, but they must communicate powerfully, consistently, and truthfully in order to be most effective.
The best experienced management consultants will have multiple career options, and will have the capacity to effectively evaluate your message. Identify your strongest messages by brainstorming a list of all the positive traits, refining them to one or two standouts, and providing as much verifiable evidence for your claims as possible.
A knowledgeable recruiter may offer essential guidance based on his understanding of what will resonate most powerfully in the market for consulting talent.
Interested in learning more about the essentials to successfully recruiting management consultants?
Download our free 5-step guide and learn how to:
Engage the best candidates through your messages and screens
Lay the groundwork for an effective interview process
Save time and energy through advanced preparation
Create momentum to allow better hiring decisions
Prepare for successful integration and retention
Download the free 5 step guide to recruiting management consultants
Some great information stands the test of time and David Maister’s article, “How Clients Choose,” fits that category. The plot of the story is not so new…see things from your client’s perspective. In this case though, David delves deeper into the topic by walking step-by-step through the elements of a consulting sale. It can be difficult for management consultants to shift from expert mode to selling mode and here are some useful tips about how to do so. Read more…
A few weeks ago, I sat in a meeting with a prospect who was interviewing a few firms to help him hire a team of management consultants. I asked the hiring manager what would make a candidate want to join his firm, and he was surprised to hear a question that no other recruiter had asked him. I was taken aback by his statement because it is hard to imagine conducting an effective search without being able to describe the career case to a potential hire. While this situation represents an extreme case, many consulting firms do not consider how they appear from a candidate’s perspective.
The career case connects the overall direction of the organization to the reason for hiring and subsequently to the growth path for the position. When you take the time to consider and clearly state what your firm has to offer, you will stand apart from consulting firms that concern themselves primarily with their own needs. In addition, you can use this information to screen candidates more effectively. If a candidate’s aspirations do not fit the career case, then no amount of skill or experience can create a good fit. Understanding this element will also help you predict whether or not a candidate will accept an offer, and if he will remain with you after the initial excitement of joining your company wears off.
Recruiters, hiring managers, and other interviewers all must understand and convey the career case to each candidate. A consistent message will impress candidates by transmitting stability and alignment.Hiring managers and other interviewers must understand the career case in order to adjust screening criteria not found in a position description. For example, the candidate with the best interview skills, but who does not fit the career case may not meet your needs as well as a candidate with less impressive interviewing skills, who will be more satisfied with the growth potential that your firm offers.
The answer to the question, “Why would a candidate want to take this position?” may be simple or complex. In the case of a contractor, for example, the response typically focuses on compensation and the nature and length of the project. It may have to do with the prospect of a full-time position or travel considerations, but there does not need to be a strong connection to the business vision. Recruiting an experienced management consultant, by contrast, requires the creation of a tight link between vision and career case in order to help candidates understand the growth path within your firm.
Your ability to clearly articulate the career case will also enhance your company’s employment brand.Your position descriptions, job postings, and discussions about your firm highlight your vision and display compassion for your staff based on your understanding of their needs. Regardless of which stage your search is in, keeping your firm’s career case in mind will help you maintain focus on your needs instead of overreacting to the various hurdles that you may face in your search.
Interested in learning more about the essentials to successfully recruiting management consultants? Download our free 5-step guide:
If you don’t know about Source for Consulting, a leading provider of research about the management consulting market, then be happy you found this post! There is simply no better place to find information on the management consulting field—and no, they are not paying me to say this. A recent webinar sponsored by Source described the immense growth of the US management consulting market over the past two years. It now stands at about $42B, with a growth rate in excess of 5%. This is huge, especially when we consider that the amount of growth in the US market equals the size of the total French consulting market. This means that struggle to recruit management consulting talent will intensify, with the largest pain- point at the mid-levels. If you are interested in more information, check out Fiona Czerniawska’s blog post; to get an even fuller picture, listen to the 30 minute recorded webinar.
Recruiting Essential #1 – 3 critical reasons to consider your business case before hiring a management consultant
When facing a significant increase in client demand or the loss of one or more employees, it is easy for management consulting firms to react by rapidly hiring an experienced consultant. While hiring is the likely solution to the situation, the justification for the hire should not be based solely on gut instinct. Resisting the urge to make a rapid decision in order to review your business plan may seem like overthinking the problem, but it can be very useful for reasons beyond simply justifying the hire.
Smaller management consulting firms do not require long, written business cases. Focus on the financial and organizational benefits and risks to address these 3 critical questions:
- What will the financial impact be under the best and worst circumstances? On the positive side, this would include increased total revenue and profit from the ability to take on imminent projects, as well as the capture of new business in the medium term. Consider your recruiting costs and timeline in the calculations. On the negative side, don’t just consider lost revenues, but also consider lost billable hours and search costs, so that you are fully aware of the risks involved.
- How does the new hire fit with the overall vision for the company? Ad hoc hiring may bring short-term benefits, but those will disappear if the strategic purpose of the hire is lost in the need to satisfy a near-term client demand. Alignment between your search and your vision allows you to answer questions about the requirements of the position, the career path for the new hire, and the fit within the management consulting firm structure.
- How do you communicate the responsibilities, qualifications, and career case for hiring in the most powerful way possible? By creating a business case for your new hire and connecting it to the firm’s vision, your communication with your management team, interview team, recruiters, and candidates will flow much more smoothly than if the hire were based on simply reacting to circumstances.
Learn more about planning and executing a successful search by downloading our free 5-step guide to recruiting management consultants.