Consulting Industry: Impact of COVID-19
- Professional consultants have several leads, customers, and potential customers. As a result, having a good CRM system tool is important.
- A proposal management software will increase the number of proposals sent out and significantly reduce unbillable hours and allow the consultant to focus on billable tasks.
- In the consultancy space, establishing credibility plays a key role in building trust and enhancing value. A consultant's online presence on their website, social platforms, blogs, LinkedIn content, and other professional platforms allows them to become a thought leader within their industry.
This research presents insights into how consultants or their sales representatives use various tech tools to sell their services. Our team has highlighted the importance of these tools in creating a competitive advantage and in promoting the services.
Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM)
- As the global COVID pandemic destabilized economies, in-person events rapidly declined and businesses across industries were instantly forced to rethink their processes. One critical aspect was the management of the customer relationship. Previously, networking events were ideal for sharing business cards and contacts. Today, there are tools that can scan cards and add the content to a spreadsheet and some can be integrated into a CRM.
- As consultants turn to calls and emails to interact with their networks and convert them into clients, they will need tools to track this communication and a CRM system is an ideal solution. These tools allow one to sift through the database based on the details of the individuals, track when they last spoke, the content of this conversation, and any previously completed projects. It allows one to filter through the database and identify the leads, customers, and evangelists.
- Consultants need to have a good CRM system because typically, they would be handling several clients at once. As such, having a tool that stores and tracks this information is of paramount importance. When choosing a CRM platform, one should ensure that it is customizable, has advanced analytic capabilities, and has a simple interface. These three factors are critical in ensuring that the tool is optimized.
- The modern consultant considers a CRM system an essential part of their business. This tool is ideal for marketing and advertising because it has the ability to manage interactions and to understand where the customer is at any given point of the relationship. This invaluable tool is ideal for generating leads, converting them, and addressing any issues faced by current customers.
- Examples include Salesforce, Zoho, Pipedrive, HubSpot, Bitrix24, and Apptivo.
Proposal Management Software
- The top freelancing consultants that have a steady stream of work are constantly sending out proposals for new projects. A proposal management software would be critical in managing where each proposal has been sent and when it was sent out. This tool is ideal in minimizing the effort required to respond to each proposal request.
- This allows the consultant to focus on billable tasks instead of unbillable ones as these tools provide templates that are reusable and customizable. Additionally, one can track each proposal by sending reminders for unopened proposals or to see which one have been opened. Examples here include "Nusii, Proposify, Quilr, and ClientPoint."
- These tools also ensure that the proposals are aesthetically pleasing, efficient, and easier for the client.
Electronic Contract Management Tool
- The restrictions that have limited people from meeting to signing contracts have been addressed by Electronic Contract Management tools. These tools have now become a necessity as they are used for electronic contracts and eSignatures. There are a number of state-of-the-art tools that present templates that can be edited and signed by the client from virtually anywhere in the world.
- These tools allow those that need to sign to use any device and also implement the highest levels of security. Examples here include PandaDoc and DocuSign. These tools would typically cost about $40 to $50 a month, which means that they are quite affordable.
- Examples of inbound marketing tools include automated email marketing, graphic design tools, and social media. Tools that offer email marketing capabilities include "Mailchimp, HubSpot, and ConvertKit." One can create aesthetically pleasing emails, schedule them, and simultaneously send to several contacts at one go.
- Graphic design tools such as Canva offer various ready-made designs that one can customize to meet their personal needs. Lastly, tools such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social are ideal in scheduling content across several platforms, allowing one to set this up ahead of time for the entire month.
- The essential tools for this include a website, a LinkedIn page, and other traditional marketing methods. It is important that one utilizes these tools creatively and interactively to promote one's brand. Additionally, it is important to reach out to professionals, organizations, conferences, and local media to freely share one's expertise.
- A professionally designed website with a captivating content layout can be a valuable marketing tool in its self. Additionally, this is also the backbone of a good brand. It is of paramount importance that one gets professional help or uses simpler tools such as WordPress that are easier to edit and manage. It is also critical that one utilizes SEO optimization to ensure that several keywords are associated with their brand. Using tools such as Google Analytics, one can track a brand's website metrics.
Becoming a Thought Leader
- Inbound marketing, also known as content marketing, has been growing over the past year. This allows the consultant to become a thought leader within one's network. Posts such as blogs, videos, and social media allow the consultant to stand out and have a competitive advantage.
- Prior to the COVID pandemic, having an online presence was important. However, today, it is essential - a core element in one's business. Having a clean, neat, appealing, professional, and up-to-date site is critical. Often, the quality of the website is considered a reflection of one's work. Using one's blog and other similar platforms, individuals can grow themselves as thought leaders. This is one of the most effective tools that freelance consultants can utilize.
- Word-of-mouth referrals are an integral part of marketing. Social networking has now taken this by storm because it allows consultants to directly speak to their target audiences. It allows them to leverage groups of people based on their interests and communicate with them. By maintaining professionalism, one can leverage these tools adequately.
- In the consultancy space, establishing credibility is of paramount importance. As one builds themselves as a thought leader, they may bump into potential clients. This is one cost-effective marketing strategy for individuals. Additionally, it is easier for people to trust someone that they may have seen or interacted with on certain forums or events and also believe in the value they offer.
For this research on Consulting Industry: Impact of COVID-19, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain, including LinkedIn, Calendly, ConslutPort, among others.