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31 May 2022

Key advantages for high growth consulting firms

The recently completed 2022 Hinge High Growth Study by Deltek surveyed over 450 consulting firms, including some of the fastest growing firms in the world.  The results show that firms are no longer concerned about an uncertain future, they’re now focusing on taking the actions necessary to implement new technological solutions to manage future growth.

When reviewing the results of this year’s study, Hinge discovered four key advantages that stood out for successful high growth consulting firms vs their no growth peers: Technology, Talent, Marketing, and Strategy.

Let’s take a look into these keys advantages for consulting firms this year:

1. Technology

High growth consulting firms have a significant advantage relating to the adoption and implementation of business software and automation products. High growth consulting firms reported higher levels of automation maturity, enabling them to support service delivery at a higher rate.

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While workflow and process automation tools are hot topics with no growth firms, high growth firms have given software solutions a central role in their growth strategy, propelling their success. The use of CRM systems also has a strong correlation with growth. High growth consulting firms use CRM’s 37% more than no growth firms. This allows high growth firms to better track sales pipeline and to tailor and automate delivery of more relevant content to their prospective clients.  

2. Talent

In the era of ‘the Great Resignation’, consulting firms are finding themselves at the center of the war on talent. People are at the heart of any professional services organization, and not being able to find, hire and retain the right talent can pose a huge challenge. High growth firms have an advantage, however, there is still an increase of concern around the shortage of top talent.  

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In addition, one avenue high growth firms are capitalizing on is outside talent in the form of agencies and freelancers. Retaining outside talent can be a flexible alternative to hiring, and is especially true for more specialized skills such as SEO, graphic design or research.

3. Marketing

41% of high growth firms said that creating content was the top marketing priority for 2022. In our recent webinar: 4 Key Advantages of High Growth ConsultanciesKelly J. WaffleManaging Director of Hinge Research Institute explained that the key reason for content creation being the leader is still around differentiation. It’s important for consulting firms to be able to differentiate their services and gain a competitive edge in the market. The fastest-growing consulting firms have known for years the important role that high-quality content creation plays in marketing and establishing them as credible thought leaders.

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Counterintuitively, the fastest growing consulting firms spend 33% less money on marketing than their no-growth peers. It seems these consulting firms have cracked the code, spending a smaller percentage on marketing and getting better results. Their ability to be efficient comes from a strong investment in strategy and having a systematic approach to using the most efficient marketing tactics to reach their buyers at every touchpoint in their buying journey. Furthermore, their investment in automation tools allows them to measure ROI more quickly and accurately.

4. Strategy

In research presented by Kelly it became clear that smaller firms are focused on competitors and a changing demand profile. However, the high-growth firms are focused on how to analyze and improve processes and deliver more value to their clients. For example, High Growth firms do more research on their target audiences.

Similarly, their greater focus on automation maturity likely reduces their concern around its potential as a threat. 38.2% of high growth firms that participated in the study stated that they wanted to learn more about workflow & process automation this year. During the 4 Key Advantages of High-Growth Consultancies webinar, we posed this same question to attendees and the results mirrored the study, with 37.5% of the attendees noting that workflow and process automation was a top area of focus in 2022.

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High Growth Study 2022 here

Key advantages for high growth consulting firms