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Should consultancy businesses be more sales or operations driven?

Roger Frederick's Profile

Answers

Topic Expert
Joseph Ori
Title: CEO
Company: Paramount Capital Corporation
(CEO, Paramount Capital Corporation) |

I own a real estate/financial advisory firm and sales is the key. Without a proactive sales program the operations are meaningless.

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

Roger, if operations refers to delivery or execution of client project, I think consultancy business is built on "referencible clients" and referrals. Depending on the business cycle you are in, the emphasis will shift to operations while always having sales being a core focus as well (perhaps 40% sales 60% delivery; or even 30/70 depending if the contracts are larger and longer-term). Hope this helps.

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Consultancy is all about Sales. Selling to obtain new clients and selling to retain current clients. A reference is simply a valuable warm lead. How good you are at selling will be directly related to the success of your business.

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

A sales organization should have a sales team and be focused on selling. The back office will spend almost all its time supporting the sales team and the consultants in the field. Usually you will find that Accounting Department opersations are last on the list of importance.

If set up properly, the whole organization should support the sales function, time keeping, and billing processes. Payroll integration into the billing system can help.

You need a sales focus more than you need office furniture and if you are doing it properly those sales people are rarely in the office.

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

I agree partially that the business is sales driven, but sales will dry up pretty quickly if you aren't executing. In my experience in a consulting business, we counted on starting a project and getting more and more business from that single customer and getting additional business because we did such a good job. Good operations beget more business. We started one project with a multi-national company that was a 6 month project. Four years later, we were still at this account generating revenue as the customer realized the value we were adding.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Ever notice how your business plan is laid out? Marketing/Sales comes way before a fuller explanation of Operations is provided.

It is the old Chicken and the Egg story, which came first. We may never know, but in today's world, if you want another chicken, you have to start with an egg. The egg is sales, for without obtaining customers, you have nothing to sell.

Once your sale is complete, if your product is sub-standard, then that will affect the sales cycle, but you need that customer first.

Joshua Hurni
Title: Account Exec
Company: AMS
LinkedIn Profile
(Account Exec, AMS) |

As a sales person myself I would much rather work in a sales driven organization and do believe is key to early success.

On the other hand, if your costs exceed revenue or your utilization rates are so high that the quality of your work suffers you will have big problems over the long haul.

Reputation is such a key part of this business and once you have a bad one it will be hard for your sales team to overcome.

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