Growing a sustainable consultancy business is not an easy feat.
The marketplace is competitive, making it stand out from the noise—and retain a solid clientele.
Sure, you can increase the size of your client base with the right strategies but what do you do when you’re not able to manage all of them?
Well, if you’ve been maxing out your productive hours, burning out your resources, and failing to deliver A-grade services…
Good news! Your consultancy biz has reached the next stage in its lifecycle: the growth stage. ????
That said, before you scale your consultancy, you should streamline your business for efficiency—and this is where tech comes into play.
Scaling your business through tech-powered solutions can make your consultancy sustainable and efficient in the long run.
In this article, I’ll break down how to use tech to scale your consulting business and do a brief exploration of the tools you can use to get started.
Table of Contents
- Why tech is the way to go
- What to consider before scaling your consultancy
- Where and how to use tech to scale up
- Go smart with scaling
Why tech is the way to go
Growing your consultancy business can be a monumental task if you don’t have a structured plan to go about it.
There are a lot of challenges one should be ready to face. To test new business models, build a bigger and more developed team and invest a great deal of your time and money into your business.
You have to be ready to do new things and go one step further to improve your offering.
But ask yourself: why are you scaling up? What is your end goal?
The primary reason consultancies look to grow is to build their leads.
There are a number of ways you can do this. For example, by integrating a sales funnel model with your site strategy, you can transform it into a lead-generating machine.
If that sounds complicated to you, that’s because you haven’t factored in the tools that will make the process easier.
This is where leveraging tech comes in.
Tech is a crucial component to streamlining your consultancy’s functions to boost your leads. Used wisely, it has the power to increase efficiency and cultivate a culture of productivity and growth that can lead to greater profits.
For example, if you decide to make this a strategic objective for your consultancy as it grows, there are a number of tech powered lead-gen tools that you can choose from.
While we’re on the topic, I recommend checking out LeadFeeder’s guide on lead generation for more information on the same.
As you decide to scale your consultancy business, it’s also important that you list out your low-value and high-value activities. Your team should focus on the high-value activities that can boost your ROI in the long run (think: sustainable growth). Manual and repetitive tasks should be automated to save time and money.
Using tech in your scaling process will also strengthen the foundation of your consultancy and what you can do next to best meet your clients’ needs.
What to consider before scaling your consultancy
Depending on the model you choose to scale your consulting business and the very nature of the business you run, there are certain factors that will influence the tech you invest in at this stage.
It’s important for you to have a business development plan ready. Independent consultancies often lack a solid plan of action and this can make or break their operations to scale. There have to be quantifiable goals for you to work toward.
The tech that will enable you to help achieve these goals can differ.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you decide on what tech to invest in at this stage of your consultancy’s life cycle.
Who is your target market?
As you scale, do you plan on serving new markets and expanding your consultancy’s offerings?
How do you plan to reach your new target customers and draw them in? What will your lead magnet be? How will you engage and manage the expectations of your current customer base as you scale up?
Depending on your customer target goals, the tech tools you can choose from will vary.
For example, you might be looking to generate buzz about your consultancy prior to or during the initial stages of your consultancy’s scaling. You can do this by engaging with your customers through platforms like social media or interactive quizzes.
Depending on your goals for customer engagement, your tech needs will differ.
A good way to assess what your customers want is by creating a scalable version of your consultancy’s offering in the form of a product.
For example, if your consultancy focuses on the area of digital marketing, you can create an online course.
If you have actionable insights that can form a foundation for your target market, you can sell a guide through a form of an ebook.
This is a smart way to make some passive income by ‘productizing’ your consultancy services while simultaneously demonstrating your expertise in your niche.
Assessing the responsiveness and participation from your target market will also help you gauge how to take greater steps to scale further.
How will you scale your HR function?
Before you consider the tech tools to leverage, it’s important you understand the current capacity of your workforce and how you plan on expanding your manpower as you scale.
Are you currently operating as a solopreneur but wish to hire subcontractors to scale? Or do you wish to hire full-time experts in your field to address growing client needs?
Employee onboarding can make or break the success of your scaling efforts. You have to budget for the amount of time your new headcount will spend in training and integrating to your grown business model.
Tech can help drive this process along through the use of HR software that can redirect your employees efforts from manual tasks to value-add activities.
Where can you automate?
What tasks in your consultancy function are frequent, repetitive and manual in nature?
As a consultancy, you probably have a set process down to streamline the efforts you take to meet client requirements in an efficient manner.
By listing out the tasks of this nature, you can define the Standard Operating Procedures of your consultancy.
Having this reference will also help identify where you can hire subcontractors or leverage tech tools to get work done.
As you scale up, you can also refer to these processes and build upon them in line with your new goals.
Where and how to use tech to scale up
You have your expansion plan ready and it’s time to get growing.
How can tech help make this process easier for you?
Here are a couple areas where tech tools can help you streamline different aspects of your consultancy as you scale.
Marketing automation and solutions
One of your consultancy’s areas that will be greatly impacted as you decide to scale is the marketing function.
