When was the last time your management consulting firm conducted a competitor analysis?
At Hinge, we frequently perform a competitor analysis both for ourselves and for our clients. As in any market, competitors modify their positioning, products and services to adapt to market needs.
“Why is this important? After all, you can’t change what you do every time a competitor comes out with something new. Isn’t it better to let the competitors worry about you?”
It’s important to conduct a competitor analysis to stay dangerously informed of what your competition is doing and find new ways for your firm to generate sales. If you have a static brand, customers will go elsewhere. Think Amazon versus any retailer. If a competitor puts marketing muscle behind a new twist on an old methodology or a core group of executives who become visible experts in your industry, then that firm is the one that attracts attention.
Even if you know as an industry insider that your methodology is better and your team is equally capable, some prospects are hearing about the competitor’s attributes and knowledge base for the first time, and that information establishes the baseline for selecting a firm. According to the Hinge Research Institute’s recent findings, team expertise/skills is one of the top reasons that buyers choose a management consulting firm. Now, you’re on defense and need to amp up your strategy.
You should also conduct a periodic competitor analysis because most firms don’t know who their competition is. According to our research, 75% of the competitors identified by buyers of management consulting services were not even considered competition by the firms selling the services. There are many more competitors out there than firms realize, and it is likely they are winning business.
Changing that dynamic is a matter of getting in front of clients and prospects regularly so you can develop those relationships. The research points to activities like networking, one on one phone calls, a referral program and developing a reputation for results as ways to deepen relationships.
It’s worth noting that reputation is only half the battle. You need visibility for audiences to know about you and your expertise. Your clients may not even know the extent of what you offer. Also, your world must be bigger than your clients. Executives and staff leave for other firms, for instance, so you need to establish new relationships with current clients.
To be sure, competitors struggle with the same issues you do: prospecting, closing deals, service delivery, reputation building and more. Conducting a competitor analysis can show their points of weakness, which can create opportunities for you to highlight your reputation in those areas. Your firm will stand out in the sea of competitors in the management consulting industry.
How Hinge Can Help
After your firm conducts its analysis, you can get to work on your competitive strategy. Need help connecting with your audiences? Research gets to the core of what will resonate with those audiences—and is an integral part of what Hinge does for clients. Contact us to learn whether research makes sense for your firm.
Have questions about what to ask your clients about your competitors, how to ask them, or when? Feel free to ask by submitting a comment below. And don’t forget to join us on LinkedIn.