Your marketing plan will evolve and account for newer strategies in various areas: client engagement, client onboarding, increasing brand visibility and more.
For example, you’ll start exploring tactics to grow and find new clients together with growing consultancy business model.
It is essential that you focus on the areas that drive value and high importance during your scaling stage. And how can tech help you with that?
This is where marketing automation tools.
Marketing automation tools will remove the hassle and time spent on repetitive and redundant tasks, freeing up your energy to focus on the decisions that drive strategic value to your scaling. T
There are tools available in a number of areas to cater to different aspects of your marketing function. These include:
- Email marketing campaigns
- Online ad placements
- Social media posts and content generation
- Data analytics
By opting for marketing automation, you can engage with your customers on a more personalized basis through a choice of content forms that work best to create loyal and long-lasting connections.
And you can do all of it while saving time, money and the effort needed for manual operations.
Innovate client engagement activities with tech
Apart from the functional areas of your consultancy like marketing and HR, tech can also help on a more granular level.
Think of the daily tasks you perform as you engage and deliver solutions to your clients.
Here are three small but significant use cases of tech-driven tools for your consultancy.
Propose success with the right software
You’re pitching to a series of new clients as you scale up your consultancy. They’ve heard about you in the market but they haven’t been won over yet by your brand name.
What do you do?
Draft a killer proposal.
While this is an area you may have strengths in already, as you scale, your attention may be divided among the various areas you have to focus on. Other processes may be weighing you down.
This could be the time for proposal software to shine. There are a number of tools you can choose from, each offering different functionalities.
Some help you whip up a professional proposal faster using ready-made content at cheaper price offerings. Others may focus on the more visual aspects, offering a number of templates and design-specific tools to make your prop
Depending on your proposal-crafting style, you may lean to one over the other. Choosing proposal templates that fit can make this task easier and less stressful.
Present better and smarter
Your pitch has been accepted by your prospective client and now they’re looking forward to the next stage of engagement.
It’s time for you to whip out your awesome presentation skills, which at this point, should be embedded into your daily working life in the consulting field.
Tech can help you get there through the use of presentation software that can ensure yours is on point in every way possible.
Your presentation should be simple, relevant and demonstrative of your expertise while showing your client why you are the best option to meet their needs.
Using presentation softwares can not only help you construct one that transforms the way you engage and connect with your client but help you do it faster.
At the scaling stage, you may not have as much time to dedicate to individual presentations. Tech enabled solutions can help make this process easier by helping you customize and design presentations faster while not compromising on their quality.
Track your growing client commitments
Did you know that 85% of organizations believe that AI/project management software will significantly change the way they do business in the next five years?
Project management is an essential component to stay on top as you scale and grow your business.
You cannot lose sight of your bigger goal: meeting your client needs. As you grow, so will customer demands and the workload you take on to deliver to them.
An example of a popular project management tool is Monday. It helps manage and keep track of deadlines, allocate responsibilities and increase transparency between your team.
This is especially crucial as you hire more employees and also manage your existing ones.
You can customize your workflow depending on your growing project needs and use visual tools to create dashboards.
Monday helps ensure a smooth workflow remains and also provides output reports to track your scaling progress.
Like Monday, there are a number of alternative project management softwares available in the market. Finding the best one for your consultancy’s scaling needs is important.
Get your clients on board with your new model
Your consultancy is growing and you’re excited about it. It won’t come as a big surprise to you that your clients, both new and old, will have expectations too.
As your business model evolves, it’s natural for the delivery of your services to grow with it. Your clients may have questions if you start to change things around. They might be used to your ‘old way’ of doing things.
This is where client onboarding comes in.
Nurturing your relationship with your client at this stage is absolutely crucial to the success of your scaling efforts. The client might not be on the same page as you and it’s your job to get them there.
Onboarding will also get both parties on the right terms and with a plan of action that suits both your needs. Keeping your client assured that they made the right choice in choosing you is key as you scale and do not compromise on their needs.
Personal interaction is the way to go at this stage but there are onboarding tools available to make the process smoother.
For example, you can still retain your personal interaction through a video-enabled onboarding session when your clients utilize your new and improved service after you’ve scaled.
You can use email management software to send regular updates through a newsletter, phasing out the next stage of your consultancy’s offerings in a way that makes them feel at ease.
No matter the approach you choose to take, there are tools available to make the process easier for you.
Go smart with scaling
Growing your consultancy is not a straightforward process.
You remember the challenges of getting your business started and scaling up is no easier. You’ll have to avoid costly errors while meeting your client’s needs and improving your productivity.
Leveraging tech is a wise decision but finding the perfect fit for your consultancy model can take some time and exploration.
Depending on the nature of your consultancy, your scaling model and your financial feasibility, your tech needs will change.
However, as long as you have a clear plan and understanding of where you want to take your consultancy business, the scaling process will be that much smoother.
Tech is an enabler and driver to your consultancy’s transformation. Use it to get your consultancy to the winning picture you want for it faster.
What tech tools do you prefer to use when scaling your consultancy? Let us know in the comments.